What Kent Bazemore Adds to The Lakers | Is He A Potential Starter?

Youth basketball coach and Lakers expert Raj details what newly acquired free agent wing Kent Bazemore brings to the Lakers team, on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball - based on data and film analysis. Is his fit strong enough to be a starter on this title-contending Lakers team? | What Kent Bazemore Adds to The Lakers | Is He A Potential Starter? | Lakers breakdown

For reference, I’m a sports scientist, youth basketball coach, DPT (Doctor of Physio), movement expert, researcher, mindfulness enthusiast and owner of 3CB Performance —providing sports medicine, performance, and mindfulness services online and in-person at clinics in West LA and Valencia, CA.

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Here’s a table of contents:
- 0:00 The lead-in
- 0:19 Offense (3-pt shooting, attacking the paint)
- 1:35 Defense (point of attack; team defense)
- 1:54 Closing Thoughts
- 2:15 Outro

Script:

Hey it’s Raj from 3CB.

The Los Angeles Lakers added wing Kent Bazemore in free agency - he was previously with the team in 2014, the Lakers letting him go - with Bazemore reportedly taking less money than offered by his previous team the Golden State Warriors to pursue a championship. Lets go through what he adds to the Lakers’ title pursuit.

Offense

Offensively, Bazemore adds another shooting threat to the Lakers offense, hitting 40.6% on 3’s last season albeit on a small sample size of 184 attempts.

Although his career average is significantly lower at 35.6%, there’s evidence he may be able to sustain near that mark because according to Bball-Index, his stable-open 3-pt % was around 42% while stable-contested 3-pt% was less than 30%, with “stable” meaning the data was adjusted (for factors like sample size) to make it more predictive. He’ll get plenty of open, uncontested looks playing alongside LeBron, Westbrook, and Anthony Davis.

Further, Kent fits the modern day profile as nearly 87% of his shots either came from distance or in the paint. If he can’t get a clean look, he can attack a rotating defense to get into the paint.

Defense

Defensively, Bazemore grades out very well. According to BBall Index, he was one of the best point of attack defenders in the league last season, making a significant defensive impact while having a very high matchup difficulty as well. When you’re in the same space as elite defenders like Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and Alex Caruso, you’re doing something very very right.

Further, the Warriors last season were 6.4 points better per 100 possessions with him on the court defensively than without - the biggest differential on the team.

Overall

Bazemore’s skillset will make him a very good fit on this Lakers’ team and if he can hit open looks at even close to last season’s rate while maintaining his defensive form, he could easily become one of the team’s most valuable contributors and an incredible value signing. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him inserted into the starting lineup at some point if he doesn’t start the season to begin with.