After a rocky first three NBA seasons with the Kings, and despite the team picking up his option, Marvin Bagley III probably didn't expect to be back in Sacramento for the 2021-22 season.
But the former No. 2 overall draft pick wasn't traded during the offseason, and on Monday, Bagley met with the media ahead of the start of training camp.
A big topic of conversation was his growth and offseason work with new Kings assistant coach Doug Christie.
"Since I've been back in Sac, I've been working with Doug and we've been talking about basketball a lot," Bagley told the media at Golden 1 Center. "We've been doing some amazing stuff. Been here early in the morning before we lift, so the work is being put in and I'm just excited to show what I can do."
Christie played in the NBA for 15 seasons and spent five of those years with the Kings. He went to the playoffs with Sacramento in each of his first four seasons with the team, and revered by the fan base.
After a few years of working as a broadcaster for NBC Sports California, Christie decided to take a job on coach Luke Walton's staff, and he has a lot of knowledge he can impart on someone like Bagley, who has the potential, but has battled injuries and inconsistencies since entering the NBA.
"I love it. I love basketball and to be with somebody who loves the game just as much and can talk the game through and teach me little things that I maybe didn't know before and just continue to talk through the game, that's something that I love," Bagley said about Christie. "And that's what he's been able to do for me since I've been here. He's been showing me a lot of different things on the court, different drills, small things like learning how to use my body, just stuff I can take with me and use to be able to be a better player."
Last season, in 43 games, Bagley averaged 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 25.9 minutes, but it remains to be seen how Bagley will fit in with the Kings this season.
Walton and the Kings organization remain committed to trying to get the most out of the Duke product.
"He had a career year last year," Walton told reporters Monday. "There's always going to be distractions. Nothing ever runs perfectly smooth, but that's part of it. That's how you grow. That's how a team grows. You go through different things. The progress he made last season before he got hurt, continued to work this summer and we come into camp. He's tall, he's versatile, he's skilled, athletic. These are all things we're excited to see. Again, this is where it's great to talk about all these things, but where it really comes in is watching it live in camp tomorrow. We're thrilled to have him here and excited about working with him."
Bagley isn't signed beyond this season, so he has a lot riding on how he performs this year. He must show that he is healthy and prove that the offseason work can translate to on-court success. If he can do that, both Bagley and the Kings will benefit this season.