Years of highlights in store as OKC Thunder rookie Darius Bazley turns 20

OKC Thunder (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder rookie Darius Bazley celebrates his 20th Birthday.

It seems implausible that Darius Bazley is just turning 20 years old today.  Playing in 53 of the OKC Thunder 64 games this season he seldom looked like a teenager.

Sure, the forward has experienced minor hiccups but he’s a rookie so it was expected it would take him some time to fit into the professional world. This was especially true given Bazley elected to take a different path last year. The well-documented choice to accept an internship with New Balance and work out on his own proved to be the correct option.

Despite his superstar NBA friends electing not to attend college may in fact have allowed the OKC Thunder to nab the youngster much further down the order in draft selections since so few teams knew much about the youngster.

In his first season as a pro Bazley has shown glimpses of what is to come. His stats of 4.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.5 assists, and 0.7 blocks are just the tip of the iceberg.

Future is bright for OKC Thunder forward Darius Bazley:

The ceiling is uncapped for Darius with his length and natural abilities. His fundamental skills and potential fueled the reason to believe he’s considered one of the few untouchables on the OKC Thunder.

Perhaps the best jaw-dropper this season was his incredible dunk on 76ers big man Joel Embiid. While there is ample room for improvement on his perimeter efficiency he’s displayed a sweet stroke at times such as dropping four 3-pointers on the defending champions. On five occasions this season Bazley had games with multiple 3-pointers including three occasions of three or more.

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The one area of Bazley’s game fans can look forward to in upcoming games and seasons is his ability to dish dimes. This is partially due to head coach Billy Donovan employing the trio of point guards Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dennis Schroder. With three players on the court handling the primary playmaking role, it doesn’t afford Bazley the same opportunity to showcase this ability.

A great example of his playmaking ability was showcased in the preseason match versus the Grizzlies when Bazley dished six dimes. In one match this season Bazley dropped a behind the back pass to Steven Adams who ran the court in a straight line to receive the pass for an easy dunk. The forward’s height, reach and vision will allow this ability to be nurtured in seasons to come.

The best highlights and games of Bazley’s season are available in our 64 game player recap.

As the OKC Thunder prepare for the NBA restart his presence could prove to be an x-factor for the club. However, it’s the future where fans will get to see more from this talented youngster.

For now, we’ll simply wish Darius Bazley a Happy 20th Birthday and wish him an incredible year while we look forward to his progression on the OKC Thunder.

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