The Los Angeles Lakers made a splash in the offseason when they acquired Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards, but they were able to supplement the roster with more shooters in order to maximize their new star point guard.
One of those shooters is Kent Bazemore, who agreed to join the Lakers on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum. Bazemore was a solid rotation piece for the Golden State Warriors last season and has a good argument to join Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the starting lineup. It is a full-circle moment for Bazemore, who admitted he was unhappy by the Lakers not offering him a deal back in 2014, but now gets a chance to compete for a championship.
Aside from his ability to hit 3-pointers at a good clip, Bazemore is also one of the more credible wing defenders Los Angeles currently has. After trading away Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and letting Alex Caruso walk, the Lakers are short on perimeter defenders, which means Bazemore is in line for plenty of minutes.
The guard knows that he will need be needed on defense so it was encouraging to hear him single out Trevor Ariza as someone he wants to learn from and mold his game after.
“Trevor Ariza is a guy I’m looking forward to learning a lot from being a wing defender,” Bazemore said. “He made an outstanding career from being a 3-and-D guy. I’m looking forward to picking his brain.”
Ariza established himself in the league as a prototypical 3-and-D wing who was capable of checking opposing teams’ best perimeter players while also being able to hit open shots from beyond the arc. Now in the twilight of his career, Ariza no longer has the foot speed to keep up with guards but is able to still guard bigger forwards in a pinch.
Even though the Lakers roster is full of veterans, all of them have talked about wanting to learn from each other and in this case, Bazemore can certainly pick up tips and tricks of the trade from Ariza. The swingman will play a major role for the Purple and Gold and it is going to start on the defensive end.
Ariza was excited for Lakers and Ron Artest winning 2010 NBA Championship
Ariza won the 2009 NBA Championship with the Lakers but did not come back for the following year. Los Angeles pivoted to Ron Artest in free agency and would go on to win the 2010 title, and Ariza revealed he was excited for the franchise and the forward.
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