Bagley is motivated to win.
After a tumultuous offseason chalked full of trade rumors and social media drama, Marvin Bagley III is back in Sacramento, gearing up for his fourth season with the Kings. Bagley spoke to media on Monday about where his head is at entering the 2021-22 season.
Bagley had a really positive tone when speaking to the media on Monday, repeatedly iterating that he was committed to the team and continuing to mention his motivation to finally win and help the Kings snap their 15-year playoff drought.
“I’m going to do whatever the team needs,” Bagley said. “That’s the biggest thing. We all want to win and if everybody can continue to put their gifts and talents together in a way that we can win together, that’s the biggest thing for us this season.”
Another relevant detail from Bagley was the fact that he said he has been working out with new Kings assistant coach Doug Christie a ton on his game. Christie is a pretty beloved guy by the organization, so it will be interesting to see whether his addition to the coaching staff can help Bagley improve.
Bagley’s third season was a lot like his first two with the Kings. Bagley was a pretty score-first guy that was mainly targeted on defense when he was on the court, and every time he seemed to get in something resembling a rhythm, he’d get injured and be sidelined for multiple weeks.
Despite his numbers last season closely resembling most of his numbers from his first two seasons in the league, Luke Walton was a bit more bullish on what Bagley did in his third season.
“Marvin, he had a career year last year,” Walton said. “There’s always going to be distractions — nothing ever runs perfectly smooth— but that’s part of it; that’s how you grow and that’s how a team grows; you go through different things.”
Bagley improved as a three-point shooter last season but remained pretty static in every other aspect of his game last season, so it’s hard to exactly see what Walton means.
Walton was ultimately complimentary of Bagley and his attitude coming into training camp, but at a certain point offseason optimism and praise has to turn into on-court results.
Even though his career has been defined by his draft position, it’s clear that Bagley is blessed with talent. For him to have a successful season with the Kings, it would require him truly buy into playing a winning brand of basketball and committing himself to improve a ton on defense.
At just 22, Bagley’s book as an NBA is far from written, but whether that career awakening happens in Sacramento is a whole different question.