Shortly after Duke’s elite eight loss to Kansas, star Freshman forward Marvin Bagley lll declared for the NBA draft. An expected top 3 pick, what will Bagley give an NBA team?
Marvin Bagley lll
Weight: 234 ibs.
Position: Power Forward/Center
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
After reclassifying and coming to Durham this season to play with the Blue Devils Bagley has been nothing short of what he was expected to be, putting up a 20 point double-double in the ACC. Joined by several other likely one-and-done players, Bagley took Duke to the elite eight before an overtime loss to Kansas. In the one year he had with the team Bagley proved the hype regarding his offensive game in high school was well warranted. The 19-year old took home ACC Player of the Year after putting up 21 and 11 for the Blue devils and flashing every part of his offensive arsenal throughout the season. He used the combination of his size and quickness down low well, getting around slower college defenders and getting most of his buckets right around the rim. Bagley also used his offensive rebounding ability to get Duke several second chance point opportunities, leading the team in rebounding by a long shot. Like Ayton, the big man shot the 3 ball in the mid-thirties this season, though not with much frequency. If he is played at the 4 in the NBA, developing that long range jumper will take him to a different level as a frontcourt player. Where Bagley clearly needs to work is on the defensive side of the ball. His wingspan at 7’0″ isn’t as impressive as others in the draft and some who are already in the league. His short length and lack of energy on D made for a lackluster freshman season on defense. To turn into an All-NBA player in the NBA, he must learn to play better low post D.
While the body types are different, Bagley’s offensive play style and talent remind me a bit of prime Al Jefferson. Bagley is clearly the more athletic player but as far as play down low on offense goes, it’s a fair comparison. From a more all-around perspective, Chris Bosh seems fitting. Bosh was never a star on defense and didn’t ever shine in the playmaking department on offense but he was a perennial All-Star in the prime of his career and had a similar offensive play style to Bagley. The craftiness around the rim and ability to hit the occasional jumper are traits common between the two. If Bagley can improve his jumper he could reach the level Bosh was once at and even beyond that.
Best Team Fit:
After a catastrophic tanking season this year, the Grizzlies will have one of the top picks in the draft. Whether or not Marc Gasol remains on the team in the offseason, Bagley would fit perfectly in Memphis. If Gasol stays, Bagley would be in a frontcourt with an experienced stretch center and could benefit from Gasol’s exceptional playmaking ability out of the post. With veteran guard Mike Conley coming back next year, Bagley would be playing with two experienced starters in Memphis where he can learn the ropes of the NBA and prepare to take over the reigns of the team after Gasol’s gone. The lack of talent on Memphis will give him the touches he needs to turn into a superstar quickly for the Grizzlies.