Golden State Warriors: Kent Bazemore Signing Is Right Move for Dubs
The undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion played some dominant defense during the Las Vegas Summer League, making the decision easy for Golden State management.
Viewed on its own, the signing is a good thing. Bazemore, who won the Lefty Driesell Award in 2011 as the nation's best defensive player, gives Golden State a legitimate defensive stopper on the wing—something the current roster lacks.
At 6'5", Bazemore has a massive wingspan of nearly seven feet. He put that gift to use against the Chicago Bulls in Vegas, blocking seven shots in one game. His overall performance wasn't quite as spectacular as his game against the Bulls, but he did show consistent effort on defense. His length, quickness and hustle proved to be a nightmare for opposing guards. And, obviously, his help-side defense and shot-blocking was a welcome addition.
That's all great on its own.
But signing Bazemore represents something more for the Warriors: It shows Golden State is putting its money where its mouth is. Preaching a culture change and an emphasis on defensive play is one thing. Signing an undrafted free agent solely because he is a defensive stud is quite another.
Bazemore may be the 10th man on the bench this season, but he's occupying a spot that would have gone to someone like Reggie Williams or Anthony Morrow in past years. Williams and Morrow were solid scorers (and in the case of Morrow, an elite shooter), but the Warriors always had plenty of shooting and scoring. Bazemore gives them something they haven't had for a long time. And this signing shows that the Warriors have begun to value the right things.
If the Warriors are serious about building a winner—and it appears they are—they'll need someone like Bazemore to sit on the Western Conference's top-end wing scorers. He'll have a defined role this year as a defensive stopper, and if he does anything more than play tenacious defense, it'll be a bonus.
Bazemore's not a splashy signing—unless you watched the Vegas Summer League or had season tickets to Old Dominion games, you've probably never even heard of him. But rest assured, he represents more tangible evidence that the Warriors aren't just paying lip service to their fans.
Golden State really does want to defend this year, and Bazemore can certainly do that.
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