Sacramento Kings

Kings back Bagley after inconsistent tournament. ‘I promise you by the end of Vegas ...’

‘Need to stay mentally tough and keep pushing’ Marvin Bagley III after first game with Sacramento Kings

Marvin Bagley III, said it was a 'great feeling overall' after helping Sacramento Kings win their first game in the California Classic against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Golden 1 Center.
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Marvin Bagley III, said it was a 'great feeling overall' after helping Sacramento Kings win their first game in the California Classic against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Golden 1 Center.

Marvin Bagley III began the California Classic with a one-handed dunk and ended it watching as a Miami Heat player slammed one on his end of the floor.

The tournament bookends illustrated the ups and downs for the Kings' No. 2 overall draft pick in his first NBA competition. Bagley walked off the court Thursday with one point after suffering an 86-76 loss to the Heat in front of a near-sellout crowd at Golden 1 Center.

He described it simply as a “bad game” after finishing with more personal fouls (four) than rebounds (three) and two turnovers. The 6-foot-11 forward, who had seven points and seven rebounds in a 71-54 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, also has a solution just as straightforward.

“The last two games weren’t my best games, but it’s next play,” Bagley said. “Move on, go back and study what I did and go back and see what I need to do to get better and just keep moving forward.”

Despite shooting 0 of 2 from the field and not earning an assist in 29 minutes, Bagley said he’s confident things will begin to click like they did against the Lakers, when he notched 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks in a 98-93 win on Monday. He said it’s just a matter of learning and adjusting to the speed of the game.

Kings summer league coach Larry Lewis said he also believes Bagley’s feel for the NBA will come through more games, practices and film study.

“It’s a different kind of defense; it’s a little more physical and he’s just got to learn different angles and ways to use his body to his benefit,” Lewis said. “And he’ll figure that out and we’ll teach him and we’ll work with him. I think when that happens, it will be a little different for his opponents.”

Bagley also received a vote of confidence from his frontcourt teammate Harry Giles, who put together a slightly more consistent performance during this year’s California Classic.

“He just didn’t make his shots today … and it’s going to be a battle and it’s going to be good, but he’s going to get better each game,” said Giles, who had 11 points, 12 rebounds and seven turnovers Thursday. “I promise you by the end of Vegas, he’ll be right where he wants to be.”

Sacramento opens the Las Vegas summer league against a Phoenix Suns team featuring No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton and former Kings forward Jack Cooley at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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