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Julius Randle proved to be too much for Marvin Bagley

Marvin stood no chance against the physical play of Julius Randle and that matchup nearly lead to a New York comeback.

With 11 seconds on the shot clock, Julius Randle received the ball at the three-point line with Marvin Bagley in front of him. He took one dribble to his right before a quick behind the back move to his strong hand that turned Bagley around. He kissed it off the glass, and the whistle was blown - foul on Bagley. After the whistle, Randle turned around and barked, €œHe can't guard me.€

Randle's claim was valid, and Luke Walton seemingly had come to the same conclusion.

Less than 90 seconds later, Bagley was re-assigned to RJ Barrett and Harrison Barnes was designated to slow down the All-Star caliber forward in the closing minutes. Randle, who has been having a career-year that could potentially land him on the Eastern Conference All-Star roster, was able to barrel through the Duke product anytime he wanted and uncoincidentally slowed down after the change.

From the opening tip, it appeared that attacking Marvin Bagley was a key focus in New York's offensive gameplan whether that be with him directly involved in the pick-and-roll, posting him up, or as the weakside help man. 

Play one for the Knicks, options included posting up Bagley in isolation or a side pick-and-roll with Barrett and explosive big man Mitchell Robinson where Bagley would be responsible for denying the roll. 

Bagley was late to the spot, resulting in an easy lob to Robinson as Bagley watched with his hands on the high flyers back.

This was just the beginning of a long and physical night for Bagley. 

In this matchup particularly, if Randle got a head of steam headed downhill and used his body to push Bagley around, the Sacramento big man would be caught on his heels and bounce off after supplying little resistance.

Rarely did he beat Randle to the spot and often was caught using his hands to play defense rather than his body, as evident in the offensive foul included -- which was incorrectly not called a foul on Marvin -- and the fact that he fouled out of this contest. 

On a few occasions, including the aforementioned one at the beginning of this article, one quick dribble move would leave Bagley in a position where he stood no chance to recover. He jumped at any convincing fakes and was left with his hips facing the complete wrong direction.

While putting on some weight would be more than useful, I believe this was an unideal use of the strength that Marvin currently possesses. Harrison Barnes was able to slow Randle late in the fourth by utilizing a wide base that leaned towards the offensive player and kept his hands off. Barnes is ten pounds lighter than Bagley and three inches shorter.

Maybe Walton kept that matchup so late into the game as a teaching moment for Bagley, something he can go and watch the tape on later to learn from. Maybe it will serve as motivation to hit the weight room, as Doug Christie alluded to on the broadcast. 

Throughout the season, I have been encouraged by the switchability that the former number two pick has showcased. Yet, at times he was assigned to matchups that were unfair expectations such as Kawhi Leonard in the first Clippers game (even though there really were decent moments) or chasing quicker wings through screens. 

This seemed to be another one of those nights. 

The effort should not be in question, and there were even a few moments of smartly denying the entry pass by fronting, using his overwhelming length, and matching the physicality - even if one did result in a foul.

It would be wrong of me to also not include the monster block that Bagley had on Randle along with the other two charges he drew, one on rookie Obi Toppin. The lateral quickness and anticipation shown agains the Dayton product was encouraging, but Obi will learn not to duck his shoulder into opposing bigs and be more patient.

 

While the rejection is likely to be featured in a highlight reel, Randle was unconvincing with his lazy in-and-out move and diverted from the physicality that gained him a regular advantage throughout the night. No matter, props to Marvin Bagley for sticking with the play and being in the right place at the right time. 

The charge drawn was also more error on Randle's side by extending his arm rather than proper positioning from Bagley.

Julius Randle attacking Marvin Bagley in isolation almost brought New York back in the closing moments where Bagley had regularly found himself watching from the sideline throughout the season. It was puzzling to me why Walton waited until the lead was cut to two before doubling, or switching one of Barnes or Richaun Holmes onto Randle. 

Again, the effort from Bagley is encouraging and should not be overlooked, but this matchup highlighted some of his concerning shortcomings on the defensive end of the ball. While his defensive numbers on the night don't look bad, most of his playing time came alongside the other starters, and every minute featured him at the four with Holmes (who may be the best defender on the roster) beside him.

Personally, I would have assigned Randle to Holmes and let Bagley deal with a similarly explosive, but not particularly strong or physical Mitchell Robinson. 

This would have often left Bagley as the last line of defense, which has its own concerns, but progress is needed to be made there as well that will only come with reps.

Hopefully, Bagley spends the rare extended break that Sacramento has to reflect on some of the film from this game and learn to utilize the strength he already has by slowly working to improve his fundamentals.

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Amonk81
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January 23, 2021 10:09 pm

Bagely isn’t going to become a good defender. Has Buddy learned? No. It’s not happening. I really Hope Sac moves on. There is NO way they should sink money into Bags.

Along w bad D he doesn’t fit the O, doesn’t board well defensively, doesn’t screen well….on and on and on. What are the chances Bags going to blossom into a good Defender or really good player? Not happening. Like The Greek Freak learning to shoot.

Take the time, energy and money and use it elsewhere.

Amonk81
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January 23, 2021 10:10 pm

And nice article and breakdown. I like these.

SelecaoKOJ
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January 23, 2021 10:19 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

This is why Barnes needs to be traded. We could have kept the tank rolling, if not for Barnes.
Walton decided to get cute and switch out Bagley. At this point roll out Hali 40 min a night. See what he can do on extended. Do the same with Fox to see if he develops some kind of Mamba/Lillard syndrome. Unload the rest of the lot for prospects, picks, future considerations and a lifetime of king crab dinners.

scatshot
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January 23, 2021 11:25 pm

bagley is always getting his feet crossed, a 10 year old with good handles could blow by him

HongKongKingsFan
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January 23, 2021 11:56 pm
Reply to  scatshot

and that’s why I was always wonder why and how he deserved to be a “Lottery pick” (I am not talking about #2 pick), just a lottery pick.

Bagley’s only strength is his double-jump and athleticism….(I know he is a double-double machine in College)…but he pretty sucks at all other categories…

What we fans right now see him is “Improvement”
(We are now seeing just like a guy that never learn to play basketball, then through out the season, we are so happy that “Oh, Bagley made a pass to open teammate / Oh, Bagley drew a charge...those were just normal thing for a basketball player )……..

But he is so raw, and has zero concept in defense, also his tunnel vision…..I just curious how he deserves to be a lottery pick ?

BBIQ4U
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January 24, 2021 8:08 am

I said it when we drafted him, I said it during his rookie year, his second and this year, he is the worst player taken in the top 10. He is an absolute negative on the court

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 24, 2021 8:32 am

It is annoying that gets mounds of praise for simply doing things that he is supposed to be doing. Doug just about jumps out of his chair when Bagley makes a simple 6ft half hook.

GFunkClassic
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January 24, 2021 1:24 pm

Literally every draft analyst had him as a lottery pick, and in a re-draft, he’d still be a lottery pick.

SmallBallReject
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January 24, 2021 3:04 am

One would think learning to stay low, balanced and square would not be so difficult. If he could do that, I wonder if with a developing 3 pt shot and good basic athleticism, Bagley might be suited to play the stretch-4 or even 3/4 more than (bulking up and) developing into a 5. I know that was part of Vlade’s silly Marvin hype, …

TheEffortPolice
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January 24, 2021 4:23 am

If Bagley shouldn’t have been matched up with Randle, then who the hell in the league can he match up with? Randle is one of the few 4’s in the league who is more like the traditional, bully-ball big instead of the dynamic skilled forward who traditionally would’ve been the 3, and would’ve clowned the clunky, awkward Bagley on the perimeter.

So, he drew Kawhi Leonard and it was unfair. So? Guess what, the league is filled with star combo forwards who are spending more time at the 4, another reason for why drafting Bagley to be a traditional 4 man was asinine.

Also, “overwhelming length”. The guy notably has a 7’0 wingspan, similar to ironically enough, Julius Randle. He’s got goddamn t-rex arms. So… playing the 5 is out then too huh.

And why are we all congratulating Bagley on doing the bare mininum of considering himself not above defense. We can find a million fringe bigs who will scrap and work hard but don’t have the ability. Did we have the expectation here that Bagley would have the “I’m a #2 pick, defense is for peasants” attitude, something that’s been backed up by everything he’s said and done through his NBA career? Methinks we did.

Last edited 1 year ago by TheEffortPolice
Otis
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January 24, 2021 4:30 am

LOL. Julius Randle isn’t an easy cover. He’s a better player than anyone on the Kings roster.

TheEffortPolice
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January 24, 2021 6:20 am
Reply to  Otis

So what?

He shouldn’t be asked to check physical, bully-ball 4s. He shouldn’t be asked to check rangy combo forwards. He shouldn’t be asked to check true centers and hold down the middle.

I’m seeing a recurring theme here. Who should he be checking then?

Otis
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January 24, 2021 10:20 am

This has always been a question re: Bagley. It’s also a question for De’Aaron Fox.

IMO, Bagley’s value as a defensive player is hard to determine until we have a coach with a coherent defensive scheme. He may well not be suited for anything other than second team work, but he does have physical abilities (athleticism, wingspan) that could be potentially useful.

I mean, here we are talking about him defending Julius Randle, who has always been considered a defensive liability in the league, and today is the leading minutes guy on the 4th ranked defense in the NBA.

This has always been part of my issue with evaluating Bagley right now (and Fox, to some extent). These guys have a shit coach.

HoustonJP
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January 24, 2021 7:16 am
Reply to  Otis

This. And, he is a lot better than a lot of players on many NBA teams.

HoustonJP
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January 24, 2021 7:26 am
Reply to  Otis

Otis, fat early thumb on the send button, what did you think of Barnes’ overall play against the Knicks. I like him as a player for his flexibility and as an example on the floor and in the locker room. The two issues are his age relative to the youngest Kings and the steepness of the contract, even in the progressive declining years. In a few years he would be the type of player an NBA teams might welcome as it made a playoff run toward the WCF. I won’t relish seeing him traded, however, given a fair and good return, and that is always the key with every player no how valuable he may be in the moment, the team may need to trigger a move to get better as a team. I am not sure one step backwards will result in two steps forward, but Monte needs time and some luck. Just my two cents.

Otis
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January 24, 2021 10:22 am
Reply to  HoustonJP

Hey Houston – I like the idea of Barnes as a rotation guy on a good basketball team. I just think he’s overpaid, and still overpaid long term. So just losing that contract (without taking long term dollars back) would give McNair a lot of flexibility for the future IMO. I’m just not sure what deal is out there that would work.

HoustonJP
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January 24, 2021 1:22 pm
Reply to  Otis

Yep, I can’t argue with any of that. On the right team at the right time he is a very productive player. The Kings time frame is different than Harrison’s however.

NorCalKingsFan
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January 24, 2021 4:29 pm
Reply to  Otis

Barnes is earning every cent of his contract this year. I hope we can put this “he’s getting paid too much” non-sense to bed, this isn’t the Barnes of 2yrs ago.

The contract has declined over time since it was signed and Barnes is on a team-friendly deal when considering his production.

rc50cal
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January 24, 2021 6:03 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

The contract may not be egregious, but it’s also not €œteam-friendly.€ The final judgement will be when/if the kings are able to trade him. If we get a late first for him, then sure you were right.

Otis
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January 24, 2021 6:41 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

He’s getting paid too much. And it hasn’t declined that much, it’s easy enough to track down those details.

rc50cal
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January 24, 2021 5:59 pm
Reply to  Otis

He’s a pretty good scorer. He’s not a better player than Fox. If you offered Fox for Randle, NYK would say €œyes€ before you enunciated the X.

Otis
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January 24, 2021 6:42 pm
Reply to  rc50cal

That’s based on upside. But Randle is the better player on the better team as of this moment.

Hobby916
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January 24, 2021 4:47 am

In the clips, Bagley appeared to do well when he fronted Randle. But watching him get catapulted by rookie Toppin was comical. Now, Toppin is older than Bagley and appears to be much stronger, but Bagley has had 3 years of NBA level strength and conditioning. He just clearly needs to hit the squat rack, do some deadlifts, and get that lower half stronger. 20 pounds would do well for him as he gets older.

aplumley
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January 24, 2021 6:50 am

The contrast between Bagley and Barnes, who pretty much shut Randle down, was striking. Bagley has been playing better of late, which is encouraging. I’m also thinking that Vlade may have been right that Bagley may be able to play small forward. In fact, with him finding outside range and an inability to guard physical bigs, small forward may end up being his primary position in the NBA, if he even finds a primary position in the NBA.

RikSmits
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January 24, 2021 7:04 am
Reply to  aplumley

Have you seen his footwork and so-so lateral quickness?
I am not sure he’d do better as a SF on D.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 24, 2021 8:36 am
Reply to  aplumley

Not a chance. If Randle has the ability to cross Bagley up and blow by him from the perimeter, then any traditional SF would just destroy Bagley off the dribble.

aplumley
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January 26, 2021 9:47 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Bagley cannot guard anyone, big or small. I’d rather have the mismatch on the offensive end I guess, where he should have success in a big lineup forcing a 3 to guard him. Again, I’m not convinced Bagley has a position in the NBA right now.

RobHessing
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January 24, 2021 8:52 am

Bagley’s still only 21 & due to his myriad injuries lacks a ton of game experience. That said, he’s struggling to be even a top ten player from his draft right now, and his much-needed development – especially on the defensive end – might never occur in his current environment. Both Bagley and the Kings are probably in need of a reset.

mdeedublu
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January 24, 2021 8:58 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Here is the question that needs to be figured out:

Does it make sense to invest more time into Bagley (particularly training on the defensive end) and see if you can build his value over the rest of the season. Then decide whether he’s part of this team’s future or he needs to be moved.

Moving him now runs the risk of giving up too soon. As Rob said, he’s lacking a bunch of experience due to injuries. On the other hand, not moving him now could result in his value deteriorating (maybe he gets another injury, let’s hope not for his sake) and yet again the Kings being Kangz eventually losing a semi-valuable asset.

Good luck Monte.

rockbottom
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January 24, 2021 9:22 am
Reply to  mdeedublu

The great Dodger GM of the past had a great saying and philosophy that – it is always better to trade a player a year too soon than a year too late ! On that basis seems Bagley, Barnes and Buddy could be traded ! Good hunting Monte !

BestHyperboleEver
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January 24, 2021 9:42 am
Reply to  rockbottom

Would we define him primarily as a Dodger GM? Does the 23 years and 4 world series championships with the Cards overshadow 7 seasons with the Dodgers even if he did sign Jackie. I don’t know.

FUN FACT: He also introduced the batting helmet and basically invented the minor leagues.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
January 24, 2021 10:06 am
Reply to  mdeedublu

You have him under contract for another year, albeit a pricy $11M, but you do have time. I don’t think you move him unless it is part of some greater package that really improves the team now or long term. Right now you get pennies on the dollar for him, so what is the harm in another calendar year. I mean, he can’t reduce his value any and next year he’d potentially be an expiring deal.

mdeedublu
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January 24, 2021 11:41 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I’m still up in the air but I’m leaning toward this method. He technically has the upside still and his value might actually improve with his contract expiring next year.

NorCalKingsFan
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January 24, 2021 4:32 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Yeah, he’s already a sunken investment. Ride it out until you have to make another decision.

TerzoM
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January 25, 2021 3:00 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Yes he’s just a 21-yo kid. Eye test seems like he’s getting better – not jumping into crowded defenders and not getting stripped 100x per game. I too say keep him because his trade value should only increase over time. I think his ceiling is a good player. definitely not a franchise/top 10 draft pick.

Marty
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January 24, 2021 9:41 am

Maybe he can just add twenty pounds, get quicker feet, learn how to play defense during this break, hit ten jump hooks and draw five charges per game, and we’ll see what we have in him after he gets more time on the court with another coach in year three, when he’ll finally be 22 years old.

Last edited 1 year ago by Marty Marty
Kosta
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January 24, 2021 10:02 am

Great job, Brendan!

Love these breakdown clips articles you guys do (Sanjesh is also excelling with these).

It might be nice to see a defense breakdown like you have done here for all the other Kings…both good and bad. Like maybe one for Fox, and one for Haliburton, Cojo, Holmes, etc…

I never learned basketball (only played pickup games) so this is helpful for me.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
154-98
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January 24, 2021 10:22 am

Marv has a healthy lead on Luka thus far (assists vs triple doubles) at 14-5, but I don’t think it can hold through the end of the year.

His game would expand so much if (i) he wasn’t such a ball movement killer and (ii) if his footwork improved. Literally baby steps, and we can’t even hit that.

GFunkClassic
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January 24, 2021 1:12 pm
Reply to  154-98

He’s leading Luka in FG% and 3pt FG% too….I don’t think the ball movement killer is a valid criticism anymore. Folks lobbing this are holding onto performance from past seasons. He’s been much more selective with his shots, as well as moving the ball well within the offense. The footwork is a valid criticism, but only from the defensive end. He seems more engaged defensively than past seasons, and that’s half the battle. As long as he keeps working on it, he’ll get better. Along with continuing to work on his strength he’ll become serviceable defensively, but it’s never going to be one of his strengths. Likewise defense will never be a strength of Luka’s either.

Carl
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January 24, 2021 2:02 pm
Reply to  GFunkClassic

I don’t think the ball movement killer is a valid criticism anymore. Folks lobbing this are holding onto performance from past seasons.

Assist percentages from each of Bagley’s three seasons:
2018-19: 5.9
2019-20: 4.9
2020-21: 5.0

HIs usage is down slightly this season, so technically, he’s marginally better, but he’s gone from a historically bad ball stopper to just bottom tier.

GFunkClassic
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January 24, 2021 2:18 pm
Reply to  Carl

Assists and ball movement aren’t necessarily the same thing. You can have a player that’s a black hole for the ball that gets assists even when killing the offensive play call with drive attacks and the the occasional dump off. And you can have a player that gets zero assists but moves the ball well within the offense. I think he’s looked much better this year in regards to moving the ball around.

NorCalKingsFan
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January 24, 2021 4:35 pm
Reply to  GFunkClassic

I think he’s looked much better this year in regards to moving the ball around.

I completely agree with this, and I am no Bagley-stan, he’s limited his all-or-nothing approach and has been moving the ball more in the flow of the offense.

Last edited 1 year ago by NorCalKingsFan
KangzAteMyFamily
January 25, 2021 11:31 am
Reply to  Carl

yeah he gets no assists, but the ball doesn’t just die when it gets to him. He’s kept it moving this year.

GFunkClassic
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January 24, 2021 12:55 pm

Super weird how biased this fan base is against the kid. We get a win, he leads the game in +/-, but let’s focus on all the bad… the good? there is none, those were just mistakes from the offensive player. Sheeesh. The kid really is in a no-win situation here in Sacramento.

GFunkClassic
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January 24, 2021 2:29 pm
Reply to  Brenden

He needs to take these licks though, so he can improve. I agree with your sentiment that Holmes would have been better matchup on Randle with Bagley on Robinson. But Randle would have still put up 20+ points easily on Holmes too. He’s that good, and the Knicks are running their entire offense through him this year hence the increase in FG attempts and doubling of his assist numbers. Part of me thinks they wanted to throw Bagley to the fire with this matchup so he would take some punishment and try to grow from it.

NorCalKingsFan
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January 24, 2021 4:36 pm
Reply to  GFunkClassic

by throwing him in the fire, he’ll get embarrassed too, I think he might need that for a reality check on where he needs to improve.

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