SACRAMENTO – The bench is a lonely place. You are surrounded by a team of teammates, but it is insulating.…
SACRAMENTO – The bench is a lonely place. You are surrounded by a team of teammates, but it is insulating. It’s a difficult place for a young player to be on Wednesday night, that’s exactly where Marvin Bagley III stopped too much of the game.
The Kings used the second overall election on Bagley in the 2018 NBA draft. He played a total of 12 minutes and seven seconds in his pro debut, finishing with six points on 3-of-6 shots and five rebounds.
It was clear that the 19-year-old is expected to play more against Utah. When asked if he could learn to look and take in the game from the sidelines, Bagley did not quite agree.
“I obviously want to play, I’ve been playing this game for a long time, but I’ll just leave that,” said Bagley.
Bagley is used to being a focal point. It’s good that he wants the challenge of playing big minutes early in his career, but that’s not how every game goes.
“I’m just trying to be patient, just keep working hard and get better” Bagley said about his protocols. “Just keep learning and growing.”
It’s not the debut he expected, but it’s one of 82 games in what would be an extremely long career for the former Duke star.
“It will be tough” said coach Dave Joerger about Bagley’s minutes in opener. “I thought he was doing well ̵
1; the game really moves, really fast for him, especially defensively.”
Bagley stuck to the offensive end and he attacked the glass in his limited minutes. On the defensive side of the ball, Utah turned to Jae Crowder to test the beginner. The strategy worked for the jazzen.
While Bagley had no problems scoring the veteran in the post, Crowder hung around the circumference at the other end. With Bagley sucking him, Crowder hit an open tree. Some possessions later, Bagley sagged again and called for a foul on a long attempt from Crowder.
The ugly conversation was questioning, but Bagley has a lot to learn about protecting smaller players on the perimeter. No one expects him to learn the finer shades to defend overnight. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Joerger will try to put him in positions to succeed and maintain his confidence. Coaching staff will continue to work behind the scenes to build their knowledge base.
“It only takes time and experience,” said Joerger. “There is much left to play.”
The kings were competitive against a high quality opponent. They played well too much of the night before falling to Utah with a final of 123-117. Bagley also played three minutes in fourth while Sacramento continued to test the jazz.
“I can only control what I can control,” said rookie. “When my number is called, I have to go hard, I have to go 100 percent and do what I can to try and help us win.”
Bagley was not the only young player stuck on the bench. Harry Giles III played just under 10 minutes for Joerger, finished the night with two points, a rebound and help when he picked up four mistakes. Should Labissiere pull a “did not play, the coach’s decision”.
On the plus side, Willie Cauley-Stein and Nemanja Bjelica combine for 41 points, 15 rebounds and six help to start on the front line. They both played well and helped keep the kings within striking distance.
Both Bagley and Giles will have additional opportunity to earn a few minutes on Friday against All-Star Anthony Davis and New Orleans Pelicans.