Kent Bazemore: Playing with Kobe Bryant Would Be 'Dream Come True'

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 11, 2014

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kent Bazemore dribbles the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The Lakers won 114-110. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Danny Moloshok/Associated Press

A deadline trade to the Los Angeles Lakers earned some on-court time for the best hype man in the NBA, and Kent Bazemore is hoping that was only the beginning.

As he told's Jeff Caplan, this is just the first chapter of his NBA dream. He's hoping that the next phase, playing alongside future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, will be his next basketball domino to drop:

Shoot, that would be a dream come true, and with the track record he has, the body of work he has, I would be all ears. For a guy who’s been through everything he’s been through, playing half of his life in this league, winning multiple championships, why not listen? If I got to go against him every day, I know I’m not cheating myself, so I would look forward to it. In all honesty, I don’t think he’s that tough to play with. If he demands a lot, he just wants to be great. You can’t really knock that.

The Lakers, in need of some young talent to fuel their rebuild, might have unearthed a gem in the second-year guard. In 10 games with his new team, he's averaged 14.6 points on .459/.404/.595 shooting, setting a slew of personal bests along the way:

If he's found a path to consistent offense, the potential payoff for the Lakers could be great. He took home the Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2011 and left Old Dominion University with the Colonial Athletic Association's best career defensive rating (89.59), via

He has the tools to be the defensive complement to Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's offensive system. He's long (6'5" with a 6'11.5" wingspan), athletic and motored by the insatiable energy needed to thrive at the defensive end.

He's also a discount contributor, making just $788,872 this season with only a $1.1 million qualifying offer needed to keep him off the unrestricted free-agent market, via

Will the Lakers make that call? That's hard to say.

What's becoming more evident by the day, though, is that it's an option at least worth considering for LA.

"The young guard hasn't yet reached his ceiling," Bleacher Report's David Murphy wrote. "It would be wise for the Lakers to invest in Bazemore's development, because that's how teams with lousy records actually improve."

He might not become the heir apparent to Bryant that the Lakers still haven't found, but his game could grow exponentially alongside the "Black Mamba."

Plagued by a nagging knee injury, Bryant hasn't yet begun to teach the newest crop of Lakers guards. But that hasn't kept Bazemore from clamoring for a front-row seat once the Bryant School is back in session.


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