After an impressive rookie season, big man Marvin Bagley is ready show the league just how good he can be in year two.
The 20-year-old power forward spent the summer working with development coach Rico Hines and he’s hit the weight room hard in preparation for the upcoming schedule. He's up to 240 pounds, six pounds heavier than his listed playing weight from a year ago.
Last season Bagley came off the bench for head coach Dave Joerger, starting just four out of 62 games on the season. While no official announcement has been made by new head coach Luke Walton -- it’s likely that Bagley will move into the starting lineup -- where they expect him to stay for a long time.
“All I can do is be ready, control what I can control, and trust that all the work that I’ve put in coming into the season,” Bagley told NBC Sports California about the possibility of starting this season. “I’m ready for whatever. It’ll be exciting if I get that chance. If I don’t, oh well, we’ll work with what we have. We’ll see what happens.”
The Kings have a deep roster. Last year’s starter, Nemanja Bjelica, played extremely well for the team. His ability to stretch the floor opened up running lanes for point guard De’Aaron Fox.
To keep the spacing, general manager Vlade Divac added veteran center Dewayne Dedmon on a three-year, $40 million contract. Dedmon knocked down a stellar 38.2 percent from 3-point range last season in Atlanta, which should not only give Fox room to drive but also open up space for Bagley to work in the post.
Dedmon is likely penciled in as a starter, but Walton will need Bagley to evolve his game to include the three-pointer if the Kings hope to keep the floor open when Harry Giles or Richaun Holmes come into the game.
Bagley showed promise from the perimeter in his rookie season, shooting 31.3 percent from distance on 1.5 attempts per game. He has good form from behind the 3-point line and should improve as a shooter as he develops his game.
“I’ve been shooting a lot of shots this past summer,” Bagley said. “You can expect to see a lot more threes, jumpers, but still being able to play my game, which is being aggressive, attacking and trying to draw fouls and getting to the line. It’s going to be an all-around game coming into the season and I can’t wait.”
In addition to getting up more shots from the perimeter, Bagley is going to have plenty of opportunities to crash the glass, especially with Dedmon playing on the perimeter on the offensive end.
As a rookie, the former Duke star averaged 7.6 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game. That equates to 10.8 boards per 36 minutes, but the Kings need more.
“I love getting the ball, rebounding, going to get it when nobody else feels like it,” Bagley said. “I’m going to keep continuing to grow and just build on it.”
Sacramento was hoping it drafted a star by selecting Bagley No. 2 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. He showed incredible potential in his rookie season and it’s likely he’ll be asked to play a much bigger role as a sophomore.
There are a lot of new faces on the roster. Adjustments will have to be made from everyone. The Kings are as deep as they have been in years, but Bagley is one of the cornerstones of what they are building.
“I’m excited to see what we can do with the team we have, how we play together,” Bagley said. “I think we’re going to be alright.”