Kings

Kings season in review: Why Marvin Bagley's early returns so promising

Kings season in review: Why Marvin Bagley's early returns so promising

When you select at the top of the NBA draft, the idea is to land a franchise-altering player. Time will tell if Marvin Bagley III can do that for the Kings, but the early returns are good.

Then-coach Dave Joerger chose to take a cautious approach to Bagley’s development, bringing the 20-year-old power forward off the bench for most of the season. That approach rustled some feathers behind the scenes, and might have played into Joerger’s eventual firing. 

The plan for year two is for Bagley to step into the starting lineup, where he could stick for the next decade. He has springs in his legs, an advanced offensive game and plenty of room for growth.

Offense

Stats (per game): 14.9 points, 1.0 assists, 7.6 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 50.4% FG, 31.3% 3PT, 25.3 min

Bagley is a budding offensive star. As a rookie, he scored 21 points and hauled in 11 rebounds per 36 minutes. Two knee injuries cost him 20 games on the season, and the team’s cautious approach to his recovery limited his minutes even further.

At 6-foot-11, 235 pounds, Bagley has the size and length to get to a spot on the floor and the athleticism to rise over almost any player in the league. He shot 69.1 percent at the rim, and 43.4 percent inside of 10 feet.

He can hit a perimeter jumper and his range will likely extend out behind the arc as he becomes more comfortable in the NBA. He shot 31.2 percent from 3-point range and took 96 attempts on the season.

Bagley continues to heavily favor his left hand in the post, but that didn't stop him in his first year in the pros. He averaged an impressive 4.2 free throw attempts per game as a rookie, but he needs to hit more than 69.1 percent of them next season.

There is so much to like about his offensive game, although he needs to improve his decision-making and move the ball to his teammates more often. Bagley tallied just 62 assists in 62 games on the season.

On top of his ability to finish around the rim and draw fouls, Bagley has one of the quickest second jumps in the game. It helped him grab an impressive 2.6 offensive rebounds per game, which should increase as he gets stronger and earns more court time.

Defense

Bagley made strides on the defensive end as the season progressed. He posted 1.4 blocks and 7.1 defensive rebounds per 36 minutes. Both of those numbers can improve over time.

He has the length and athleticism to defend both the four and the five. Bagley's opponents shot 1.4 percent worse from the field when he guarded them compared to their overall field-goal percentage, and 3.2 percent worse from inside six feet. 

The rookie struggled to defend the 3-point shots, however, as his opponents were 2.8 percent better from long range. But, that really isn’t bad for a rookie big playing against elite competition.

The red flags on Bagley coming out of Duke were on the defensive end. While he has plenty of potential and his man-to-man defense was better than expected, he needs a lot of work as a team defender.

There were plenty of times where he was slow to rotate or out of position completely on the defensive end. These are young-player issues. The talent is there, but he needs to spend time in the film room sifting through the many schemes he will face in the coming season.

[RELATED: Barnes should only improve after first season with Kings]

Overall

The plan was always to bring Bagley along slowly and eventually ramp him up, but the pair of injuries to his left knee put a hitch in that plan and almost served as breaks in the season. Just as he started to get the ball rolling, he missed time.

Bagley has All-Star potential and maybe more than that. He needs to come back stronger in year two, as well as work on his right hand and his shooting range. Time watching film is a must, as is building chemistry with his teammates on and off the floor.

General manager Vlade Divac and his staff might not have gone with the most popular pick, but they might have chosen the right one for the direction their franchise -- and the league -- are heading. Bagley runs like a gazelle, has incredible leaping ability and is a perfect long-term fit alongside speedster De’Aaron Fox.

It would be shocking if Bagley didn’t take a tremendous leap forward in his sophomore season, although new head coach Luke Walton has never had a player quite like the young Kings big. Bagley has the look of a perennial 20-point, 10-rebound player, and his potential is almost limitless.

Kings fan makes good on pledge, gets married in Harry Giles jersey

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USATSI

Kings fan makes good on pledge, gets married in Harry Giles jersey

Whenever Richard and Kate Ivanowski look at their wedding photos, they will think of Kings forward Harry Giles.

That's because Richard got married to Kate this weekend while wearing a Giles jersey under his suit jacket.

Why did Richard wear a Giles jersey during his wedding? This all came about in early June when he asked his then-fiancé if he could wear a Kings jersey during their wedding. She said yes, but only if he got 10,000 retweets on Twitter.

It took about one day for Richard to hit the 10,000 retweet mark.

So, this weekend, Richard and Kate got hitched, with a Giles jersey visible in their photos.

Giles himself was pretty pumped about it.

[RELATED: How Giles helped Ivanowski's plan wedding]

So a few decades from now, when Richard and Kate are showing their wedding photos to their grandkids, they'll have to explain who Giles is and why his jersey was a part of their wedding.

That will be a unique story to tell.

Source: Kings unlikely to pursue free agent center Nikola Vucevic

Source: Kings unlikely to pursue free agent center Nikola Vucevic

SACRAMENTO -- The rumor mill is only going to heat up as we approach the start of the NBA’s free agency period on June 30. With $35-38 million to spend, the Sacramento Kings are going to get mentioned plenty, and often the reports will be inaccurate.

Vlade Divac and his team have placed an emphasis on improving the center position, but according to a league source, while the team holds Nikola Vucevic in high regard, the team is not expected to chase the Orlando Magic big man in free agency, despite reports to the contrary.

After posting 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 blocks per game this season, Vucevic is primed to sign a mega contract, whether it’s with the Orlando or elsewhere.

The 28-year-old is skilled and made his first All-Star team this season, but he’s not a great fit for the Kings’ uptempo style of play.

There are plenty of other centers on the market this summer. Dewayne Dedmon and DeAndre Jordan are both unrestricted free agents and might work as short-term fixes. Jordan is on the wrong side of 30 and Dedmon isn’t far behind, but both are solid rebounders and defenders.

Memphis Grizzlies big man Jonas Valanciunas just opted out of his contract for this season and is an unrestricted free agent. At 27-year-old he fits the age arc of the Kings’ roster, but again, isn’t exactly built for an uptempo style.

The team hasn’t shut the door on a return of the incumbent starter, Willie Cauley-Stein. He is long and athletic, but his inconsistent play continues to concern the Kings.

[RELATED: How Lakers' Davis trade impacts Kings]

Sacramento is likely to extend the 25-year-old a qualifying offer before the beginning of free agency, locking him into restricted free agent status. They will wait to see how the market materializes for the former No. 6 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft before making a final decision on his future with the team.