Kent Bazemore has been one of the unsung heroes for the Atlanta Hawks this season. Whether he's on the bench cheering on his teammates or flying all over the court, he has had a big impact on his team.
Bazemore recently sat down with Grantland's Charles Bethea and broached on a number of topics about the season and the Hawks' success. When asked what area of his game had progressed the most this season, Bazemore replied that it was his perimeter shooting.
Definitely perimeter shooting. That was a gaping hole in my game my first two years and one of the reasons I was on the borderline of not getting another contract. But when I got to Atlanta, the first thing Coach Bud told me is, "We're getting you a shooting coach and we're changing your jump shot." Being sidelined with an injury, I didn't really get a lot of shots this summer. Not being in the gym and shooting with those old bad habits made it easier to adopt this new form. Now I've got that corner 3 going.
The Hawks are a team that are heavily focused on individual improvement not just for young players but for veterans alike. Its a staple of their success and it is no accident that guys like Bazemore, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap have expanded their games upon joining Atlanta.
Bazemore is playing a career-high 16.9 minutes per game this season. He is shooting 43 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range which are both career-highs. He has become particularly adept at knocking down the corner three this season.
The biggest appeal to the Bazemore addition was the energy and athleticism that he brings to the roster. Atlanta made it a priority during this past offseason to get bigger and more athletic on the wing. The additions of Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha have paid dividends in the team's defensive improvement.
While defense may be the priority, the Hawks are looking for well-rounded players and Bazemore is the latest example of a guy who has thrived in Atlanta's player development model.