The YouTube video is called “Kevin Durant Lights Up the Bronx for EBC!” About 40 seconds in, he whips the ball behind his back as he walked towards the three-point line. Then through his legs. Through his legs again, then another behind the back dribble. Suddenly, about two feet behind the three-point line, he rose up. Bucket.
The video then shifted to a fast break. He caught the pass on the left sideline. He took one rhythm dribble then pulled up from deep. Money.
The next scene is of him walking the ball up, he jacks a 3 from even further back and drilled it. The next scene, after a series of dribbles, he splashed another 3 over a defender. The next scene, he steps back away from a defender and hit another 3, prompting his teammates to greet him with chest bumps at halfcourt.
Only its not Kevin Durant. The five straight 3s was from Kent Bazemore. Yes, Kent Bazemore.
“There’s not a shot on the floor I feel I can’t make,” Bazemore said after Tuesday’s practice. “Any time the ball comes to me and I’m wide open, I don’t hesitate to shoot.”
Uh oh. Bazemore with a jumper? That’s a scary sight for opponents and a welcomed one for the Warriors. If Bazemore has indeed developed a reliable jumper, I see him getting 12 to 15 minutes a night and being a factor.
He has so many skills the Warriors can use. His athleticism, his size and length, his energy, his defensive acumen — it all makes him a great change-of-pace guard off the bench. As long as he can be a threat on offense.
Certainly, the aforementioned video is a highlight real from a Summer Pro-Am game. And even his dominance in Las Vegas was still against summer league competition. So it remains to be seen if his offensive progress is ready to translate to NBA games.
But his progress is obvious. Remember he was an unknown undrafted guard on the Warriors summer league team who made a name for himself blocking shots? And last year he was the potential-laden 15th man known for his celebrations, eventually working up to a spot-minute player.
It shouldn’t be a surprise if Bazemore is a productive contributor off the bench next season. I think it’s going to happen.