Prospect Preview: Marvin Bagley III

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider

Ht: 6-foot-11
Wt: 233 pounds
2017-18 Stats: 21.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.5 apg


Marvin Bagley entered college with a ton of hype – and lived up to all of it. At over 20 points and 10 rebounds a game, Bagley was one of just four players in the nation to average those numbers. He was the third player in ACC history to lead the conference in scoring, rebounding and shooting percentage in a single-season. He was the second player in ACC history to earn Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season. He was a consensus first-team All-American.

So, yes. Bagley was wildly productive in his freshman season with the Blue Devils.

The foundation of his game was the post-up. It was 24 percent of his offense, and he shot 53 percent on his post-up attempts. Bagley operated on the right block or in the middle of the paint the most. And Duke helped him get quick post position by running a play where he’d initially post on the left or right, they’d swing the ball to the top of the key, and he’d quickly re-post in the middle of the paint to get a quick seal and receive the entry pass. Once he caught the ball, single-covered, at point-blank range to the hoop, scoring was easy and pretty much automatic.

On the block turning over his right shoulder, Bagley has a great left hand. He’ll continue to work on being more effective with his right hand and with his jump shot. Bagley showed great hands in catching the ball and dunked everything he could around the rim.

He ran the court well, and that should get even better as his conditioning improves in the NBA. Bagley did not handle the ball much; he was not the kind of player that grabbed the defensive rebound and dribbled up court. He got the board, got rid of the ball, and sprinted up court for early offensive attempts. Bagley wasn’t involved in a ton of pick-and-roll – which will change on the NBA level – but he was great in that action, averaging 1.50 points per possession and shooting almost 80 percent.

Defensively, there are some unknowns. Duke played a bunch of zone defense during the season, really limiting their man-to-man possessions. Bagley shows decent lateral quickness for a big on the perimeter. He can switch onto smaller players and be effective, especially in late shot clock situations, and is good in isolation, allowing only 25 percent shooting in those situations. He was decent at closing out to shooters, but was worried about getting beat off the dribble, so he carefully closed out to shooters a lot of the time. But when he got there on time, they didn’t make shots. Opponents shot only 37 percent against him on spot ups.


Marvin Bagley’s best fit is with a team that will work ample post-up opportunities into their offense for him while he continues to diversify his game. He can play in transition and attack the offensive glass, so he can be effective with limited ‘scheduled’ touches. This is a player that can be very productive. A team looking for some extra punch in the paint is a good fit for the talented Bagley.

Christopher Dempsey: and @chrisadempsey on Twitter


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