It’s time for Sacramento to bag Marvin Bagley III, if the latest report about him refusing to check into Sunday’s game against Phoenix is true.
When a player comes into any professional sports league with high expectations due to their draft position, it can become overwhelming quickly, and keep that player from becoming what the team once thought they could. With Marvin Bagley III and the Sacramento Kings, it seems like this may be only part of the problem. Add some of the self-inflicted damage on the part of Bagley and his supporters, and we can see why things have not panned out for him so far in the NBA.
And so, it’s been reported that Bagley refused to check into Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns when called upon in the second half by head coach Luke Walton. Hopefully, this isn’t the case, and it’s merely a blown-out-of-proportion misunderstanding… but we all know where there’s smoke; fire is rarely far behind.
It feels like there has been bad blood between Bagley and the franchise for the better part of his tenure in Sacramento. Whether it be nagging injuries, his father blasting folks on social media, or his agent putting the Kings on blast, the distractions have outweighed Bagley’s production on the court.
But Bagley hasn’t been that bad when he’s played. Missing a lot of time with injuries over his first few years hasn’t helped his case. Last season he played in just 43 of 72 games, and the year before (the pandemic interrupted season) only 13. Bagley averaged 14ppg in both of those seasons and over seven boards each game. So, he’s far from a bust but has yet to live up to being drafted No. 2 overall.
One component on the court is Bagley’s draft class, and how well some of his contemporaries have done over the same amount of time. DeAndre Ayton was selected No. 1 in the 2018 draft. After his slow start in Phoenix, Ayton improved the past two seasons to become a vital part of the Suns’ organization. And we all know what Luka Doncic has done during his short time in the NBA. We can even add Trae Young to the conversation as the fifth pick in that draft, and how he’s been the biggest reason for the resurrection of the Atlanta Hawks.
For Bagley’s sake, hopefully, this latest report isn’t accurate. If he indeed declined to go into a game, that is one of the worst looks you can have on the court/field for a professional athlete in any sport. You might as well say I quit and walk out. Other players are going to look at it that way if it is true. Players want to go into games knowing they all have each other’s backs. If a player says, “Nah, I’m good,” it’s hard to trust them from that point.
Sacramento needs to go ahead and just end this movie before it drifts too far into a sea of ridiculousness like the movie Gone Girl. I’m sure the Kings are holding out hope that one day Bagley will pan out and turn into the 20-10 guy they envisioned when they drafted him. And hey, that could still happen. It just doesn’t seem likely that it’ll be while Bagley is wearing purple and black.