Sacramento Kings

Why the first Bagley vs. Ayton matchup in the NBA has been years in the making

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 was not the first player called at the NBA draft on June 21, but he went into the night feeling like he should have been.

"It's kind of hard for me to say that I'm not the best player in the draft," the forward out of Duke said in Sacramento on June 11. "I mean that in the most humble way possible, but it's the type of competitive spirit that I have."

The No. 1 pick was Deandre Ayton, an Arizona center drafted by the Phoenix Suns, one pick before the Kings selected Bagley. That wasn't a surprise to most NBA draft analysts or to Ayton.

“I know I’m going No. 1,” he said after a workout with the Suns on June 6.

The two will meet for the first time as pros Saturday, when the Kings and Suns meet in the Las Vegas summer league. The game tips off at 4:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.

Bagley has three games of summer league experience after playing in the inaugural California Classic at Golden 1 Center. Ayton will make his summer debut in Vegas, beginning with Friday's game against the Dallas Mavericks.

They're familiar with each other. They were teammates at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix, and both were impressive in their first game together, according to The Arizona Republic. In an exhibition game against Phoenix College, they each put up at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in a 85-82 win over the community college in 2015.

They did not meet in college, as both only played one NCAA season. Duke and Arizona did not play against each other in 2017-18. If the teams had met, it would have been a dream matchup, according to ESPN.

Before the draft, the debate raged on as to which player was better, with the NCAA and CBS Sports weighing in.

It'll take years to determine who is the better player, but NBA fans will get their first look this weekend.

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