Sacramento Kings

‘Just take a deep breath’: Kings rookie Marvin Bagley grapples with his first challenge

Kings introduce Marvin Bagley III: 'I've worked my whole life for this'

The Sacramento Kings introduce their 2018 draft pick, Marvin Bagley III on June 23, 2018 at the Golden 1 Center.
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The Sacramento Kings introduce their 2018 draft pick, Marvin Bagley III on June 23, 2018 at the Golden 1 Center.

Marvin Bagley III is known for his high motor, but he’s relieved to finally be able to slow things down.

A handshake with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver triggered a whirlwind for the Kings' 19-year-old rookie. The second-overall pick in the June 21 NBA draft appeared at Concerts in the Park in Sacramento the next day, followed by an introductory news conference Saturday.

Bagley said he’s enjoyed some downtime this week before Friday's first minicamp practice.

“I was still working out and making sure I was ready for (Friday), but it was definitely a time that I could breathe, see a lot more of my family, you know, just take a deep breath,” Bagley said. “Like I said, the whole process of pre-draft (workouts) and flying and moving around a lot, it can wear you down, so I just wanted to take a deep breath, still be able to stay in shape, and now we’re here, so we just have to keep going.”

The 6-foot-11 forward has two more minicamp practices with the Kings this weekend as he works to adjust from the college game to the NBA. He'll see his first action on Monday against the Los Angeles Lakers in the California Classic summer league tournament at Golden 1 Center.

Bagley, who averaged 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game as freshman last season at Duke, said the level of play is entirely different.

“I’ve just got to slow down a little bit, be patient, because everything's not in a rush,” Bagley said. “Something that I was learning (Friday) was just slow down, take my time with the ball, you know, just look at everything and make the right plays."

Bagley’s desire to learn stood out to coach Dave Joerger and general manager Vlade Divac leading up to the draft. Kings player development coach Larry Lewis, who is leading the summer league team, has also taken notice.

“He is a very thoughtful listener and … he pays deep attention to instruction," Lewis said.

Understanding when it's "absolutely necessary" to slow down is one of the main obstacles rookies face when transitioning from college, he said, and Bagley is already trying to learn that nuance.

“That’s why it sometimes take players two to three years to figure it out, and the more they play in competitive situations in the NBA, it just starts to click and … they really buy into the new things that they’re learning," Lewis said. "And then that’s why they just start to explode.”

Vlade Divac, Sacramento Kings general manager, is excited to have Marvin Bagley III on team after drafting him with the second pick on Thursday, June 21, 2018.

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