Darius Bazley having a good run in the bubble

SirStanley

Well-known member
Just noticed his name tonight. With 21-9-4 tonight, he's had his third straight game over 20 points (his first three ever). Happy to see things breaking his way.


 

Irish60

Well-known member
I had noticed his name coming up on the ESPN bottom headers that give stats/accounts of the games. Good for him. Glad to see the young man starting to make a name for himself.
 

oxat622

Well-known member
He's an entirely new player since bubble play began. I saw him a few times in person with Princeton and I thought he had potential, but didn't think he necessarily had All-American ability compared to others I've seen in person like Kennard or Mayo. Half the games his senior year, Darweshi Hunter (now at Weber State) looked like the better player. Now, he's positioning himself to be a solid starting NBA wing for years to come.
 

Yeoman

Active member
He's an entirely new player since bubble play began. I saw him a few times in person with Princeton and I thought he had potential, but didn't think he necessarily had All-American ability compared to others I've seen in person like Kennard or Mayo. Half the games his senior year, Darweshi Hunter (now at Weber State) looked like the better player. Now, he's positioning himself to be a solid starting NBA wing for years to come.
Measurables matter, and nobody understands that better than OKC. There's no substitute for length or quickness and he's got both at an elite NBA level.

I'm not sure he's changed so much in the bubble, but his role certainly has. They had him standing on the perimeter "spacing the floor," as they've often done with their SFs. Then a couple of weeks ago they finally incorporated him into their offense, even started using him on high pick and rolls with Chris Paul. (I'm one of the people here that always thought he had a chance, but I still can't quite believe I just wrote that.)

Some highlight clips I found:

8/9 vs. Washington:

8/10 vs. Phoenix:

8.12 vs. Miami:

Now that he's built his body up to be able to play a 4 or even a stretch 5, he's so much quicker than the guys he's playing against. He runs rings around Saric in that second clip.
 

Carl Rick

Well-known member
Billy Donovan proved himself as a great collegiate coach and part of that was his ability to develop players. He has taken that to the NBA, I don't think all NBA coaches are good at the development part. Granted they have assistants and trainers but when the guy in charge demands it, you see results. Bazley going to OKC was perfect. Donovan saw his potential and Bazley is doing it. This is great.
 

Yeoman

Active member
I think CP3 has been a good mentor, too. That's reported to be a good relationship and it's visible on the court, and I guarantee that when you're 19 and Chris Paul demands it, you're going to put out.

But he was already working hard before he got there--whoever his agents set up for him to work with during his internship knew their stuff, and he obviously was willing to put in the effort. He showed up at the combine as fit as any prospect ever has, and his game had improved too.

I think maybe this notion of Bazley not giving full effort rests on a misunderstanding of what high school ball was, for him. Nobody at camps or the national youth team ever said anything of the sort, it was always "hard worker" and "quick learner" and "first guy to grasp what you're trying to teach in a drill."

My sense, at least at Finneytown where I was seeing him every night, was that it was sort of like a pick-up game with the smaller kids in the neighborhood. Even as a 9th grader he could have taken over any CHL game if he'd wanted to...but what would be the point? Better to run the set, move the ball around, make sure everybody else is playing and having fun.

That's why that Miami clip above was interesting to me. If you notice the scores at the bottom, they're down about 20 with nine minutes to play when he starts going off. It's a meaningless end-of-season NBA game, both teams have their 2nd stringers on the floor, and it'd be easy to not take it all that seriously...but he puts his team on his shoulders and hauls them over the finish line. It's the one thing I wasn't sure he had in him.
 

HardCorps

Well-known member
Billy Donovan proved himself as a great collegiate coach and part of that was his ability to develop players. He has taken that to the NBA, I don't think all NBA coaches are good at the development part. Granted they have assistants and trainers but when the guy in charge demands it, you see results. Bazley going to OKC was perfect. Donovan saw his potential and Bazley is doing it. This is great.
: )
 

Carl Rick

Well-known member
yeoman, I like your perspective and history of seeing him. There were questions about his motor in the school season and the club season. Sometimes maturity and/or higher competition handles issues.
 

HardCorps

Well-known member
I think CP3 has been a good mentor, too. That's reported to be a good relationship and it's visible on the court, and I guarantee that when you're 19 and Chris Paul demands it, you're going to put out.

But he was already working hard before he got there--whoever his agents set up for him to work with during his internship knew their stuff, and he obviously was willing to put in the effort. He showed up at the combine as fit as any prospect ever has, and his game had improved too.

I think maybe this notion of Bazley not giving full effort rests on a misunderstanding of what high school ball was, for him. Nobody at camps or the national youth team ever said anything of the sort, it was always "hard worker" and "quick learner" and "first guy to grasp what you're trying to teach in a drill."

My sense, at least at Finneytown where I was seeing him every night, was that it was sort of like a pick-up game with the smaller kids in the neighborhood. Even as a 9th grader he could have taken over any CHL game if he'd wanted to...but what would be the point? Better to run the set, move the ball around, make sure everybody else is playing and having fun.

That's why that Miami clip above was interesting to me. If you notice the scores at the bottom, they're down about 20 with nine minutes to play when he starts going off. It's a meaningless end-of-season NBA game, both teams have their 2nd stringers on the floor, and it'd be easy to not take it all that seriously...but he puts his team on his shoulders and hauls them over the finish line. It's the one thing I wasn't sure he had in him.
Great for the young man. I had only seen him play in high school. When someone is literally walking back on defense, call it what you will. A lot of people call it bs. Best of luck to the youngster.
 

JElder

Well-known member
I will fully admit I was wrong about him. Not about his ability to play but about going the D league route. I thought that was a huge mistake and it's worked out great for him.
 

bobcat44

Active member
I will fully admit I was wrong about him. Not about his ability to play but about going the D league route. I thought that was a huge mistake and it's worked out great for him.
Did he play in the D league? Thought he even said no to that route and just worked out to prep for the league which makes his growth even more amazing. He is an unreal athlete who will only get better. Good for him
 

oxat622

Well-known member
He never played in the D-League. He took a full year off competitive games while training and working for New Balance.
 

Yeoman

Active member
Here's an interesting article I hadn't seen before, written just before the draft:


There's a lot here I hadn't heard. The workouts? The choice of coach? Bazley's own idea--he used his agent to get it done but the initiative was his own. He'd seen Skal Labissiere at a pickup game and asked him how he'd gotten so big, Labissiere told him who he'd worked with and Darius started pestering his agent to set it up. The agent's idea was a week of high-intensity "hell" to "shut him up"; Bazley loved it and turned the week into half a year.

Anybody who questioned his desire might find it an enlightening read.
 

Irish60

Well-known member
Here's an interesting article I hadn't seen before, written just before the draft:


There's a lot here I hadn't heard. The workouts? The choice of coach? Bazley's own idea--he used his agent to get it done but the initiative was his own. He'd seen Skal Labissiere at a pickup game and asked him how he'd gotten so big, Labissiere told him who he'd worked with and Darius started pestering his agent to set it up. The agent's idea was a week of high-intensity "hell" to "shut him up"; Bazley loved it and turned the week into half a year.

Anybody who questioned his desire might find it an enlightening read.
I've read the quotes on here crediting Billy Donovan and CPIII and others for Bazley's maturation and success. And while I am sure they clearly have been positive influences, this article underscores that, by far, the most credit for Darius Bazley's success goes to ... Darius Bazley! More proof that with talent and a determination to work at your craft, you will markedly improve your chances to excel. Hoping for continued success for the young man.
 
Last edited:

Yeoman

Active member
Forget the highlight clips I posted: there were ten seconds last night better than anything in those clips. It's at 1:27:45 in the replay at WatchESPN, but they'll have pulled the video by the time anyone reads this so I guess I'll have to describe it. Which will probably work if you've ever seen James Harden play; he must do this at least 300 times a year.

Three-point game, about two minutes to play in the third quarter. Rockets run a high ball screen and get Bazley switched onto Harden, isolated at the three point line above the top of the key. Harden sees the mismatch and takes him on, drives hard left directly into him, dipping his shoulder to knock him backwards and shoving him off with the right arm for good measure. Bazley's been knocked six feet off him, all the way back in the circle. Harden steps back to fake a three; Bazley's forced to close out on the shot from distance and Harden steps forward to hoist an off-balance shot from where he knows Bazley's going to land, to get the three free throws he knows are his due for getting an opponent up in the air.

Except Darius isn't. Somehow he's seen the whole thing coming and he's straight up and down in Harden's face, and now it's Harden who's in the air with nowhere to go and no foul to be drawn and nothing to do but heave a hasty pass to a covered teammate on the wing who kicks it around and turns it over.

Stoned James Harden in an NBA playoff game. Won't make Sportscenter, nobody even seemed to notice much, but that should be a checkbox on the lifetime bucket list.
 

oxat622

Well-known member
I think CP3 has been a good mentor, too. That's reported to be a good relationship and it's visible on the court, and I guarantee that when you're 19 and Chris Paul demands it, you're going to put out.
You know, I don't know if there's a better veteran in the league for a rookie to learn from than CP3, in terms of experience, personality, and league respect.
 

Chop Stix

Well-known member
Final 19/20 Regular Season Stats

61 Games Played
9 Games Started
18.5 mpg
5.6 ppg
4.0 rpg
39.4% FG
34.8% 3FG
69.4% FT
9.64 PER

Final 19/20 Postseason Stats (vs. Houston Rockets)

7 Games Played
18.0 mpg
6.6 ppg
6.7 rpg
41.9% FG
50% 3FG
90% FT
14.28 PER

Just for note, Thunder starting PF Danilo Gallinari is out of contract this offseason. He just turned 32 and made $22 million last season. This could bode very well for Bazley taking on a bigger role with the team next season.
 

Yeoman

Active member
The last four games of that series he really played well.

I'll add a stat:

Game 1: -4 in 17 minutes (team was -15, Gallinari -11)
Game 2: -20 in 14 minutes (team was -13, Gallinari +20)
Game 3: +5 in 13 minutes (team was +12, Gallinari +20)
Game 4: +9 in 19 minutes (team was +3, Gallinari -6)
Game 5: -7 in 26 minutes (team was -34, Gallinari -27)
Game 6: +7 in 22 minutes (team was +4, Gallinari -2)
Game 7: +9 in 15 minutes (team was -2, Gallinari -16)

Their defense was more cohesive when he was on the court. They had him sagged back to the block, taking on a help role sort of like the back man in a 1-3-1, which meant he'd have to sprint to the 3-point-line to close out if his man (usually Covington or Green, standing in the corner) got the ball. It worked, and it's not something Gallinari's quick enough to do. (Thinking about it, it also worked because his man was never involved in the pick and roll action. Houston realized after a couple more failures that this was not who they wanted switched onto Harden, better targets were available elsewhere.)

In every game but the second they were better when he was playing, and it got more so as the series went along. I think you can even make a case that they lost because he didn't get his usual second-half run in game 7, although to me he looked fatigued at the end of his first half stint that night so maybe there was a reason.

I'm not saying he's currently a better player than Gallinari; this is all specific to this particular matchup against a team that plays extremely small and refuses to take mid-range shots. (And I don't mean to pick on Gallinari--if it had been me I would have played them together more. They did that in game 6 briefly and it looked pretty good.) But it backs up ChopStix's suggestion about the future.
 

Kurt Rambis

Active member
I definately questioned his decision making and "handlers" for sure! It's easy to question a guy like him who can't seem to be interested in high school every night. It's not like they were soooo good and bored and easily won state.

But I'll eat the crow!

GOod for him! Hopefully Billy D leaving doesn;'t hurt
 
.
Top