The Kings received some good news Thursday when Marvin Bagley announced that he can’t remember the last time he felt pain in his left foot, which caused him to miss the last 21 games of the season before the shutdown.
Bagley says he is feeling “100%” and “ready to go” for the NBA restart this month in Orlando. He told media on a Zoom call Thursday that he has been working out consistently during the hiatus, now that he is uninhibited by the injury, controlling what he can to put himself in position to contribute for Sacramento when the season returns.
In order to play the five, Bagley says he has bulked up to 240 lbs to be able to match up with physical centers while maintaining his speed. His priority was to “be able to bump and set screens and take screens, take a lot more contact.” That, along with expanding his shooting range, were his primary objectives during the time off.
“I’ve been focusing on my shot a lot, along with the other parts of my game,” Bagley said. “My shot and getting stronger was the main thing that I wanted to focus on and work on.”
Bagley has shot 28.8% from 3-point range in his NBA career and 70.3% from the foul line. He’s been a decent shooter from midrange at 40.9% over the past two years, which bodes well for his improvement both on free throws and beyond the arc.
Even as Bagley works on his rehab and developing his skill set, there is no guarantee that there will be available minutes for him in Orlando. The Kings have a frontcourt rotation that already includes Richaun Holmes, Alex Len, Harry Giles, and Nemanja Bjelica. There’s also potential for Harrison Barnes to play at the four, a lineup that has outscored opponents by 2.3 points per 100 possessions. As a result, even Bagley is unsure of what his role will be.
“I haven’t talked to Luke at all about that, I feel like it’s not up to me, whatever he’s gonna do is out of my control,” Bagley said. “All I know is I’m ready to go, I feel ready, and I’m going to continue to control being ready and coming in, working my butt off, and just making sure whatever happens I’m ready for it. I have no expectations. I’m gonna go in ready to work, whatever happens I’m ready for it, so that’s my mindset moving forward.”
The Kings have a collective goal over these next eight games, and potentially beyond, that supersedes Bagley’s individual growth, and he’s saying the right things by acknowledging that the team comes first. The sophomore made it clear that making the playoffs will come down to how well the team comes together, not how well be plays.
The team’s future will hinge on Bagley’s growth, but the Kings aren’t there yet. They’re focused on this task in front of them, and Bagley is on the same wavelength.
“I think it’s more important for everybody to be on the same page as a whole,” Bagley said. “I dont think it’s about me, I dont think it’s about any other individual on the team, it’s about how we come together.”
It would be ideal if the 2018 no. 2 pick figured out a way to factor into that process now, but at least he’s accepted whatever role comes his way.