Marvin Bagley III was finding his comfort level as a starter for the Kings before his hand injury. After an outcry from his father on Twitter for the Kings to trade Bagley, he’s scored in double figures in every game since February 9th.
In Monday’s game against the Hornets, Bagley fractured the fourth metacarpal in his left hand. So far this season, he’s averaging 13.9 points and 7.6 rebounds. He’s started every game he’s been active in for the Kings.
Bagley’s draw came from his inside-out skill set. He has a strong interior game and blends together strength but also quickness around the basket. Throughout his career, he’s shown comfort shooting from the perimeter and attacking closeouts.
Bagley’s struggled with defense and consistency. Players can backdoor him or beat him off the dribble. Part of it stems from his positional fit. He has to play the four at this point since he can’t protect the rim. When teams have more of a mobile wing player matched up on him, Bagley cannot chase them around screens or stay in front of them.
Bagley’s staple is his offensive production. At the start of the season, he couldn’t find his footing on that end due to the emergence of Richaun Holmes. When he isn’t producing on offense and gives up speed and I.Q on defense, it’s hard to keep him on the court.
For the past month, his productivity has been there. His shot selection has been efficient. He crashes the offensive glass and gets easy putbacks. The concern for the Kings is that Bagley hasn’t put all the flashes together. He isn’t shooting it consistently from three or getting to the line.
The Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley III Comparison
Luka Doncic’s career will forever overshadow Bagley’s career. Their career immediately took two different paths when the Kings and Mavericks drafted Bagley second overall and Doncic third. Bagley has struggled to stay healthy most of his career. Luka, on the other hand, has turned into an MVP candidate player in his third season.
Because Bagley and Doncic were drafted consecutively, people will inevitably compare them. Unfortunately, that weighing tends to hurt Bagley more than Doncic.
Bagley still has potential. There aren’t many bigs with the perimeter fluidity of Bagley. If he can develop his shot and find a better front-court fit, he could flourish.