Bulls fans have heard the phrase more than a few times,: “Secure the Bagley.” As in, secure Duke freshman forward Marvin Bagley III. The 18-year-old Bagley might be the top player available in a loaded 2018 draft. At 6-foot-11, 234 pounds, the lanky lefty is already drawing comparisons to former NBA All-Star Chris Bosh because of his smooth scoring ability in the post and from the perimeter.
Bagley’s instant success at the Division I level is even more impressive considering he was originally supposed to be a high school senior before getting reclassified to become eligible at Duke. Going up against one of the most demanding schedules in college basketball, Bagley is averaging more than 22 points and 11 rebounds per game, while shooting 62.6 percent from the field. He’s amazingly quick off his feet for a big man, capable of putting back offensive rebounds with multiple jumps or rejecting shots on the defensive end. And the scary thing is, he’s probably not done growing!
Bagley might not have Bosh’s 3-point shooting range just yet, but he’s making a respectable 34 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. And remember, Bosh was primarily a low post player during his early years in Toronto. NBA scouts are confident Bagley will develop into a consistent outside threat, making his versatile low post game even tougher to defend.
How does Bagley fit for the Bulls? Well, a player as talented as Bagley would be a great fit on all 30 NBA teams. His height and skill set can make him a weapon on the defensive end, protecting the rim as a post defender while using his speed and quickness to switch out on perimeter players. And that same skill set will make him a nightmare cover for opposing power forwards and centers. Yes, the Bulls have depth at the power forward spot, but there’s no reason why Bagley and Lauri Markkanen couldn’t play effectively together. Both are tall enough to defend in the post and both have the shooting range to knock down triples. In today’s position-less NBA, having two versatile athletes in the 7-foot range could be a pretty formidable weapon.
Problem is, unless the Bulls win one of the top picks in the draft lottery, Bagley will be long gone. At the midway point of the college season, Bagley, Deandre Ayton and International guard Luka Doncic are getting the most attention as possible No. 1 overall picks in June. Team needs could play a role in which player eventually goes first, but one of the franchises lucky enough to earn a top-3 pick will be able to tell their fans they have “secured the Bagley.”