Atlanta Hawks: Kent Bazemore Ranked 91 in SI’s Top 100

Kent Bazemore #24 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kent Bazemore #24 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Kent Bazemore of the Atlanta Hawks was named in Sports Illustrated’s list of the Top 100 NBA Players.

With training camp and the regular season tantalizingly close, the news feed of the Atlanta Hawks has become haltingly slow.

Though the team’s arena has been renamed and Grant Hill (a current Atlanta Hawks executive) and Maurice Cheeks (a former player) both made the Basketball Hall of Fame last weekend, not much has been going on in the realm of Atlanta Hawks fandom.

One piece of news that floated into the Hawks world was that one player was named in Sports Ilustrated’s recent list of the Top 100 NBA Players.

In years past, the Atlanta Hawks had multiple players that would qualify for such a list. The heyday of Coach Mike Budenholzer’s reign had multiple All-Star-level talents playing at their highest level, such as Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver.

Now, only one player remains from the 60-win Hawks team of 2014-15, and he is the lone Atlanta Hawks player to make SI’s list: Kent Bazemore at number 91.

Bazemore, as we already explored, is definitely the best player on the Hawks right now, and that status is also represented in the SI piece as Ben Golliver writes:

"Bazemore (12.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.5 APG) is the NBA’s anti-Forrest Gump: He has an uncanny knack for always just missing out on the action. The 29-year-old guard, who went undrafted in 2012, arrived on the scene with the Warriors just before Stephen Curry and Co. rocketed to dynasty mode. He then had a brief cup of coffee with the Lakers in 2014, a period of deep irrelevance after the ill-fated Dwight Howard experiment but before Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour. From there he landed in Atlanta, where he played a bit role on a team that made the 2015 East finals before finally breaking out in a starting role just as the team’s core was disbanded."

Certainly, Baze’s career has been somewhat star-crossed, but he has made a name for himself and carved out a niche during his time with the Atlanta Hawks. While he might be overpaid, his deal looks better and better as one of the few ugly contracts doled out in the summer of 2016 that doesn’t seem that bad; Baze can still provide value with varied and valuable skill set.

Sports Illustrated and Golliver seem to agree, as they think Baze’s status as the Hawks’ best players augurs a likely trade in the future for Bazemore:

"Thanks to the four-year, $70 million contract he inked during the 2016 cap spike, Bazemore has gone from toiling in the G-League to becoming the highest-paid player on one of the league’s worst rosters in less than five years. Although he’s clearly overpaid and unequipped to be a playoff team’s best, second-best or third-best player, Bazemore is a solid 3-and-D wing with good size and motor. In an ideal world, he would be cast as a fifth option in a contender’s starting lineup and asked to space the court, pick his spots to attack off the dribble, and bring energy on the defensive end. If Trae Young grows quickly into stardom, Bazemore will be a handy complementary piece. If not, he’ll continue to be grist for the trade rumor mill."

Next. 8 Best Players on the Atlanta Hawks Right Now. dark

As it stands, Baze is still a member of the Atlanta Hawks at this moment, though who knows for how long. As the team’s longest-tenured and overall best player, who will have a chance to lead before he is likely traded to a contender before the deadline.