As Thunder forward Darius Bazley continues to acclimate to the NBA, he may be little nervous, as is normal for a rookie. But as Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman writes, Bazley looks more than ready to make an impact this season.
Through two preseason games, Bazley is averaging 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists for the Thunder. Bazley, 19, chose to forgo college and work out with personal trainers until he could enter the NBA draft, but his high school coach says Bazley is ready for the NBA.
“I knew he was going to have success in the league,” said Steve Wright, who coached Bazley at Princeton High School in Cincinnati before he became a member of the Thunder. “He’s super talented — I always knew that… I always talked to him about, when he gets to the next level, he’s going to have a lot of space. In the NBA you’ve got illegal defense, so you can’t just guard the paint. With his size, with his ability to put the ball on the floor, being able to pass, being able to shoot, the NBA fits him well.“
That said, Bazley will still certainly have ups and downs as a rookie, as head coach Billy Donovan warns. Thunder fans saw the same last year with Hamidou Diallo, who eventually fell out of the rotation toward the end of the season.
“My biggest thing for him is, as he learns and grows and gets better and has some success, he needs to stay really, really humble,” says the Thunder head man. “And he’s got to stay eager to work and eager to learn. He’s got all the challenges, the difficulties, the adversities that come with being a young player. He’s going to have to have the resiliency to work through those things. If he keeps that kind of attitude, he’s going to really improve.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division this afternoon:
- Chris Hine of the Star Tribune reports that swingman Treveon Graham, who the Timberwolves picked up in the sign-and-trade that sent D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors, is a player to keep an eye on this season in Minnesota.
- In other Timberwolves’ news, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic takes a look inside the road to Minnesota for new Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta.
- Eric Spyropoulos of Nuggets.com previews the 2019/20 Nuggets season with a look at how newcomer Jerami Grant can help Denver.