NBA

Marvin Bagley III Feeling Healthy And Ready To Go For Regular Season

Dec 9, 2020, 5:42 PM | Updated: 5:53 pm

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The 21-year-old is feeling healthy and motivated to put a solid season together in 2020-21

Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III made his first media appearance at training camp since being cleared of COVID-19–an update he shared while addressing the media on Wednesday afternoon.

Bagley, who was noticeably absent from the first week of workouts, had been rumored to have contracted the virus that is currently affecting countless people worldwide.

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Due to The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Kings were not permitted to release the identity of those who had tested positive for COVID-19.

It was largely speculated that Bagley had tested positive for the virus due to his absence from camp, something that the Kings forward confirmed on Wednesday.

“I caught COVID while I was out in Arizona a couple of days before I was supposed to be out here,” Bagley told the media. “I’m getting through the COVID protocols and and I’ll be back on the court very soon, I’m excited about that.”

Bagley, who only appeared in 13 games last season due to a combination of hand and foot injuries that kept him sidelined, says he is feeling the best he has ever felt. He also shared that he has a chip on his shoulder towards what happened last year–something that should motivate the former Duke Blue Devil this season.

“I feel great, I feel the best I have ever felt in awhile. I took some time this offseason to put more time into my body, just do everything that I could control to make sure that I’m on the court and available for my team. Last season, I’m putting that behind me. I really don’t care to talk about it anymore. I’m excited to be with this new group of guys and I’m excited to build on what we have been doing so far.”

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“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder–as every year–but it’s even more this year.”

Sacramento could use a breakout year from Bagley, their youngest big in their front court at just 21-years-old. The number-two pick from the 2018 draft has shown massive potential in his limited appearances, averaging 14.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game while shooting 49-percent from the field over 75 appearances.

Along with the continued progression from budding star guard De’Aaron Fox and recently drafted combo-guard Tyrese Haliburton getting his first taste of NBA action, Bagley’s growth will be a huge focal point during an overall unpredictable Kings season.

Bogdan Boganovic, Harry Giles III, Kent Bazemore and Alex Len–staples from last season’s rotation–are out.

Hassan Whiteside, Glenn Robinson III, Haliburton and Bagley are in.

It will be interesting to see how Walton utilizes Bagley, a 6’11 athlete who can split time at the power-forward and center positions. In today’s NBA of course, stretching the floor is a huge component of winning games.

Bagley has been working on stretching the floor, where he held an 18-percent average from beyond the three-point arc last season.

“I’ve been doing everything, just watching film on playmaking. Shooting was one of my biggest things that I’ve been working on,” he said. “My shot feels good, my shot while watching the film looks good. I’ve been working on everything this offseason, I would say.”

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As far as what position he would feel comfortable in, Bagley made it clear that he’s going to be ready regardless–whatever head coach Luke Walton and the team needs, he is going to do.

“Wherever I’m put on the floor, I’m looking to make an impact. The four or five, whatever and wherever coach decides to put me, I’m going to learn it, focus and lock in on it. I don’t have any expectations. I’m just coming in and ready to work, giving it everything that I’ve got every day and just getting ready for this run that we’re going to go on.”

Although Bagley is back at practice and feeling healthy, he is unlikely to suit up for Friday’s preseason opener in Portland, per head coach Luke Walton. Bagley will have just over two weeks to get ready for the season opener on December 23rd against the Denver Nuggets.

This season is big for both Bagley and the Kings, as the franchise picked up the forward’s option for the 2021-22 season last week.

Once the season is over, Bagley will be in line for a rookie extension–something that teammate De’Aaron Fox inked just a few weeks ago.

Bagley’s performance during the 2020-21 season will largely implicate whether the organization feels confident enough in tying up the talented big in its future financial obligations.

With Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and Fox all in line to make $20 million in salary each in 2021-22, the Kings will likely need to move one or both of Hield and Barnes in order to make room for a Bagley extension.

The question now is: will Marvin Bagley III do enough this season to put any front office doubts to rest that he is the future of the franchise–just like De’Aaron Fox?

While the team as a whole might miss the postseason for the 15th-straight year, there is still a lot on the line for Marvin Bagley III and the Sacramento Kings.

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