It’s not unrealistic to think Marvin Bagley will be a better NBA player than Luka Doncic.
But Sacramento’s path to this conclusion is as questionable as … well, just about every move they’ve made in the past decade or so.
Jason Jones, a Kings beat reporter for the Sacramento Bee, tweeted this hours before the 2018 NBA Draft:
Doncic makes sense but there are concerns about taking the ball out of Fox’s hands…don’t shoot the messenger ♂️
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) June 21, 2018
It’s unclear if Jones meant those concerns were held among the Kings front office. But he’s extremely embedded in the franchise and also mentioned the sentiment in two articles leading up to draft night.
Hopefully it’s just the opinion of a misguided reporter, and not something he got from the team.
Because it’s remarkably dumb.
Didn’t we just watch three teams make it to the conference finals by deploying multiple ball-handling playmakers as often as possible? The one team to make it that far with just one lead ball-handler in their best lineup had LeBron, and they got significantly worse when they lost Kyrie Irving.
Furthermore, Doncic succeeds with high-usage point guards all the time. He just won the EuroLeague and ACB championships while playing alongside Facundo Campazzo, one of Europe’s best point guards.
In 2017, Doncic and Heat point guard Goran Dragic led Slovenia to EuroBasket gold as a playmaking tandem.
And even if you wanted fewer ball-handlers (the idea gets sillier every time I’m forced to confront it), Fox wasn’t nearly good enough as a rookie or a prospect to preclude a team from drafting at his position.
It’s hard to get multiple creators on the floor, because such a player is typically smaller, making it harder to hold up on defense.
Which is why getting one who’s a beefy 6’8″ and can play forward should be such a coup.
Kings GM Vlade Divac thinks Bagley — who’s probably at his best at center — will play some small forward for Sacramento.
“He can play small forward. He can play 3, 4, and 5. That’s Marvin’s unique talent. He can play multiple positions,” Divac said after the draft.
In this era of smaller, more-skilled lineups, the last guy who thought his supremely talented big man should slide down to small forward was basketball genius Kurt Rambis. Which should tell you all you need to know about Divac’s take here.
Admit it, Vlade, you drafted Bagley because he was the only guy who wanted you.