Marvin Bagley III was not part of the Kings’ rotation under Luke Walton, but has seen an uptick in production since Alvin Gentry took over as interim head coach on Nov. 21.
Bagley appeared in just four games, never seeing more than 18 minutes of action, before Walton was dismissed by general manager Monte McNair.
Since Gentry assumed the role, Bagley has played in every game he was active for, seeing fewer than 18 minutes just once. Bagley did not suit up for the blowout home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and the win in LA against the Clippers due to a non-COVID illness.
Bagley has been plagued by injuries and off-court drama throughout his four seasons in Sacramento, never playing a full slate of games for the Kings.
Gentry was complimentary of Bagley’s consistency after the Kings’ win over the Clippers on Saturday night. The forward put up his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.
“He’s been pretty consistent since he’s been able to get back out onto the floor,” Gentry said of Bagley. “I think he’s done a good job defensively of getting down and guarding perimeter players, we had him switched out on [Luke] Kennard a couple of times, I thought he did a great job with that, but the big thing is that he’s come up with some big rebounds for us and been able to do some things to help us on the board.”
Bagley sounded relieved to be seeing steady minutes after such a strange start to the season.
"I’m just playing basketball, man,” Bagley said (H/T Sactown Royalty). “I’m comfortable out there just playing the game, just having fun, just enjoying the game of basketball. That’s [been] my main thing ever since I started playing: The love and the joy and not letting things or people take that joy from me. That’s always been my thing.
“To kind of be out there again and playing and smiling and helping my teammates and cheering my teammates on, that’s what it’s all about for me -- everything else will come. That’s how I’ve always played the game and that’s how I will continue to play the game."
The Kings also have had injuries in the frontcourt of late, as Richaun Holmes, Harrison Barnes and Moe Harkless all have had multi-game absences in the past few weeks.
Bagley also has demanded a trade in the past, and his agent voiced significant frustration at the beginning of the season with the Kings’ decision to leave him out of the rotation.
He still could be a trade candidate, and it would be wise for the Kings to allow him additional minutes in order for him to raise his value to other teams.
Regardless, it appears Bagley has earned himself an increased role and is on the good side of his new head coach.
If the former No. 2 overall pick can keep this up, we could see that role grow even further as the season goes on.