When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Kent Bazemore to a veteran minimum contract, he was expected to be a major part of Frank Vogel’s rotation due to his recent success as a three-and-D wing with the Golden State Warriors.
However, struggles from beyond the arc and an apparent lost step on defense have forced him out of the Lakers rotation. He has played in just 32 of the Lakers’ 58 games, averaging just 14.4 minutes per night in those appearances.
Even though he hasn’t been what the team expected on the court, Vogel is still more than pleased with what he’s seen from Bazemore off the floor.
“He’s had a difficult road because obviously he thought he’d be more a part of the rotation… But I’d like to say publicly that he’s been a 10 out of 10 with his attitude and his character and it’s really shown,” Vogel said of Bazemore.
“In light of a difficult circumstance where guys could go sideways or have a dark minset, he’s been a bright spot of our season even though he hasn’t been playing with his character and willingness to be active in the film sessions, to honor the work, to bring positive energy to the floor every time we’re on the floor in practice or walkthroughs or anything like that. Very engaged and he’s been tremendous for that.”
Bazemore is in his 10th NBA season and playing for his fifth franchise. There are not many veterans with the level of experience that Bazemore has in this league. So even when he isn’t able to play, he still knows how to positively impact a locker room.
As the Lakers prepare to enter a crucial 24-game stretch to close out the 2021-22 regular season, it remains to be seen what role Bazemore will play. Clearly, Vogel has trust in the veteran guard, but he also did not commit to anything with regard to playing time.
If he spends the remainder of the season as a fringe rotation player, there is no doubt that he’ll bring positivity to that role. Hopefully, he’ll also be able to stay ready if his number is called to play a role for the Lakers down the stretch.
Dennis Schroder not expected to be bought out
In the days following the trade deadline, there was a rumored belief that Dennis Schroder would be bought out by the Houston Rockets and subsequently return to the Lakers. However, plans have since changed. It is now widely expected that he will stay with the Rockets for the remainder of the season.
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