Articles | Commentary | Numbers

Marvin Bagley’s struggles go far beyond a lack of shooting touch

The third year big man needs to find a way to impact the game outside of scoring.

Marvin Bagley hasn't exactly enjoyed a triumphant return to the hardwood this season. He can't knock down shots from anywhere on the floor, ranking in the 0th percentile among big men in effective field goal percentage, and things only seem to get worse from there.

At the rim, Marvin places in the 10th percentile and in the midrange he sits in the 14th percentile. Hell, he's shooting 11 of 26 (42%) on layups this year.

That lack of touch around the rim and Bagley's inability to get anything to actually go through the hoop has been an understandable source of consternation among the kingdom, but his shooting percentages will also probably recover over the course of an entire season, at least to a certain extent. It's Marvin's complete lack of ability to impact any other part of the game that has served to amplify the attention paid to his missed bunnies and free throw attempts.

For some reason, a few highlight blocks in Bagley's rookie season convinced a portion of the fan base that he possessed potential as a future positive defender and above-average rim protector. But three seasons into his career he has yet to show any of that dynamic. Out of 214 qualified players, Marvin Bagley ranks 213th in defensive field goal percentage, the percent that an opponent's field goal percentage increases or decreases when guarded by a particular player. On the season, his opponents have posted a pedestrian 48.1% FG%, but when defended by Bagley, that accuracy jumps to an incredible 62%, an increase of 13.9%. For comparison's sake, Buddy Hield was considered the worst defender on the squad last year, and he posted a DFG% Differential of 5.2%. Unfortunately, the numbers somehow get worse for Marvin as he shifts closer to the basket. Of the 107 players who have defended at least three shots per game at the rim, Bagley currently places 99th, allowing his opponents to shoot a whopping 83.4% in the paint, a 15.1% jump from their average of 68.3%.

The team's overall defensive numbers are directly reflective of this awful performance. When Bagley is on the floor, the Kings post a defensive rating of 115.8, equivalent to the second-worst defensive rating in the league, and the worst mark among Kings players who have played at least 75 total minutes this season. When Marvin sits, Sacramento's entire defensive identity seems to change, as their rating plummets to 105, on par with the sixth-best defense in the NBA. The Kings aren't going to win many games if they continue to give Bagley undeserved minutes and give up an additional 10 points per 100 possessions when he's in the game.

On the opposite end of the floor, Bagley's inability to hit shots, at least up until this point in the season, has been magnified by his refusal to do anything to help his teammates get better themselves. As a big man who can theoretically play on the perimeter and in the paint (again, theoretically), Marvin should be feasting in the pick-and-roll with his athleticism, finding his teammates when he's swarmed in the post, and backing off on offense when his shot isn't falling, but none of those concepts have come to fruition. He's featured in the pick-and-roll only 11% of the time, and while part of that obviously comes down to the coaching scheme, it's also partly due to his lack of interest in running the play correctly. When coming off of the pick, he either somehow manages to run straight toward the guard and clog the area or he drifts lifelessly toward the free throw line, as evidenced by his 0.83 points per possession in that situation, ranking in the 12th percentile. Peforming well in the pick-and-roll is all about combining skill with effort, and Marvin has displayed no desire to peform in either category.

When he's not meandering around the court pretending to set screens on offense, Bagley has yet to show any growth in his black hole nature once the ball gets in his hands. Among fellow big men, he places in the 84th percentile in usage (24.2%), second on the team, yet he also ranks in the 14th percentile in assist percentage (5.3%), the lowest among rotational players, and in the 8th percentile in usage to assist ratio at 0.22, also the lowest on the Kings. Those numbers are eerily similar to his rookie season, in which he posted a usage of 22.5% (86th percentile), an assist percentage of 5.9% (14th percentile), and an assist to usage ratio of 0.26 (3rd percentile). Desipite his compete inability to knock down the easiest of shots this year, Bagley continues to refuse to give up the rock once he gets ahold of it, a disturbing lack of progress from his first season in the league.

Of course, there is one area in which Marvin has been relatively successful this season: rebounding. His 10.8% offensive reboudning rate is good enough for the 82nd percentile among big men, and his defensive rebounding doesn't fall far behind, sitting in the 71st percentile. The issue with Bagley's rebounding is that it isn't particularly valuable when framed against his other flaws, his high-usage, low-efficiency offense, and his complete lack of impact on the defensive end. Hassan Whiteside is a great rebounder and he's making the league minimum for a reason. If that's all that Marvin can contribute, he essentially can't contribute anything at all.

Marvin Bagley's shot is going to start falling at some point, but his poor shooting has also been perhaps the least concerning portion of his unbelievably bad start to the 2020-2021 season. Whether or not he's scoring, Marvin needs to start making an impact in other ways, whether that's on the defensive end of the floor, setting up his own teammates for buckets, or in helping his guards in the screening game. Until he can conquer some or all of those areas, Marvin Bagley isn't going to make much of a difference when he walks out onto the hardwood, whether or not he's knocking down shots.

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Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
January 5, 2021 9:49 am

Truth be told, rookies and “developing players” have been sent to the G-League for putting up BETTER numbers than Bagley has posted.

He’s been downright awful. I don’t think I’ve ever stated a player is on a bad contract while still on his rookie deal, but here we have it. At this rate, he doesn’t even deserve the QO at the end of next season.

RikSmits
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January 5, 2021 9:57 am
Reply to  Adamsite

You have to wonder if at this point Monte is regretting picking up his option.
That’s crazy.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
January 5, 2021 10:03 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Remember when we all scoffed at PapaG getting his option picked up? That was for $2M. Bagley’s is for over $11M.

RikSmits
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January 5, 2021 10:14 am
Reply to  Adamsite

And PapaG was out a few weeks later….

beephop
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January 5, 2021 10:25 am
Reply to  Adamsite

And PapaG had spunk and sass! *cue the papaG head nod gif*

Kosta
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January 5, 2021 11:10 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Breaking: Kings receive offer of Papagiannis. Greek Basket League Team Panathinaikos requests Bagley plus Cash Considerations in exchange.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
eddie41
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January 5, 2021 11:12 am
Reply to  Kosta

Plus all the cardboard cutouts of his head that were handed out at his Sacramento arrival.

BestHyperboleEver
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January 5, 2021 11:16 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Giles QO was $3.9MM.

Kingsguru21
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January 5, 2021 2:24 pm

Bagley’s QO is 14.7 million. Ouch.

beephop
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January 5, 2021 10:25 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Took an expensive flyer on a previous #2 pick. Bagley does suck, but I don’t think picking up his option is going to hurt us real bad, considering how much it would have helped had it worked out.

Reluctantkingfan
January 5, 2021 10:35 am
Reply to  beephop

He’s not good, but his stats can disguise his poor play. Once he goes a month averaging a double/double I say you flip for a mid-late first rounder.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
January 5, 2021 10:48 am

Bagley is miles away from being worth a first rounder. I’d argue he doesn’t even fetch you a 2nd rounder due to his contract.

530-rain
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January 5, 2021 9:09 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

It will be tough, but let him pad his stats. There will be some GM and coach out there who think they can “fix” him.

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 11:00 am

I don’t know if front offices base their decisions on double doubles though.

unfairweather
January 5, 2021 11:26 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Probably to some degree. I mean not for prospect evaluation, but for flailing teams to sell a move (any move) to fans.

illuminance
January 5, 2021 12:05 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Whiteside posted 15.5 pts 13.5 reb last year, and he was lucky to get the mniinum. Mid/late 1st rounder? Don’t see it.

Timmy_13
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January 5, 2021 12:56 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

I know someone who bases it off of double jumps per game.

Storm
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January 5, 2021 12:37 pm

Probably our best case scenario at this point.

I still can’t believe I managed to hype myself into believing Bags was gonna be good in his rookie season, but that’s what happens I guess when you get a little bit of hope to gnaw at after not choosing Luka

Storm
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January 5, 2021 12:35 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

He shouldn’t. Marvin’s been bad but you have to give your #2 pick the time to prove that he isn’t worth keeping

Maybe I’m going to easy on Monte but I still really feel like this is the ghost of Vlades tenure here haunting us as opposed to a mistake by McNair

TheFifthMookie
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January 5, 2021 1:17 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I give Monte a pass on that, since it came up so quickly after his hiring.

Kingsguru21
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January 5, 2021 2:27 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Monte had no choice unless you wanted a repeat of the Harry Giles situation. It’s not like teams get until the draft to make these decisions. Rookie scale deals work under an entire set of rules onto itself. And normally you have to pick up the option by October 31st which is why so many teams do. They don’t want to leave money on the table and the cost is minimal.

rc50cal
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January 5, 2021 11:37 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I really tried to be optimistic this year about Bagley. He took 7 games to break me.

GFunkClassic
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January 5, 2021 3:11 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Seems hyperbolic. Any examples of these players with BETTER numbers that get sent to G League?

oshima9
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January 5, 2021 5:23 pm
Reply to  GFunkClassic

I’m admittedly guessing, but Kevan Looney probably did, if only because the Warriors sent him to the G League after being drafted. So he didn’t have a chance to put up horrible numbers like Bagley.

Otis
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January 5, 2021 4:44 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Oddly enough, I was thinking about that this morning – if the G League were up and running, would Bagley already be there?

Carl
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January 5, 2021 11:24 pm
Reply to  Otis

I don’t think there’s any circumstance where they send him to the G League. I mean, his dad is whining about minutes when he’s generally played abysmally, except for about a half of one game.

(I’m assuming that Bagley is unhappy, as though this is somehow the fault of the team. Walton is terrible, but he’s not turning average players into the worst players in the NBA.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Carl
DrJohn
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January 5, 2021 9:50 am

Great write up!

RikSmits
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January 5, 2021 9:50 am

This article leaves me with one big, burning question.

Who is no. 214?

Out of 214 qualified players, Marvin Bagley ranks 213th in defensive field goal percentage, 

RikSmits
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January 5, 2021 9:52 am
Reply to  BabyGiraffe

Thanks.

Want2win
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January 5, 2021 1:19 pm
Reply to  BabyGiraffe

And I believe those are games that Marvin did better in when he played against Paul

Klam
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January 5, 2021 9:52 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Section214

Kosta
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January 5, 2021 12:28 pm
Reply to  Klam

Section215 with the downvote!comment image

King4life
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January 5, 2021 9:52 am

I’ve been an advocate of trading him since last season. The more he plays, the lower his trade value becomes. Who’s giving up anything of value for a post player who can’t post, defend, pass, or make shots?

The team would’ve been better off trading him during the offseason since there would’ve been limited tape on his game and teams could’ve potentially talked themselves into trading for his potential. Now, I’d be happy to get him off the team for a 2nd round pick. He’s a sunk cost.

Also, fuck Vlade and unretire his jersey.

JackassCentral916
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January 5, 2021 9:56 am
Reply to  King4life

I especially agree with your last sentence.

Timmy_13
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January 5, 2021 12:59 pm

Seriously. I don’t know if I’m just salty as fuck because of this goddamn franchise passing on the next great thing in the NBA or I’m morally wrong but fuck Vlade. Retired as a Laker, passed to Horry, can’t say €œflop€ without mentioning Vlade, passed on Luka, and also just a fucking idiot. I don’t want an idiot hanging at Golden1.

unfairweather
January 5, 2021 10:08 am
Reply to  King4life

Reminder: When the Kings received Derrick Williams, the #2 overall-pick power forward in his third season with questionable utility — but elite athleticism and hopes of maybe delivering on potential in a new franchise — they sent out Luc Mbah a Moute.

That’s the value for teams looking for this type of longshot lottery ticket prospect: a middling veteran on a market-level contract..

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 10:11 am
Reply to  unfairweather

lol I just said in the post game thread that the Kings could probably do a Bagley for Al-Farouq Aminu trade if the Kings were willing to include a second rounder in the deal.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 5, 2021 10:13 am
Reply to  unfairweather

Truth. I’ve said it a few time now, but I think Bagley’s market value is getting a meddling vet, hopefully on an expiring deal. That’s about it.

If the Kings were to trade Bagley and maximize his value, he needs to be shipped with someone like Buddy as filler.

Jman1949
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January 5, 2021 10:36 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Wouldn’t mind getting a €meddling€ vet so long as he doesn’t have a meddling dad!

Gregoryl
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January 5, 2021 10:26 am
Reply to  unfairweather

Mbah a Moute played well for us.

rc50cal
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January 5, 2021 11:39 am
Reply to  unfairweather

I’ll take it!

eddie41
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January 5, 2021 10:19 am
Reply to  King4life

How about getting Giles back for him?

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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January 5, 2021 12:07 pm
Reply to  eddie41

So in. Harry was the right kind of young player. All determination and desire, no drama.

SMF-PDXConnection
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January 5, 2021 1:21 pm
Reply to  eddie41

Please don’t send Bagley to my backup team. I want to keep liking the Blazers.

Amonk81
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January 5, 2021 11:37 am
Reply to  King4life

Yes, yes, yes. Agree! I’ve been advocating getting rid of Bags forever. He cane in the league without a modern game and unfixable issues and he’s never going to change.

I have gotten scoffed at for pointing out the obvious…..

…..Bags was never a good NBA player, never will be, amd needs to be traded, even for nothing, because he makes the Kings worse.

And ditto-F Vlade. Get rid of Bags and Walton. Hope that Vivek stays out and the Kings can be good again.

oshima9
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January 5, 2021 5:24 pm
Reply to  King4life

If we can see it, GMs around the league can surely see it.

Falconsfury
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January 5, 2021 7:19 pm
Reply to  King4life

Also forgot bad at setting screens

154-98
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January 5, 2021 9:56 am

He has more assists than Luka has triple doubles this year.

Check mate, Vlade doubters.

/s

eddie41
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January 5, 2021 9:58 am

The Bagley bust is certainly a show! Although I do think his touch around the rim is good, I can’t argue with the other points. We’re paying good money for this show. Let’s watch it more. Encourage his father to tweet more. Get some popcorn and laugh your ass off.

andy_sims
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January 5, 2021 9:58 am

Damning stuff, to be sure.

I’ve heard talk of Charlotte sending Malik Monk and either a rookie-contract player or pick for Bagley, and I’d be inclined to take it. I don’t think Monk is ever going to be an effectively consistent NBA player, but maybe a change of scenery and culture helps both guys. Whatever the additional asset turns out to be would really be the main thing.

I still think Marvin can be a steady double-double guy, but the well is obviously poisoned here, and I’d be content to let his father play hemorrhoid to another team’s fans.

BestHyperboleEver
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January 5, 2021 10:22 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Bagley + Holmes for Zeller + Riller + 2021 1st.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 5, 2021 10:51 am

No way the Hornets are giving up a 2021 first rounder.

BestHyperboleEver
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January 5, 2021 10:55 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Looks like it may be late lottery. Heck, they may even make the playoffs. Make it protected. A mid-first to unload Zeller for a high value upgrade at C and a high upside prospect at a position of major need? Doesn’t sound so outlandish to me.

PhutureKings
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January 5, 2021 1:33 pm

I feel like I keep seeing people throwing Holmes into trade scenarios as if he’s not leading the team in PER and on arguably the best contract the Kings have on the books right now.

I’d try to keep that type of player.

BestHyperboleEver
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January 5, 2021 1:54 pm
Reply to  PhutureKings

You throw Holmes into trades specifically because of those things. There seems to be a big misconception around here at times that the only reason you would trade a player is that he’s bad. The problem with that is if you only trade bad players you only get bad returns. I like Holmes a lot, and his contract is a good-to-great value. But ultimately, on a theoretical good team, he’s a fringe starter/solid role player. At the moment, the Kings are made up almost entirely of those guys. So the question remains “how are the Kings going to acquire the high-end talent they need?” It certainly isn’t going to be through FA. So it’s going to have to be through trades and draft picks. Maximizing our return in trades and/or acquiring more draft assets means trading guys with value like Holmes.

Also, because the nature of Holmes’ deal, they’re going to have a tough time re-signing him at the end of the season.

So, because he has value and he’s unlikely to stay past this season, he’s a prime candidate for a trade.

NorCalKingsFan
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January 5, 2021 6:07 pm

Totally agree, would prefer to see him remain, but he is an asset for the reasons stated and could be a necessary piece for potential trades.

Also, because the nature of Holmes’ deal, they’re going to have a tough time re-signing him at the end of the season.

Question: What specifically about his contract prevents the Kings from putting out another offer?

Timmy_13
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January 5, 2021 6:35 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

He’s likely going to command more salary, thereby reducing his value as an asset.

Also lots of suitors for him. I agree that he and other €œgood€ expiring contracts would be prime trade baits.

CoreyBrewersD
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January 5, 2021 1:02 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

So MJ gets the real and the Dollar Tree LaVar to contend with! I see a reality show!!

LLcoolRay
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January 5, 2021 10:02 am

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I’ve not been a fan of Bagley’s game from the very beginning.
I’ve always worried about his effectiveness because of the fact that his entire game revolves around him being athletic – even his rebounding is mainly good because he outjumps other big men, not because he is good at boxing out.
And yet, despite being athletic, he gets beat on defense consistently because he is too slow to react.

I got shit for comparing his game to Thomas Robinson in that regard but man is he starting to look like it this season.

It’s still early days and I really hope he turns it around and makes me look stupid but all of this paired with his injury problems and his dad’s insanity don’t make me feel great. All this said, I still don’t think we should trade him unless there is some super surprising offer that comes along.

jlandweh
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January 5, 2021 10:06 am

My problems with Marvin Bagley extend WAY beyond his performance.

As a fan base, we would give him a tremendous amount of lee-way if he did some crucial things. He doesn’t hit the deck for a loose ball, he doesn’t celebrate with his teammates, he shows little to no passion about winning basketball in the crucial points. He plays selfishly and too many times tries to play hero ball. Finally, his father publically requested a trade after 2 good games and a few mediocre/poor games.

I think my sentiments are not singular. We wanted to like Marvin. He was our 2nd overall pick. He isn’t Luka, but we all wanted to see him succeed and prosper as a great running mate next to Fox and Haliburton. However; all of these factors show that he isn’t and doesn’t want to be. At this point, you almost have to trade Bagley or the tank will continue to roll…which isn’t exactly a bad thing.

Excited to see the plan McNair has. Lord knows, Sacramento is desperate for just competitive, fun basketball.

02kingsfan
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January 5, 2021 12:34 pm
Reply to  jlandweh

So sad that Bagley can’t even be poor man version of enes kanter….

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 1:20 pm
Reply to  02kingsfan

if you want to get real sad check out Bagley’s player comps on 538’s player projection tool.

Kosta
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January 5, 2021 1:42 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Stop the count!

PhutureKings
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January 5, 2021 1:44 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

If you want to be even more sad, look at Luka’s.

Kosta
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January 5, 2021 2:06 pm
Reply to  PhutureKings

4-point swing!

We turned it over, and the other team capitalized.

oshima9
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January 5, 2021 5:29 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Yes, a must read. I particularly enjoyed Drew Gooden.

RikSmits
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January 5, 2021 10:15 am

OT, something positive:

Last edited 1 year ago by RikSmits
RikSmits
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January 5, 2021 10:37 am
Reply to  RikSmits

How does this get a downvote? I am seriously puzzled.

A Poku or Kylian Hayes fan?
Will?

Last edited 1 year ago by RikSmits
Jman1949
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January 5, 2021 10:39 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Because they told us there would be no math?

Bbmuteman
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January 5, 2021 11:58 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Deni fan. 😉

ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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January 5, 2021 9:10 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Must be Team Bagley’s burner TKH account.

Marty
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January 5, 2021 10:56 am
Reply to  RikSmits

comment image

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 11:03 am
Reply to  Marty

the kings would have a pretty decent starting 5 if they went with Fox/Haliburton/JJ/Barnes/Holmes

BestHyperboleEver
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January 5, 2021 11:06 am
Reply to  RORDOG

I’m not sure any lineup with Justin James can be considered decent unless it has a couple top 10 guys playing next to him.

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 11:15 am

lol I just think it’s funny the kings have like 4 total players that you can classify as “not bad.” James got thrown in there because his face is like the bullseye on that graph. If Jeffries was healthy, I would’ve thrown him in there.

Also, can we start calling Marvin “Bagley Island?”

ForKingsandCountry
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January 5, 2021 11:57 am
Reply to  RORDOG

To be fair, I think this is what we all sort of expected when the year started right? That this team would be really bad with the exception of Fox, Richaun and maybe the rookie is pretty good? Personally this is about exactly what I would have expected. I do think getting Haliburton back in the lineup will make a huge difference though. I think his impact on wins and losses is far greater than anyone on the team outside of maybe Fox. I get he’s a rookie but he’s already been really freaking good.

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 12:51 pm

Yeah I guess I’m actually a little surprised that Bagley and Buddy have been this bad. They both tend to be a little streaky, but they’ve been so bad. Bagley seems to always start slow after a long layoff, and Buddy tends to run hot and cold, so I guess this isn’t that surprising in hindsight.

BestHyperboleEver
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January 5, 2021 1:13 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

They’ve been bad, but it’s still just 7 games.

andy_sims
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January 5, 2021 1:27 pm

A fact which is entirely relevant

Carl
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January 5, 2021 4:57 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Bagley’s offensive numbers will improve some to below average to possibly average. His defensive numbers will improve to bad from abysmal, and his passing numbers will continue to be terrible. Rebounding will be good.

Counting stats will impress people not paying attention. Hold me to it: This still isn’t a good basketball player.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carl
oshima9
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January 5, 2021 5:31 pm
Reply to  Carl

I see you are an optimist.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 5, 2021 11:06 am
Reply to  Marty

comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by Adamsite
RikSmits
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January 5, 2021 11:18 am
Reply to  Marty

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 11:28 am
Reply to  RikSmits

DiVincenzo and Doncic are hanging out together taunting us

Timmy_13
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January 5, 2021 1:46 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Looks like Monte had the right mind regarding Divincenzo. Damn

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 5, 2021 12:49 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

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Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 5, 2021 12:51 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

So there are like 3 to 4 player worse than Marvin right now…IN THE ENTIRE NBA.

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 12:55 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Boban is just happy to hang out with some friends
comment image

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 1:15 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

that’s actually generous. According to bball reference, Bagley has the second worst VORP (-.3) in the NBA. That’s crazy bad this early in the season. Someone good at math can probably get the exact number, but if Bagley maintained this level of awfulness and MPG over the course of a 72 game season, then he could single-handedly reduce the team’s win total by like ~8 wins.

ForKingsandCountry
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January 5, 2021 3:44 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

TANK COMMANDER

NorCalKingsFan
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January 5, 2021 6:16 pm

Staph Sgt. Bagley

ImJoeKing
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January 6, 2021 6:37 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Welp, at least we know where Bagley Island is located now. Just start on this chart and go south.

ZillersCat
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January 5, 2021 11:58 am
Reply to  Marty

That seems to be skewing Kings?

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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January 5, 2021 12:08 pm
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