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Kent Bazemore would give the Mavericks some needed backcourt help

It wouldn't make sense for the Atlanta guard to go from the starting lineup to the bench, but Dallas is in desperate need for 2-guard help.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Now is the time for Kent Bazemore to cash in, and that would be a great birthday present.

The Atlanta Hawks shooting guard turns 27 years old on July 1, and he will be an unrestricted free agent once the clock strikes midnight. Bazemore started 68 games on a 48-win Hawks squad and was an important reason Atlanta knocked off the Boston Celtics in six games in the first round.

Bazemore is one of those rare wait-and-see players that paid off. The bench was his best friend during his Golden State days. It wasn't until he got to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2013-14 season that he was best utilized. He shot 45 percent from the floor and averaged 13.1 points in 25 games for the Lake Show.

That momentum carried over when the Hawks offered the former Old Dominion product a two-year deal worth $4 million. After a strong 2015-16 campaign where he averaged a career-high 11.6 points per game and 14 points in 32 minutes a game against the Celtics, he could get a hefty contract outside of Atlanta.

He has athleticism, a 3-point shot that can still get better and the ability to attack the basket with reckless abandon. There's no surefire reason, other than money and a chance to be a focal point in the offense, that Bazemore should leave Atlanta. But you have to wonder if there's untapped potential that's slowly oozing out.

Fit with the Mavericks

Here's the truth: Kent Bazemore joining the Dallas Mavericks would be the bee's knees. I want this to happen. The thing is, it's the Mavericks, this is free agency and it probably won't happen.

Dallas is known for taking young players with untapped potential and turning them into significant rotation stalwarts. Bazemore has proven to be a reliable rotation guy. He's done more than enough to command a starting job or even a sixth man role.

Either one of those two ways are how the Mavericks should approach Bazemore. The starting spot is contingent on Chandler Parsons leaving Dallas, while the sixth man role would be fun because, damn it, the Mavericks need another shooting guard for the love of everything good in this world.

Bazemore is the kind of player that would benefit a free-flowing offense. He's not the kind of 2-guard that plays the catch-and-shoot role, but he works really well in the pick-and-roll. The 2.3 assists Bazemore averaged were a career high -- which is low overall, but Atlanta's offense focuses on making the extra pass. Bazemore only played one percent of point guard last year, but he'd be an upgrade from Raymond Felton and Deron Williams in the sense he can do more.

Bazemore is also a tenacious rebounder and Dallas needs major help in that department. He averaged seven rebounds per game in the Celtics series and averaged 10.2 boards per 100 possessions. Now, think about this: The Mavericks' guards (not counting Justin Anderson) combined to average 2.7 rebounds per game last year. Felton led that group with 3.2 boards per game. That is beyond bad. There aren't enough words in the English language to describe how bad that is.

Getting Anderson more playing time next year will help with that, but you see the dilemma here. Dallas needs a guy who can rebound in the backcourt. It would help. Trust me.


The Mavericks' immediate needs should begin with a backup shooting guard. It doesn't make sense for Bazemore to leave Atlanta, where he had a breakout year and was a starter, to go to Dallas as a likely sixth man.

As badly as I want Bazemore in Dallas, it won't happen. The Mavericks, I'm convinced, would use every ounce of their free agency energy to bring Dwight Howard on board, thus forgetting other players exist in this league. I wouldn't be shocked if 1) the Mavs don't even get a meeting with Bazemore, and 2) they don't even entertain the thought of wanting him.

But he would be great in a Dallas uniform under the right circumstances, and someone should mention this to the front office.