Lakers’ Kent Bazemore lost a lot of sleep guarding LeBron James

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·2 min read
Lakers’ Kent Bazemore lost a lot of sleep guarding LeBron James
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When the Los Angeles Lakers landed Kent Bazemore on a one-year deal, they added a pesky 3-and-D archetype to the fold.

Throughout his nine-year career, including a short but promising stint in L.A. in the 2013-14 season, Bazemore has sharpened his 3-point shooting while hounding opponents on defense.

Despite being listed at 6 feet, 4 inches, he can guard bigger wings and forwards with a 7-foot wingspan, which is a nice blend with his career-high 40.8% 3-point rate from last season with the Golden State Warriors.

Bazemore’s return to L.A. gives it a steady option who could start or come off the bench, but it’s also Bazemore’s time to team with LeBron James, a player he’s had to guard often as an opponent.

During his introductory conference, Bazemore discussed the troubles James gave him on defense.

“Even when I was in college he was in the league, I’ve always wanted to play against him. I wanted to go against him,” Bazemore said. “I got my chance my first year in Atlanta, Eastern Conference finals, and I realized how different of a beast he was. I lost a lot of sleep having to guard him.”

But those intense moments pushed Bazemore to improve, especially when the going got tough.

“Even when we played them, it’d get chirpy,” Bazemore continued. “His team would put me on the floor a little bit, but I ain’t back down. I think that just kind of drove me to what to beat him.”

The 32-year-old wing will not have to worry about defending James outside of practice; instead, Bazemore will have to supply the 3-and-D production he bestowed the Warriors last season to help the Lakers, and himself, win a title.