Before the season we had huge hopes for Marvin Bagley III. We wondered if he’d lead the team in scoring, if he could average 20 and 10, if he would be the second best or even the best player on the Sacramento Kings. Expectations have cooled following an uninspiring preseason, a bad season opener, and a fractured thumb that’s sidelined Bagley the last three weeks. But now, Bagley is nearing his return. According to James Ham there’s no definitive timeline yet, but sometime in the next two weeks could be likely.
Marvin Bagley said there is still no timetable for his return, but he's putting in work while recovering from a broken right thumb. Wednesday will be the 3 week mark of a 4-6 week injury window. Sounds like he's still 2 weeks out.— James Ham (@James_HamNBCS) November 10, 2019
The Kings have been woefully thin in the front court the last couple weeks. Nemanja Bjelica has stepped up admirably, Richaun Holmes has earned a starting spot next to him, and Dewayne Dedmon has struggled his way to the bench. Harry Giles is back, but it remains to be seen how many minutes he’ll see. But with Giles back and Bagley returning, it should return the team to the depth we expected from the Kings. But with the return of depth comes the return of rotation questions.
Will the Kings immediately insert Bagley into the starting lineup, or will Walton bring him back off the bench for a game or two? If Bagley returns as a starter, is it Holmes or Bjelly moving to the bench? Neither player has earned a demotion. Bagley’s skill set is more similar to that of Holmes, at least on the offensive end. But a lineup with Bagley and Bjelica would struggle to defend opposing bigs. If you keep Holmes and bench Bjelica, the Kings could experience the same spacing issues they had last season with Dave Joerger attempted to play Bagley next to Willie Cauley-Stein.
Dedmon was signed specifically because he would theoretically pair well with Bagley. Despite his early struggles, his spacing and rim protection should pair well with Bagley both offensively and defensively, but can the coaching staff justify benching both Holmes and Bjelica based on how players work on paper?
It’s a challenge for the coaching staff, but one I imagine the coaching staff will welcome. If Bagley can get back on the floor and remind us why we had such high hopes for him, the Kings have plenty of options to play next to him. They’ll just need to learn and adapt the rotations quickly.