Oklahoma City Thunder have a big decision to make on Darius Bazley
The Oklahoma City Thunder need to figure out the Darius Bazley situation this offseason.
This was an up and down season for Oklahoma City Thunder forward Darius Bazley, the third-year player and former New Balance intern had his most productive season to date and had a particularly strong March before suffering a season-ending non-displaced tibial fracture in his right knee.
Bazley sustained the injury during the Thunder’s 107-113 loss to the Denver Nuggets. Bazley left the game in the first half and did not return.
His injury cut his 2021-22 campaign short, by only eight games. This was a frustrating year for Bazley because after starting in all 55 games he played in 2020-21, this season he started in 53 of 69 games played.
Seeing this was Bazley’s third year and the Thunder are mostly made up of first and second-year players it would have been encouraging to see Bazley seize the opportunity of being the vet on the squad.
He did just that in March, he averaged 15.3 points per game, shot 50.3 percent from the floor, pulled down 5.3 rebounds per game (although that number is down from his season average of 6.3) and recorded two double-doubles. For context, he had five double-doubles in all other months combined.
Career month of March for Darius Bazley
He also had some career highlights in March, scoring a career-high 29-points vs. the Memphis Grizzlies on March 13. He also made a career-high 11 field goals against the Grizz in the same contest.
Bazley also got hot from downtown on multiple occasions draining a season-best four 3-point shots twice, vs. the San Antonio Spurs on March 16, and against the Charlotte Hornets on March 14.
Additionally, leading into the game he got hurt, Bazley was riding an eight-game streak of scoring double-digits. He also scored 20-points or more in three consecutive games during the steak for the first time in his career.
This is going to be a big offseason for Bazley, in addition to rehabbing his broken leg. His future is unclear at the moment. He could receive an extension or he could also start the 2022-23 season on a fresh team. The latter would probably be best for Bazley and the Thunder because it feels he has plateaued in Oklahoma City and could benefit from a change in scenery.