Sacramento Kings

Bagley etches name on list of Kings rookies which includes Cousins, Evans and Simmons

In his first regular-season matchup against his prep teammate, Marvin Bagley III showed off an array of skills on offense.

Scoring on dunks, layups and jump shots, including just the 13th 3-pointer of his career, Bagley finished with a career-high 32 points Sunday and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft outplayed the Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton, who went No. 1, during a 117-104 victory at Golden 1 Center.

Bagley shot 10 of 15 overall and made a career-high 11 free throws in 13 attempts.

“He’s getting better at picking and choosing his spots, getting his shoulder down, and it puts the defender in a compromised position,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “He’s got long arms and he’s obviously able to get off the floor, so he’s just learning to maybe take that extra dribble and create more contact, and I think he’s also a little bit more comfortable because he’s better at the free-throw line.”

With the performance, Bagley etched his name on a list that includes players such as DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Lionel Simmons: He became the 10th rookie in the Sacramento era to score at least 30 points in a game.

“I love playing against the Suns. I don’t know what it is,” Bagley said.

He’s not the only Kings rookie to score well against Phoenix. Five of them had their season high against the team.

Simmons holds the Sacramento-era record for the highest-scoring game by a Kings rookie. He put up 42 points in a road loss to the Suns on March 23, 1991. He had 30 points or more eight times that season.

Walt Williams is the only other player during this era to reach 40 points, hitting the number in a 56-point victory over the host Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 2, 1993. He had six 30-plus games, including one in a loss in Phoenix on March 9, 1993.

Other Kings rookies to post multiple games of 30 or more points are Tyreke Evans, who had four in 2009-10, and Ricky Berry, who had two in the 1988-89 season.

Kings rookies to score 30 or more

Here’s the list of Kings rookies in the Sacramento era to score at least 30 points in a game:

42 – Lionel Simmons, March 23, 1991, at Phoenix

40 – Walt Williams, Jan. 2, 1993, at Philadelphia

34 – Tyreke Evans, Jan. 18, 2010, at Charlotte

34 – Ricky Berry, Feb. 2, 1989, at Golden State

32 – Marvin Bagley III, Feb. 10, 2019, vs. Phoenix

32 – Skal Labissiere, March 15, 2017, at Phoenix

31 – Ben McLemore, April 14, 2014, at Phoenix

30 – Buddy Hield, April 11, 2017, vs. Phoenix

30 – DeMarcus Cousins, April 11, 2011, at Oklahoma City

30 – Kenny Smith, March 26, 1988, at Los Angeles Lakers

Noel Harris is the assistant local editor for The Sacramento Bee. A former Kings beat reporter who still occasionally writes, he’s been in professional journalism for more than 19 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer, page designer and copy editor.