With the Los Angeles Lakers bringing in a number of players who are used to getting regular minutes, it was obvious that some were going to be not seeing the court. One of those players has been Kent Bazemore as the defender has been used sparingly for most of the season.
Bazemore has appeared in just 31 games and is averaging just 3.7 points on 32.8% shooting from the field. Of course, the veteran is known more for his defensive game so his offensive numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but the team was still reportedly shopping him ahead of the trade deadline. Regardless of any of that, however, Bazemore always remains engaged during every game.
But Bazemore, like most NBA players, is extremely competitive and it can be difficult to not contribute to the team regularly. But despite that, Bazemore is still not getting down on himself and continues to work hard despite being out of the rotation, via Dan Woike of the L.A. Times:
“Some nights, it gets hard having to hold back that competitive nature. Especially if a guy gets going, I know defensively, I made a living off of taking guys out of the game, shutting off the water, so to speak. That gets the best of me sometimes,” Bazemore said. “But that’s just the competitor in me. I’m not going to tame him. He’s helped me get to where I am today. But as a person, my heart is full. I’m doing what I love. I don’t mind putting in the work for it, even though I’m out of the rotation.”
Bazemore is one of the most well-liked players on the Lakers roster and this mindset is exactly why. The veteran will always put in as much work as possible to be ready whenever his number is called and even though he is currently out of the rotation, he still considers this season to be one of the biggest of his career:
“I might not play this year. But this could be one of the biggest years of my life for my mentality, for my psyche because I still overcame, still approached every day with my best foot forwards regardless of how I felt, regardless of my situation and what it looks like,” Bazemore said defiantly. “That means more to me than anything, that after 10 years of having to prove myself over and over and over again, not hearing my name called, and I still have the fight, the will, the determination to overcome what’s in front of me.”
There is no way for 15 players on a roster to all get regular minutes so it is absolutely imperative to have players like Bazemore who have this type of mindset. Bazemore wants more than anything to be on the court helping the Lakers win, but while he isn’t, he just continues to work hard.
Bazemore might not be in the Lakers’ rotation, but he still is making an impact on this Lakers team and that type of mental toughness is something not everyone has.
Vogel praises Austin Reaves for performance vs. Warriors
One of the reasons Bazemore finds himself out of the rotation is the unexpected emergence of players such as Austin Reaves, who has become one of the more reliable role players on the Lakers. Reaves was once again outstanding against the Warriors and Vogel praised the rookie.
“He’s a solid all-around player,” Vogel said. “He was very impressive down the stretch. Making big plays offensively. He’s got a great computer to process help and see whether to shoot or make the extra pass. Obviously, he’s got a lot of guts to make big shots and he really competes on the defensive side. He’s got a really good IQ down on that end. He had a hell of a night.”
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