Despite being one of the youngest players on an NBA roster in 2019/20, Darius Bazley played a regular rotation role for the Thunder for most of his rookie season, logging 17.2 minutes per contest in 53 games. Although Bazley showed flashes of upside this season, particularly when he made use of his length and athleticism on defense, scouts who spoke to Erik Horne of The Athletic believe he still has a ways to go before realizing his potential.
“He’s got a lot of growing to do,” one Eastern Conference scout told Horne. “He’s athletic. Still really raw.”
As Horne notes, the Thunder traded down from No. 21 to No. 23 to draft Bazley, passing on the opportunity to select Brandon Clarke, who went to Memphis with that 21st overall pick. While Clarke certainly had the better rookie season of the two players, he’s nearly four full years older than Bazley, so the Thunder are still hoping they made the right call for the long term.
Here’s more out of Oklahoma City:
- With the Thunder seemingly headed for a rebuild and Billy Donovan entering the final year of his contract in 2019/20, there were signs that a coaching change could be around the corner. However, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes, Donovan flipped the script based on the great job he did in OKC this season. While Donovan hasn’t received an extension yet, GM Sam Presti said in April that he expects to have that discussion soon.
- Thunder pro evaluation coordinator Paul Johnson interviewed on Monday for the general manager role with the NBA G League’s new Mexico City franchise, a source tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Johnson previously served as a referee operations analyst for the NBA.
- In case you missed it, Thunder owner Clay Bennett was among those on last Friday’s Board of Governors call who spoke out in favor of including as many teams – and particularly small-market franchises – as possible when the NBA resumes play.