Pretty much nothing went right for the Los Angeles Lakers this season. Only a handful of players on the team have come out of the season with better stock than they did last season. One player who had a tough season was Kent Bazemore.
He was originally part of the rotation and even started in 14 games. Unfortunately, he quickly fell out of favor with head coach Frank Vogel and was relegated to the bench for most of the year. This was his second stint in Los Angeles as he was with them during the 2013-2014 season. Bazemore can be a solid defender and shooter in the right setting. He hit 40.8% of his threes last season before joining the Lakers.
He’s one of the team’s many free agents and he’ll likely be moving on this offseason. However, it sounds like he would like to stay, if possible.
“What I’ll say is nothing ain’t much better than being a Laker, right?” Bazemore told TMZ Sports. “So, getting to see Kob numbers on the wall every day I went to practice was good inspiration for me. … There’s nothing like it, man.”
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Bazemore Defends LeBron James
One Laker who will almost certainly be back next season is LeBron James. Despite the team collapsing around him, he put together an impressive year when he was healthy. He averaged 30.3 points a game, which is unheard of for a 37-year-old. He may have gotten serious MVP consideration had the Lakers been better. Bazemore went out of his way to defend LeBron from criticism.
“The dude was third in the league in scoring,” Bazemore said. “What else do you want him to do? He put his body through a lot this year to be there for us.”
Obviously, the season didn’t go as planned for LeBron but he’s not the reason the Lakers were bad. He was easily their best player all season. He’s yet to show signs of slowing down when he can get on the court but the team has to hope he can stay healthy after missing 20 games in three of the last four seasons.
Will Lakers Consider Bringing Back Bazemore?
The Lakers have a lot of big decisions to make this offseason if they hope to get back into playoff contention. Russell Westbrook’s contract makes it difficult for the team to make any big moves outside of a trade involving him. The team will have to hope that there are plenty of veterans willing to come over on minimum deals who can help.
Bazemore will likely be an odd man out. Vogel is no longer the head coach so whoever replaces him could have a better idea of how to use the guard. However, it’s still hard to imagine he’ll be brought back. The Lakers need to focus on getting younger and Bazemore will be 33 when the season starts. His upside is also limited. Perhaps he could come back as a veteran off the bench but he might be able to find a spot where he can have a bigger role.