Darius Bazley statistically had a December to forget. The OKC Thunder kept winning even when the rookie started. He is now getting his groove back in January.
The OKC Thunder had a really good December. They finished with the best record in the Western conference for the month including five games without Danilo Gallinari. Rookie Darius Bazley started his first games and helped the team win.
Bazley did struggle with his shot in December shooting a woeful 23.4 percent from the floor and 21.1 percent from deep. This is after shooting 44.3 percent from the floor and 38.8 percent from deep in October/November.
This month Bazley is starting to normalize his shooting going 37.5 percent from the floor and 45.5 percent from deep in the first seven games. Fortunately, Bazley is only averaging 4.2 shot attempts per game on the season so there are no worries about him hurting the Thunder by taking too many shots.
Fortunately for Bazley and the OKC Thunder, his impact on the game is more through his energy than through his shooting. They have enough scoring options with Chris Paul, Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Steven Adams and Dennis Schroder.
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December also had the most road games of the season for the Thunder with seven. Bazley is shooting 28.6 percent from the floor and 29.5 percent from deep while on the road. Compare this with 41.5 percent from the floor and 34.1 percent from deep at home.
Bazley also struggled a little bit keeping the ball in hand, turning it over 1.1 times per game in the month. January sees him taking better care of the ball with only 0.7 turnovers per game. However, with the energy of a Bazley fast break, coach Billy Donovan would be happy with these numbers.
It is this energy that keeps Bazley on the floor. In the nine games where Bazley has played more than 20 minutes, he is averaging 6.2 rebounds per game. This is well above his season average of 3.7 per game.
Bazley is still learning his craft, he is only 19. However, he is showing that he can rebound after a bad month. Part of this is the personnel around him but Bazley is showing that he has a future in this league.
Next up for the rookie, he and his Thunder face the Raptors on Wednesday night.