Let’s check in on the No. 2 pick of the 2018 draft.
As drama swirls in Phoenix around the absence of a new deal for Deandre Ayton, the player selected one pick after him apparently isn’t even slated to play this week, much less be the subject of a max extension conversation.
On the eve of the Sacramento Kings’ season opener, Marvin Bagley’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, sent a scathing, all-caps statement via tweet blasting the franchise as “a case study in mismanagement” while claiming that the team told Bagley he’s not in the team’s opening-night rotation.
“Sacramento has informed Marvin Bagley he is not in the opening night rotation, which is completely baffling,” Schwartz’s tweet from the Excel Sports Management account reads. “It’s clear they have no plans for him in the future, and yet, passed on potential deals at last year’s deadline and this summer based on ‘value.’
“Instead they chose to bring him back but not play him, a move completely contradictory to their ‘value’ argument. This is a case study in mismanagement by the Kings organization.”
The Kings open their season against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. If Schwartz is to be believed, don’t expect Bagley to play any meaningful minutes in the game. It adds up to a stark fall for a player hyped as an elite NBA prospect before setting foot on Duke’s campus as a freshman in 2017.
Marvin Bagley’s legacy — so far — as No. 2 pick
Bagley rode his success in his single season at Duke to the No. 2 pick of the 2018 draft — one selection after Ayton and one ahead of Luka Doncic. With Bagley benched (apparently) and Doncic listed as the betting favorite at BetMGM to win NBA MVP, the selection is looking increasingly likely to join the ranks of the 1984 Sam Bowie pick as one of the worst draft decisions in NBA history.
On that front, Schwartz certainly has a case for his “mismanagement” critique. He also might have a point on the current state of affairs in Sacramento. If the Kings don’t intend to play Bagley, why not trade him and try to salvage some value from that No. 2 pick?
While Bagley hasn’t lived up to expectations, he’s a serviceable NBA player. In three seasons, he’s averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 50% from the field. There’s certainly room on NBA rosters for a 6-foot-11 athlete who’s a capable scorer and rebounder. Bagley’s team clearly prefers that the roster reside anywhere but Sacramento.
Schwartz’s statement, of course, is to be taken with a grain of salt. There’s an agenda here to get Bagley out of Sacramento, and the face value of his claims should be met with skepticism.
But one thing is certain. The Kings are once again starting a season amid an air of ineptitude.