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Blazers Bazemore on Mentality, ‘I wake up to play great defense’

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Trail Blazers forward Kent Bazemore spoke with The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman about his defensive mindset.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Trail Blazers have utilized a re-worked forward rotation to disrupt opposing offenses through two games. Leading that charge on the perimeter: 30-year-old forward Kent Bazemore. The former Hawks wing is finding his footing inside coach Terry Stotts offense, but his consistent pressure on the opposite end is a highlight from the first week of competition.

While in Sacramento, Bazemore spoke with The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman about his approach on defense. Bazemore, who went undrafted out of Old Dominion, explained that he focused on modeling his game after a handful of players known for thriving in the margins.

“It’s the role less traveled,” he said. “I found if I wanted to stick around in this league, I had to be different. And I don’t really have the offensive skill-set to be elite on the offensive side of the ball. But defensively, I can really help, and I knew if that became what I was known for, I could stay around for a long time. You need those stoppers. The Tony Allens. The PJ Tuckers. The Bruce Bowens. You need those guys on your team to help you win. And that’s the role I want to play in Portland.”

Bazemore also revealed that is defense-first mentality is in motion hours before the opening whistle.

“I wake up to play great defense, fly around, and just make it tough on the other team,” Bazemore said. “That’s why I play the game.”

Through two games, Bazemore has secured five steals and two blocks. He will look to keep that momentum rolling when the Blazers visit the up-and-coming Mavericks on Sunday.

You can read Freeman’s full story at Oregon Live.