OKC Thunder rookie Darius Bazley has rediscovered his scoring touch and it appears to be a role change coach Billy Donovan is encouraging.
After a really poor December, Darius Bazley has rediscovered his ability to put the ball in the hoop. Since the last time we checked in on Bazley the OKC Thunder has only played two games and both were losses. However, Bazley has once again shown that he is going to be a good role player, possibly a starter in the league.
The first game was against the Toronto Raptors, the fourth seeded team in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors are better than their current position suggests having suffered so many injuries to so many key players.
The Thunder lost and Bazley was a minus 19 in the box score in his18 minutes on the court. He shot the ball really well however though, going 4-of-7 from the floor and only taking one 3-point attempt; which he missed.
This is a perfect example of the plus/minus not always being indicative of what is occurring on the hardwood.
Bazley scored eight points and three rebounds in a solid performance off the bench. The clip below demonstrates Bazley is doing it by getting right to the hoop. His athleticism allows him to go around and over players.
In the second game against the Miami Heat, Bazley scored four points on 2-of-4 shooting. For the first time since December 14, Bazley did not record a rebound. He did have two assists and a block on the night.
Once again Bazley’s offense lived at the rim. This is okay as there is plenty of 3-point shooting to go around on the OKC Thunder roster. He has a tremendous first step and a good ability to put the ball on the floor.
In transition he is always running like a gazelle down the court, It seems that coach Billy Donovan has stopped trying to mold Bazley into a 3-and-D player and put more emphasis on his ability to be an explosive presence on the court.
As a result, Bazley is starting to show more confidence and hopefully will show even more growth for the rest of January.