The Sacramento Kings have yet to win a game since the return of De’Aaron Fox, going 0-4 in that span.
Two of those losses came to sub .500 teams in ugly outings. In a tight Western Conference where the Kings are fighting for a playoff seed, losses to poor teams are inexcusable.
Even though Fox has played well since taking the court again, one player has not looked so great since coming back from injury: Marvin Bagley.
Bagley has missed most of this season thus far after fracturing his thumb on opening night. But since his return earlier this month, he has not looked like the same player from last season.
His stats might not look too bad in the seven games he has played in December but his advanced stats paint a different narrative that more accurately displays his contribution, or lack thereof.
Bagley has a low offensive rating of 99.4 and a high defensive rating of 111.5 which are both horrendous. And to top it all off, he is sporting a net rating of -12.0.
The return of Bagley was supposed to be a huge lift for Sacramento, but he has hurt the team more than he has helped.
Bagley has had a lot of controversy tied to him this season as Kings fans are upset knowing that the front office could have selected MVP candidate, Luka Doncic, in his place two years ago.
This is a clear and valid sentiment which could very well be affecting his game, but as a number two pick and a young talent who has shown vast potential, he still has ample time to show his worth.
The emergence of Richaun Holmes has not helped Bagley’s case either. In Marvin’s absence, Holmes quickly became a fan favorite who played both sides of the ball well, rebounded strongly, and showcased heart and energy to help the Kings win games.
If any of this is affecting Bagley, he needs to overcome any talk, and focus on himself and his team as a whole. He definitely has the skill, he just needs to find the mindset to put it to good use.
He is no doubt in a tough spot, feeling the pressure of a sophomore follow-up to his alluring rookie season while being accompanied by the injury setbacks he has faced in his young career.
But the Kings are ready for a playoff push, and he plays a big role in making that happen. He needs to show up because the team needs him to. That is the necessary mindset. Are you in or out?
It took no time for Fox to return to his normal self on the court, but after seven games, Bagley is still trying to find his niche.
Hopefully tonight against the Timberwolves, Bagley brushes it all off, starts with a clear mind and a fresh attitude, and has a breakout game showing the Kings and their fans the number two pick he is.