Remember when the Atlanta Hawks were supposed to be worried about replicating DeMarre Carroll's shooting?
That is, of course, an overly simplistic statement that latches on to a single facet of Carroll's game, but after a breakout year in which the now departed small forward made 39.5% of his attempts from beyond the arc, it was a legitimate concern. Enter Kent Bazemore, who has not only filled in admirably for Carroll as a floor-stretching wing, but actually exceeded his former tutor as a pure three-point shooter.
Kent Bazemore's shot chart this season. Has anyone improved more as a three-point shooter? pic.twitter.com/atMLxC9Y3c— Kris Willis (@Kris_Willis) January 8, 2016
The shooting chart above is a fantastic example of Bazemore's growth as a shooter, and in total, the 26-year-old is converting 42.4% of his attempts from long range. It must be noted that a 32-game sample is not all-encompassing by any means, but Bazemore's worst "month" to this point came in November when he made only 37.2% of his three-point attempts, and he has been remarkably consistent.
Much of the attention has been paid to the struggles of Kyle Korver from three-point range, and rightly so given his decline from an all-world 49.2% a season ago to an all-too-average 35.4% clip this year. With that, Korver should be credited with at least part of the spacing that allows Bazemore to convert his open attempts, but in the same breath, the former Old Dominion star is making those shots at a rate that far exceeds any rational expectation from before the season.
At some point, the whispers about Kent Bazemore's future with the Atlanta Hawks will turn into full-blown conversations, simply because he is playing far too well for the organization to retain him on a cheap contract. For now, though, we can simply appreciate Bazemore's sudden proficiency from long range and his overall growth as a player this season.