Troy Weaver and the Detroit Pistons made a move acquiring Marvin Bagley III from the Sacramento Kings. According to rumors, Weaver had been pursuing Bagley since he arrived in Detroit, and he was finally able to acquire the former number two pick.
The Detroit Pistons sent Josh Jackson and Trey Lyles to the Kings and a 2023 second-round pick (lower of Cleveland and Golden State) to the Bucks in the four-team trade.
This continues the trend of Pistons picking up high talented and formerly highly touted prospects who have not panned out but still have tremendous upside. Here is what the Pistons are getting in the Marvin Bagley III.
What are the Detroit Pistons getting in Marvin Bagley III?
Marvin Bagley III was the number one high school recruit in the country and chose to play for Coach K at Duke. After averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds in his freshman year, he was selected second overall, famously ahead of stars Luka Doncic and Trae Young.
In Sacramento, Bagley has largely been a disappointment and in and out of the rotation this year. Despite his struggles so far in his career, Bagley still has the talent that made him the best high school player in the country and the second overall pick.
Offensively, Bagley should come in right away and be ready to run pick and rolls with Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes. His combination of size, quickness, and leaping ability make him an ideal target as a lob threat on pick and rolls.
The Pistons don’t have a true roll man on the roster, so there alone, Bagley should be able to contribute and help develop the young guards. Also, Bagley does have some shooting ability and can run some pick and pop as well. He is only at 30% for his career, so it should only be used sparingly as a change of pace.
Outside of the pick and roll, Bagley excels at finishing inside, shooting over 70% within 3 feet for his career. Bagley should look to do most of his damage there. He can score in the post with a nice hook shot. He should also play a lot in the dunker spot to grab offensive rebounds and catch dump-offs from driving guards.
In Sacramento, he spent a lot of time as their Sekou Doumbouya, standing in the corner and occasionally catching and shooting. Hopefully, this was just a system thing, as Bagley should spend as little time as possible on the perimeter as that is the weakest part of his game.
Defensively, Bagley is still a work in progress, but he has shown signs of improvement since entering the league. With his height, length, and quickness, he has all the psychical gifts to be an impressive defender in the NBA but has struggled throughout his career.
He especially struggles off-ball, where he can miss rotations and fall asleep, leading to easy buckets for opposing players. However, all hope is not lost as he has been improving this season and does try on the defensive end. The hope is that he can continue to gain experience and knowledge to pair with his natural tools and motor to become a solid NBA defender.
Predicting Bagley’s role with the Detroit Pistons.
Bagley should be expected to come off the bench and form a solid backup frontcourt with Kelly Olynyk. The two should pair nicely as they have complementary skills. Olynyk can space the floor and provide shot creation while Bagley rolls to the hoop and finishes near the basket. Defensively, Olynyk can match up with the slower, stronger opponent while Bagley can play against the faster of the frontcourt players. This should help Bagley as he struggles shooting from the outside and to defend bigger, stronger centers.
Both guards have the potential to be great pick-and-roll players but need a true roll man to unlock their potential. Despite coming off the bench, Bagley should play extensively with Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes. As good as Isiah Stewart has been defensively and on the glass, he is not great in the pick and roll.
Long-term, the remainder of the season should be a tryout for a long-term deal as he is a restricted free agent at the end of the year. If he plays well and is a good culture fit, the Pistons should definitely look to sign him to a long-term extension.
He is only a month older than Saddiq Bey, and the qualifying offer will likely be only about $7 million. If Bagley cannot contribute positively, the Pistons can move on at the end of the year with no cap implications.
If it does not work out, the Pistons can move on quickly in the off-season, and it only costs two players not part of the long-term plans and a late pick. This is a small price to pay for the chance to properly develop the number 2 pick from a few years ago with an incredible amount of talent.