Darius Bazley will not be playing in the G League after all.
A former top ten prospect in the Class of 2018 that was at one time committed to play his college ball at Syracuse, Bazley announced earlier this year that he was planning to be a trailblazer, eschewing a season in college by heading straight to the G League for his one-and-done year.
That is no longer the plan. Bazley will instead be taking the 2018-19 season off, telling The Athletic that he will be training on his own before entering the 2019 NBA Draft much like 2018 second round pick, Mitchell Robinson. Bazley said that part of this decision lies in uncertainty in where he would end up in the G League. Since he was not eligible for the NBA draft, he would be forced to enter the G League draft, meaning that he would have no control over where he ended up spending his one season; he was expected to be the No. 1 pick, thus heading to the worst team in the league. He also would not be part of that organization’s long-term plans, and his playing time, minutes and development could take a hit.
All of that makes sense.
But what Bazley doesn’t mention is that there are real questions about just how much of an impact he would be able to make in that league. The G League is not the NBA, but it is still one of the best basketball leagues in a world, a place where former McDonald’s All-Americans now in their mid-20s are looking to reclaim a last chance at getting to the NBA. Put another way, it’s not an ideal place for an 18-year old with an under-developed frame that still needs to add quite a bit of skill to thrive.
This is likely a business decision as much as anything else. Spend a year improving his body and his game on the dime of his agency, avoid being exposed playing in a league that he is not yet ready to play in and keep his draft stock afloat.
It’s the smart move to make.