Just days after the Golden State Warriors went an undefeated 5-0 at this year's summer league, HoopsHype has reported that the team has signed their most impressive undrafted free agent on the squad in Kent Bazemore. A 6-foot-5, 195-pound swingman from Old Dominion, he saw action in four games at Las Vegas, averaging 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.8 blocks in 20.5 minutes a game.
After not playing a single minute in the Warriors' first summer league game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Bazemore found himself as the team's starting shooting guard once they shut down Klay Thompson for the last three games in Las Vegas. Highlighted by his seven-block performance against the Chicago Bulls, Bazemore is a defender with great energy, defensive intensity, and athleticism. Despite being a little undersized for a shooting guard or small forward, he makes up for it with his seven-foot wingspan and high activity level on defense.
When considering the franchise's culture change in finding players who emphasis their play on defense, Bazemore certainly fits the bill. Aside from the small sample size seen at the summer league, Bazemore also won the Lefty Driesell Award in 2011, which is given to the nation's best defensive player. He also averaged 2.11 steals per game during his senior year, was the Colonial Athletic Association's Defensive Player of the Year for back-to-back seasons, and is Old Dominon's second all-time steals leader with 250.
As a deal with a "very low" guarantee, the Warriors could decide to cut him at any point of the season with little financial repercussions. Since his signing won't impact the Warriors' finances in free agency this year, they are still in the running to re-sign Brandon Rush and could have money available to sign another free agent, likely a backup power forward. Given the position he plays and his abilities on defense, Bazemore will have an opportunity to make the team during training camp.
With this signing, this could spell the end to re-signing Dominic McGuire. While he played a little power forward last season and is an excellent defender and rebounder, Bazemore could replace his role on the team as a defensive stopper, particularly against smaller players.
While it seems very unlikely that he'll see lots of playing time for the Warriors this season, it is nice to see them sign and hold onto talent like Bazemore in hopes of stashing him on the roster and possibly developing him at Santa Cruz in the D-League.
Bazemore To Play In NBA Summer League for Thunder & Warriors, Old Dominion Official Athletic Site
Summer League Surprise Kent Bazemore Earns Contract with Warriors, Inside the Warriors, Bay Area News Group
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Austin is a lifelong resident of the Bay Area, lifelong basketball fan and Golden State Warriors supporter, and a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow this contributor on Google+ and Twitter @_austinchang.
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