3. Darius Bazley
A 21-year-old who took an experimental route to the pros, Darius Bazley is still finding his way as an NBA forward. His stat line has taken a dip in his third season with fewer minutes and field goal attempts to go around in Oklahoma City. That may be attributed to a new coach, more young talent on the roster, or his own deficiencies; but make no mistake—Bazley has a lot of skill.
A threatening ball-handler who can use athleticism and shiftiness to attack the rim, Bazley has plenty of potential as a tertiary scoring option. He’s able to break down defenders with a flurry of crossovers and dribble moves that are uncommon for players at his position. While Bazley is a willing passer, he still has work to do if he wants to facilitate on a consistent basis despite a baseline of skill in that department.
When engaged, Bazley plays with a ton of heart. He’s no stranger to chasing down a loose ball, hustling for a rebound, or pressuring the basket in transition. That energy translates to the paint, where his pogo-stick mentality keeps him in the mix for every rebound while contesting and more often, blocking shots near the rim.
Bazley’s shooting percentages might not reflect it, but he’s a serviceable 3-point shooter who’s capable of hitting on catch-and-shoot opportunities and the occasional dribble pull-up. With time, reps and opportunities, it's not farfetched to suggest Bazley will become a solid shooter from deep.
Part of what makes him a compelling trade target is there’s really no telling who he can be. Still early into his career, Bazley is moldable and motivated—making him an ideal fit in the Spurs’ young core. Bazley, who was selected four picks after Luka Samanic in 2019, might be what San Antonio thought the Croatian forward would become when they added him to their team.
The question is, what does Oklahoma City think of him and what might it cost to draw him away?