OKC Thunder rookie Darius Bazley is showing us glimpses of the player he is going to become.
Against the Portland Trail Blazers, rookie Darius Bazley showed a glimpse of his future for the OKC Thunder. On a team which features such heavy guard play, Bazley is doing his thing, which is what is being asked of him by coach Billy Donovan.
He was asked to start against the Blazers as Danilo Gallinari was out. This was the seventh time Bazley has started and did the man have a game. He played a season-high 31 minutes, collecting nine points and 13 rebounds.
Yes, this is the first time in his career that Bazley collected double digits in rebounds. He actually collected career highs in both offensive (3) and defensive (10) rebounds. This is especially important for an OKC Thunder team who have struggled on the glass at times this season.
Bazley only played 18 minutes on the night but the work that he put in allowed coach Billy Donovan to rest Gallinari and Mike Muscala for crucial periods in the game. This allowed Gallinari the ability to get hot in the last frame, helping the OKC Thunder to the win.
Bazley played center for the first time in his career, defending mainly on the perimeter but was solid with six points and five rebounds. He is playing within himself, allowing the game to come to him, rather than chasing it.
As a result, Bazley is averaging 0.7 fouls per game in the last 13 outings. Conversely, he is averaging 1.0 blocks per game in the same period. This is a reversal on his season numbers. He is averaging 1.0 fouls and 0.7 blocks per game.
This is showing growth in his understanding of the game, where he needs to be on the court at any time. The future is bright for the OKC Thunder with Darius Bazley in the team.