The names largely associated with the Sacramento Kings in recent weeks regarding the 2018 NBA Draft were Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III and Michael Porter Jr. The Kings ultimately went with Bagley on Thursday.
Many Kings fans were hoping the team would take Doncic.
The Slovenian star had become less of a consensus second pick among draft experts after the Draft Lottery, but many still considered him to be a reasonable and perhaps the best option for the Kings. Bagley, however, has widely been considered talented enough to go at the second pick, and his scoring, rebounding and athleticism ultimately convinced the Kings brass. Kings General Manager, Vlade Divac was asked about his decision to go with Bagley instead of Doncic.
“Marvin for us is better fit, better player and great talent. So, it was an easy choice for us,” Divac said.
Divac said it was a deep draft and that the team was focusing on three or four players all year long. Lately, they had zeroed in on Bagley, the Duke standout, who averaged 21 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists last season. Bagley visited Sacramento earlier this month, for a pre-draft workout and Divac referred to the workout as a “great day.” He said Bagley is a guy who is “hungry for basketball,” a hard worker and is coachable. When pressed again on Doncic v. Bagley, Divac referenced Bagley’s overall talent.
“A guy who is very talented, in my mind elite talent in this draft, and it was a really easy choice for me,” Divac said.
Bagley now becomes the sixth big on the Kings roster. Divac said his bigs (though he mainly mentioned Willie Cauley-Stein) can play multiple positions. That also includes the possibility of Bagley playing the small forward position, which Divac sounded confident about. Divac also believes his 19-year-old prospect has the ability to stretch the floor with his shooting.
It sounds like the Kings believe Bagley fits the mold of the type of culture they want to have in Sacramento. Divac defined the culture the Kings are building as: working hard, improve, have fun, play smart and fast.
“That’s what our future is,” Divac said.