After yet another dismal year following the 2017-2018 season, the Sacramento Kings found themselves with another lottery pick, their 12th in a row.
Although the Kings had been a laughable franchise for quite sometime, they never received a pick within the top three spots. But in 2018, their fortune would change.
During the NBA Draft Lottery, the Sacramento Kings landed the number two pick in the 2018 draft. Ecstatic, fans began dreaming about and fantasizing over who the Kings would select. With Deandre Ayton the consensus number one pick, the Kings could pick from the rest of the litter.
While most experts and fans viewed Luka Doncic as the second best player in the draft, Vlade Divac and the rest of the Sacramento Kings’ front office had other ideas.
With reports that the organization favored 6’11” power forward, Marvin Bagley, out of Duke, the rumors became realities on draft night as Bagley’s name was announced when the Sacramento Kings made their selection.
Marvin Bagley immediately felt mounting pressure from fans and Head Coach, Dave Joerger, who were unhappy with his selection. It didn’t help his nerves knowing passed on prospect, Luka Doncic, was instantly becoming the clear front runner for Rookie of the Year.
Even with all the pressure, Bagley performed well and may have even exceeded expectations. Despite receiving only four starts and sitting out 20 games in his rookie campaign, Bagley ended the year averaging 14.9 points a game to go along with 7.6 boards.
With his impressive stat line, Bagley made both the Rising Stars USA team and the NBA All-Rookie First Team. But these accolades weren’t enough to distract fans from Luka Doncic’s palpable dominance.
Going into his second year, Bagley was poised to help lead a young Kings team to their first playoff appearance since 2006. Unfortunately, on opening night, Bagley broke his thumb, sidelining him for a couple months.
Once returned to the floor, his comeback would only last a few games before Bagley reinjured his foot from a previous instance, something that would keep the big man out for the remainder of the season.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the succeeding NBA suspension, the league geared up to resume play in late July, giving Bagley additional time to rehab his foot.
With reports that Bagley would be able to play in the NBA bubble, fans were excited to see Marvin healthy for the team once again. Weeks before the NBA’s continuation, however, Bagley hurt his foot in practice, keeping him from participating in Orlando.
Today, Bagley still gets a lot of hate and the term “bust” is thrown around quite often. What makes it an even tougher pill to swallow is that Luka Doncic has blossomed into a true superstar in just his second season while leading the Dallas Mavericks to the playoffs.
Although Bagley does have talent and perhaps fits better with the Kings’ fast-paced guards, fans can only imagine, “What if Doncic was chosen instead?” A statement that will follow Bagley around for the rest of his career.
Here’s to hoping Marvin Bagley can come back next season stronger than ever and injury free. Bagley has the potential to be a 20 and 10 player, but unless he avoids injury and blocks out the noise, we may never know what he is truly capable of. Will Bagley be able to break the mold, or will he inevitably become the next Greg Oden?