OKC Thunder: Grades for Darius Bazley’s breakout season

OKC Thunder. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 3
OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder forward Darius Bazley (7) drives to the basket around Utah Jazz forward Georges Niang (31). Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports. /

The OKC Thunder blew up their roster at the end of last season. They traded most of their starting lineup away with the exception of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort. They also sent most of their key reserve unit out, keeping Mike Muscala, Hamidou Diallo, and Darius Bazley.

Diallo was then traded away meaning that Bazley was the lone reserve from last year who was put into the starting lineup as a piece of the future. This season he showed that he is going to be a true force in the NBA given his ability, length, and athleticism.

Bazley is still very young, he has not yet turned 21 and has played two full seasons with the Thunder. As a result, he fits the timeline perfectly for this rebuilding franchise. The growth that he has shown in these two years has been eye-opening, which bodes incredibly well for the future.

The OKC Thunder are fully invested in Darius Bazley

Bazley started every game that he played in the season. He only played 55 games, missing sixteen through injury, and sat out the last game of the season. He showed a level of development from his rookie year to year two.

He averaged 13.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 31.2 minutes per game. These numbers are well up on his rookie averages of 5.6 points, four rebounds, and just shy of an assist in 18.5 minutes per game. He shot the ball better from the field this season, converting at 47.2 percent from inside the arc compared to 43.2 percent.

This is despite taking 4.4 more shots per game from this distance.

His 3-point shooting was down this season, hitting 29.0 percent compared to 34.8 percent last season. He did take 2.9 shots per game more from deep.