There has been a lot of discussion regarding the play of Kent Bazemore especially relative to the contract he got from the Hawks this past off-season. As disappointed as it seems that most fans might be, I would firmly bet that the Hawks coaching staff still loves the guy. I wanted to find a single play from this season that best captures so many of the little things Bazemore does that really are quite unique. The energy he brings on defense and how consistently he sees an entire assignment through, these are the things that endear him to his coaches. He does these types of things all of the time.
In this example, consider the assignment Bazemore has to deal with after the switch. Also notice the distance he has to cover in order to eliminate Whiteside from the rebounding area. Contrast that with how Schroder handles his assignment. McGruder is not Schroder’s initial defensive assignment, but he does a good job identifying him as the person he should account for and he gets McGruder on his back even if briefly. But he does not even remotely complete the play; he does not even really compete for the rebound.
Bazemore was handling the number one rebounder in the league on this play. McGruder is 19th in the league at his position with a mere 3.3 rebounds per game.
I’m not sharing this in an attempt to justify the contract. But if you are one of those fans that often find yourself frustrated as to why Coach Bud keeps going back to Bazemore at key moments, this play encapsulates the reason. NBA Coaches LOVE stuff like this.