Atlanta Hawks Season Preview

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Oct 21, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard

Kent Bazemore

(24) drives against Memphis Grizzlies forward

Matt Barnes

(22) during the second half at Philips Arena. The Grizzlies defeated the Hawks 82-81. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


Kent Bazemore: With the loss of DeMarre Carroll, it was uncertain where the Atlanta Hawks would turn to fill the void left by the departure of their former starting swingman. Thabo Sefolosha was long thought as the next in line to start at the position, but due to his recovery from a season-ending leg injury in April, Kent Bazemore stepped into the starting role at SF this preseason and shined.

Last season, Kent Bazemore began the year as the third option at the position, and the second option off the bench behind Sefolosha. Amidst injuries to both Carroll and Sefolosha at different points last season, Bazemore gained increased playing time and showed signs of becoming an integral part of the Atlanta Hawks’ future plans.

Oct 9, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Kent Bazemore (24) dribbles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans in the first quarter at Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Though somewhat undersize when compared to other players at the position, Bazmore makes up for this by his length and defensive prowess. Kent Bazemore’s offensive game left much desired last season, but this preseason, Kent Bazemore displayed his offensive development and the returns are encouraging.

DeMarre Carroll was an integral part of the Atlanta Hawks’ offensive scheme last year with his ability to move without the ball and hit key three pointers as well as his penchant for cutting to the basket at the right moment for a layup. The worry with Bazemore going into the season was the potential dearth in offensive production at the position due to Carroll’s departure. This preseason, Bazemore demonstrated an improved offensive game, including an 18 point showing against Memphis last Wednesday. His athleticism enables Bazemore to get to the basket, and an improved 3-point shot should mitigate the loss of Carroll as an outside shooter.

Though Bazemore will begin the season as the starting SF with Sefolosha still working his way back from his injury, it is not out of the realm of possibility to believe that he can retain the starting role for the entireity of the season. Mike Budenholzer has a record of developing players like Bazemore (which is what he did with Carroll), and we could see by the end of the season Bazemore bloom into a similar player to DeMarre Carroll.

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