Marvin Bagley's Upside on Display in Kings' Narrow Loss to Warriors

OAKLAND -- Marvin Bagley sat in his locker stall still dressed in his uniform when reporters came in following the Kings' 117-116 loss to the Golden State Warriors Saturday night. His right hand wrapped in ice, the rookie had just felt a game slip through his fingers and he wasn't all that happy about it.

According to the 19-year-old big, he sprained his right hand in the third or fourth quarter, but it's nothing to worry about. He plans on suiting up on Sunday when the Kings host the Utah Jazz at Golden 1 Center. 

That's good news for the Kings. Even more good news is that Bagley is developing in front of everyone's eyes. Against the Warriors, he was a beast, tying his career-high with 20 points and setting a new career-best with 17 rebounds. 

Unfortunately, with the game on the line in the final seconds, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft came up just short on his putback attempt. 

It started with a drive by Buddy Hield. The Kings' shooting guard attempted a floater with 4.2 seconds remaining on the clock and the Kings trailing by one. The shot bounced off the rim to the weak side where Bagley was in perfect position for the finish.

"I saw Buddy driving and it looked like at the moment, he was trying to go score, so I was just trying to get position and get the rebound and go up," Bagley said of the play. "It just didn't go my way."

The former Duke star went up for the rebound and when he went to tip it in, the ball wedged between the glass and the backboard. The result was a jump ball with 2.1 seconds remaining. 

"I thought he was about to put it back in," De'Aaron Fox said. "It went over the goal and he was in a perfect position and sometimes the ball just doesn't roll your way." 

Hield tracked down the tip, but time expired on the play. The officials reviewed the sequence and gave Sacramento the ball with 0.3 seconds remaining, but the Kings weren't able to get a shot off as time expired. 

It was another learning experience for a young team. This is one of the few times this season that an outcome has been decided in the final minute of a game. Bagley had an opportunity to get his first game-winning shot as a pro, but in the end, it didn't work out.

"He had a heck of a game," coach Dave Joerger said of Bagley. "He feels terrible about the last one at the end. He felt like one more pound of pressure pushing that ball and it tips in, instead of in the crotch of the rim there."

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Bagley played a career-high 34 minutes in the loss and it's hard not to notice his growth as a player. Joerger continues to give him a longer and longer leash as the season progresses.

"He is doing great things with the ball and without," Joerger added. "He continues to grow. I was very comfortable having him on the floor."

It's not just the coach that is noticing the advancements in Bagley's game. His teammates are seeing a young player making strides as well.

"He's getting better and better everyday," Hield said following the loss. "I'm going to keep staying on him because I want to see him succeed in this league. He's doing great, man."

As he gets more comfortable on the court, the players around him continue to show more and more trust in the rookie. He is already giving the team numbers, but there is an outline of the player he will eventually become.

"It gives us a deeper team with him playing well," Fox said. "He's letting the game come to him. I think he's executing when his number is called."

Bagley isn't one to lose confidence. He was a highly ranked prep player going into college and he didn't shy away from saying that he thought he should be the top overall selection building up to the draft. 

There is a moxie to the power forward and he seems to understand fullwell where he is heading as a player. Bagley is becoming a valuable member of the rotation and his upside is tremendous. 

"Every game I'm getting better and better, I feel it," Bagley said. "I'm learning, I see a lot of things every game when I'm out there playing. It's definitely slowing down a lot from the first preseason game to now."

A loss is a loss, but the Kings continue to turn heads around the league. They'll get another shot to get back in the win column Sunday afternoon when they host the Utah Jazz at Golden 1 Center.

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