‘Grown man’ Darius Bazley latest addition to Phoenix Suns
Darius Bazley is the newest member of the Phoenix Suns, but he knows their point guard – Chris Paul.
They were teammates at Oklahoma City in 2019-20 when Bazley was a rookie.
When the Suns (31-27) traded Dario Saric and a second-round pick to Oklahoma City for Bazley just before the 1:00 p.m. close of trading last Thursday, Paul called him.
“It’s just crazy how this league works, how life works,” Paul said.
Bazley and Paul have reunited as the listed 6-8 forward will be available for Tuesday’s game against Sacramento (32-24) at the Footprint Center.
“It was good, it was all smiles when I saw him,” Bazley said. “He called me when I was being traded. It was nice to see him.”
The Suns rocked the league with trades of Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks and a pick swap to Brooklyn for Kevin Durant and TJ Warren late Wednesday night.
Later the following Thursday afternoon, they made a move for Bazley, who is in his fourth NBA season.
“Baz is a grown man now,” said Paul, who joined Phoenix after his one-season season at Oklahoma City in 2019-20. “I’m looking forward to him joining our team and also with a guy like KD so he can really see what the work is like.”
Bazley is averaging a career-low 5.4 points this season, two years after he posted a career-high 13.7 points in his sophomore NBA season, 2020-21.
“He’s a young guy who, if you will, just hasn’t found his consistent niche in the NBA,” said Suns coach Monty Williams to help him find a more consistent path.”
Bazley didn’t play college ball since he was a standout from Princeton High School in Cincinnati. The Utah Jazz picked him 23approx overall in 2019 before selling it to the Thunder.
Now he’s with the Suns to contribute to a championship run.
“My defensive versatility,” Bazley said when asked what he could bring to the Suns. “To be able to guard one through five. Bringing my athleticism into play offensively. be able to deflect shots.”
Bazley is shooting a career-best 40% of 3 this season.
“He’s 6-9, long arms, athletic,” Williams said. “Can take a shot. Has defensive skills to affect the game, it’s like how you help him become a part of your program. It may be a while before we find out. We hope we can, but he has some tools and attributes that not many NBA players have. We have to figure out how to help him.”
Do you have an opinion on the current state of the suns? You can reach Sun insider Duane Rankin at [email protected] or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.
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