Sacramento Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III was asked who he thought would be league MVP this season. He could have taken some of the usual suspects like LeBron James or Steph Curry or James Harden. He could have gone wild card and picked a new candidate like Giannis Antetokounmpo or Joel Embiid. He could have thrown some love at one of his own teammates, even. Instead Marvin predicted...himself. To be the NBA MVP. In 2018-19.
Marvin Bagley III doesn't lack confidence as a rookie. pic.twitter.com/uuJzcvn8lZ— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 16, 2018
I’m not going to get worked up about this. He’s got self confidence and wants to aim high. But if Bagley won NBA MVP this season he would join Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld as the only rookies to ever win MVP. Given his struggles in Summer League (well documented by The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks today) and the adjustments his game is going to require in the NBA, my only concern is that Bagley is putting unnecessary pressure on himself.
It would be awesome if Bagley came into the league and absolutely turned the NBA on its head, but even the most optimistic Kings fans aren’t expecting such an immediate impact. Most rookies struggle a little. Especially big men. And that’s ok. For all the complaining I’ve done about the front office’s decision to pick Bagley, his career and his success as a pick isn’t determined by how he plays in his rookie season.
But perhaps this explains the pick. Bagley is confident, motivated, driven. Those are great qualities, and perhaps the Kings simply fell in love with that. Or maybe a rookie predicting himself as MVP fits the team culture of saying stupid things that Kings fans will need to endure as punchlines for years to come.
I hope Bagley’s right. Akis said it best on Twitter:
I feel like by now we as Kings fans deserve a batshit crazy year like Marvin Bagley winning MVP in his rookie year. https://t.co/0zwURCiXjq— Aykis16 (@Aykis16) August 16, 2018
If anyone deserves such an insanely positive thing to happen, it’s Kings fans.