Kent Bazemore, who joined the Portland Trail Blazers during the offseason, spoke to the press at the annual media day.
- On what he worked on over the summer, Bazemore stated that he is focused on getting his body into shape after recovering from an ankle injury, but his body feels great and he is ready to go.
- As for his view of the team, he said that the roster is very deep and dynamic, and there is an opportunity for lots of looks. He noted that the pick-up games have been very competitive. Bazemore stated that the guys are ready to play and compete, and that thanks to the trip to the Western Conference Finals, they understand the grind. He appreciates the leadership and consistency in the organization.
- Bazemore drew a comparison between Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and himself, noting they both attended mid-major schools where top-to-bottom belief in winning helped build a certain kind of culture that he sees in Portland..
- On his three-point shot, he said it is looking good. “Last year was probably my worst year, the preparation has been there.” He acknowledged that he struggled last year in Atlanta, as his body wasn’t right and he wasn’t locked in mentally. He said in Portland things will be different, as everyone gets it.
- Bazemore said he is excited to play in Portland as it reminds him of playing under coach Mike Budenholzer. The potential of the flow offense is part of that: “Stotts puts in his schemes but he doesn’t want us to be robots.”
- He spoke at length about the culture and chemistry of the team: “Can’t win with a terrible locker room.” He acknowledged that the leadership of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum help that happen.
- Asked about his time in Atlanta, he said he was thankful for the experience. He said they moved in a different direction, with the development of young guys like Trae Young. In Portland, he aims to be a 3-and-D player who can do the “dirty work” for the team.
- Bazemore discussed some of the challenges he has faces recently, from moving on from the Hawks, to the birth of his son this summer, to the loss of his mother-in-law in recent weeks. He said that off the court, his focus is on being there for his wife and son.
- Bazemore believes this year is important for himself and for the team. He is looking to bring a trophy home to Portland.This is an important year, not just for myself, but for this team. It takes a lot of commitment. I’m just trying to make it into the gym and bring a trophy to Portland.