SACRAMENTO -- Bigger, stronger and smarter.
Coming off an impressive rookie season, Marvin Bagley is back in town to participate in the Kings’ minicamp building up to Monday’s California Classic.
The 20-year-old power forward gained about five pounds so far this summer, as he focuses on added weight and muscle to his lanky 6-foot-11 frame. It will take a few years for the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft to really pack on the pounds.
“This summer, it has been a priority to get a little stronger,” Bagley said. “Not too strong to where I can’t run and jump and play how I play, but put some weight on and just working on every aspect of my game and trying to be ready, man. It’s going to be an exciting season.”
Bagley already is learning the lingo of the Kings’ new coaching staff, and the game is starting to slow down for him in Year 2. He’s been called a sponge for information by multiple coaches, but taking some time away and processing the information from his rookie season have helped Bagley find his bearings on the court.
“I feel new — I feel like a new person,” Bagley said. “I remember coming in last season and all of this was so confusing to me, I was just out there playing, trying to play hard. But now, being through a whole year, experiencing different things on the court, learning different things last year, everything now is kind of slower and I understand it.”
Despite his young age, Bagley has been able to help explain some of what the coaching staff is trying to implement to his summer league teammates, which is a huge step forward in his progression.
Bagley, along with Frank Mason and Caleb Swanigan, have been used on the court as tools, as the Kings’ staff works to instill makeshift offensive and defensive schemes for the upcoming tournaments.
“It’s huge. Any time we’re doing demonstrations, you go through the guys who have been through it out there, so they can demonstrate,” summer league coach Jesse Mermuys said. “They already have a feel, they already have a working knowledge of NBA terminology. For a lot of these guys, they’re hearing a totally different language for the first time.”
It’s a natural progression for young players. Rookie campaigns always are filled with chaos and miscues. In Year 2, players usually settle in and begin to understand more of the nuances of the game.
In addition to his busy offseason program, Bagley has recovered after his well-publicized rap battle with Damian Lillard on the night of the NBA draft.
“It’s all love, man, it’s just rappin’,” Bagley said of his battle with the Trail Blazers star. “I respect Dame. I like his music. He’s doing everything that I’m trying to do. He's got a shoe, he's in the league and he's been an All-Star, he makes music. Everything I'm trying to do, he's done.”
Bagley said the exchange was all in fun and that he was happy to show off his skills as a rapper off the court. Both he and Lillard currently are working on albums, which is a good way to pass the time during the long offseason.
Expect Bagley to play in the first game or two of the California Classic early this week, but he will not travel with the team to Las Vegas for the second portion of the summer league schedule.
Following this week, it will be back to the grind for Bagley, as he prepares for Team USA Select Team camp in August and Kings training camp in late September.