25 Sep 2020 5:21 PM +00:00

2018 NBA Draft Prospect Preview: Marvin Bagley

(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/Derick E. Hingle)

Marvin Bagley spent 2017/18 lighting up college basketball under the best coach in the game. So, what are the essentials to know about the Duke big man ahead of the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday?

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Bagley's strengths and weaknesses

Like fellow blue-chipper DeAndre Ayton, Bagley has an NBA-ready body and athleticism, which scouts have described like looking as if he is moving in slow motion. Despite his size (6’11", 234 pounds), he has a cat-like agility, and already has a polished offensive game with a bevy of post moves and dribble-drives. 

Already a pick-and-roll threat, Bagley is developing a pop game that could see him stretch the floor for his team in years to come. A good rebounder, Bagley is also good at defending the post and on the perimeter, and is deceptively effective in transition, starting the fast break several times at Duke University last season. 

Like his fellow Blue Devil alumni Brandon Ingram, Bagley will need to stack on the pounds before he can truly make a transcendent impact at the professional level, which is where most of his weaknesses lie at the present. A certainty to be bullied in his rookie season, Bagley will need to fight through the teething with his superior motor without tiring out down low.

Will he succeed or fail?


Bagley has one shining endorsement that no other player at the top of the NBA Draft has – a tick from Mike Krzyzewski. His work ethic is loved by the coaching legend, and outside school he has built a reputation as a high-character kid, which is far more important than many talent evaluators realise.

Bagley will be a developmental challenge. Teams will love to bring along each aspect of his game, but as of now, the 19-year-old has no bread and butter. He’s good at a lot, not great at anything, and if not handled properly there’s a chance he could be poor at everything at the next level.

Why should teams pick him?

Bagley’s talents could easily see him go number one, depending on how the Phoenix Suns project him versus his classmate Ayton. To that point, it’s hard to see anyone after his hometown club passing on him, but as usual, the NBA Draft is not necessarily a reflection of the player’s ability, moreso a team’s ability to grade them. The real question is: how many talents are there better than him, and in which order does each top-picking team have them?

In a class with three or four elite-level talents such as that of 2018, it could be the most miniscule and forgettable of traits separating each player. And with Bagley, each draft expert keeps coming back to one thing – desire. This kid has it, Coach K approves of it, and in a race between a Porsche, a Lamborghini and a Ferrari, it may be the driver who wants it most that wins.

Which NBA franchise could do with Bagley's services? Comment below!

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