FOR portions of the collegiate season, Marvin Bagley looked like the best player in the country. With a game style that has shades of Zach Randolph and Chris Bosh, Bagley has found himself sliding out of the top-3 in most mock drafts around the league. He might be hard done by to be left out of the conversation for the No. 1 pick and it could come back to bite a GM if they pass up on taking the Duke phenom.
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IN his freshman season as a Duke Blue Devil, Bagley emerged as the best player under Coach K. After just six games in the system, he burst on to the scene with back-to-back 30 point, 15 rebound performances. From that point on he continued to dominate opponents, making it quite clear that Bagley would only be doning a Blue Devils jersey for one season before he went to the L.
HE joined prestigious names like Tim Duncan and Antawn Jamison as one of only five ACC players to average 20 points and 10 rebounds through an entire season. For all the good he did Bagley still finds himself rated below some of his fellow draft peers for a few reasons. There is still some debate over whether the 6-11 stud will be a forward or a center in the pros. He is considered by many as a tweener who could pinch hit between both spots but doesn’t really dominate one specific position.
ANOTHER reason some GM’s, executives and analysts are lower on Bagley is because of his inconsistent jump shot. His percentages from the field (61.4%) and the 3-point line (39.7%) look great on paper, but he struggles to stroke it on a consistent basis. Bagley could often be seen spraying shots wide of the mark, missing badly in college. In a league that revolves around shooting the 3-ball, you can understand why there are doubts about the Duke fresher’s range.
DEVENSIVELY Bagley has his shortcomings too. Without a big shot-blocking presence and clocking in at around 235 pounds, a matchup against some of the league’s premier bigs could see him bullied and ultimately exposed next season. Still, with the exception of those few things (and an inability to hit free throws) Bagley looks like a bonafide star.
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HE seems to be carved from a similar mould as Amare Stoudamire, with a tad less athleticism. Once Bagley slots into NBA life what’s stopping him from working on his jump shot for hours on end so he can be THAT stretch big guy? He doesn’t have a broken jumper by any means and it seems like reps in the NBA, both at practice and during the games could allow him to turn into a perennial All-Star.
I think that Bagley is hard done by to seemingly be out of the conversation for being a viable option at No. 1. I personally have Doncic and Ayton ranked above him, but that doesn’t mean he should be completely overlooked. If he can be a serviceable defender and develop a jump shot, there is no ceiling for Bagley. The draft order will determine a lot, but don’t rule out Bagley becoming the best player in this class 20 years from now when it’s all said and done.
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