The Thunder are hoping some of that greatness will rub off on Bazley as he joins a suddenly rebuilding team led — for the time being — by another member of James’ inner circle, Chris Paul. Bazley got off to a delayed start with the Thunder this summer, as he’d been officially drafted by the Utah Jazz, then had to wait to make his Las Vegas Summer League debut as a backlog of agreed-upon trades got processed in a particular order. “His ability to handle the ball at his size is really, really unique, and defensively he’s got great range for a young player at that size, as well,” Thunder GM Sam Presti said. “It’s going to be a process with him. We’ll have to be patient. We understand that. But at that range of the draft, to be able to get a player that has those ball-handling skills at 6-foot-9 is pretty unique.”
Rich Paul: To be honest, I have no idea whether the NCAA adopted the new rule specifically because of my work with Darius Bazley, as people have speculated, or if it is because they know there are more and more people like me fighting for their chance and challenging this antiquated system. The harmful consequences of this decision will ricochet onto others who are trying to break in. NCAA executives are once again preventing young people from less prestigious backgrounds, and often people of color, from working in the system they continue to control. In this case, the people being locked out are kids who aspire to be an agent and work in the NBA and do not have the resources, opportunity or desire to get a four-year degree.
Rich Paul: I actually support requiring three years of experience before representing a kid testing the market. I can even get behind passing a test. However, requiring a four-year degree accomplishes only one thing — systematically excluding those who come from a world where college is unrealistic.
Rich Paul: The barriers to entry for the next Rich Paul are already high enough. When I travel back to neighborhoods like the inner city of Greater Cleveland where I’m from, young black kids tell me that they see my career as another path for them out of their troubled surroundings. They want to grow up to do what I do. That inspires me. So if the NCAA is invested both in helping young people get the education they need and in supporting student-athletes, like they claim, then we are on common ground.
But Banks chose not to give himself the chance, and he explained the story on Tuesday, as the team prepared for its trip to Spain for four exhibition games. When Banks’ submitted the paperwork, he neglected to put an electronic signature on the draft document. When the NBA reached out to Tech to point out the missing signature, the deadline to enter had passed, but Banks said that the league told him that it would make an exception for him.Banks said no thanks. Having already been unsure about whether he wanted to declare for the draft, he said the omission was a sign.“I was like, alright, I don’t need to dabble in this,” Banks said