Marvin Bagley is just the latest of the one-and-done superstars to come out of Duke University. Bagley came out of high school as the #1 recruit in the nation and never disappointed in college. All he did was average a 20-point double-double with a shooting percentage of over 60% from the field. Bagley might not have the overpowering size of a center like DeAndre Ayton, but proved to have a much more versatile skill set over this past season.
Beyond the numbers, Bagley is a true talent, a seven-footer who has the skills of a guard with the ball. He has all the traits of a stretch-center that has become so envied in today’s NBA. On smaller defenders in the post, he can dominate them with length and athleticism. He played above the rim so well and so often in college. It was rare to watch a Duke game where Bagley did not have at least a few buckets coming from above the rim from alley-oops. If a center tries to guard Bagley, he can take them to the perimeter and either beat them off the dribble or hit a long-range jump shot. Bagley nearly shot 40% from three-point range at Duke, and that is an area he can still improve in.
The Duke star also showed a lot of the intangibles you like to see in top draft picks during his freshman campaign. From the opening games of the season, Bagley was calm, cool, collected and always wanted the ball in his hands when it mattered most. During the PK80 opening season tournament, Bagley averaged a ridiculous 27.3 points and 15 rebounds in three come from behind wins for the Blue Devils. This was early in the season, and the freshman never flinched. He shines when the lights are the brightest and has the competitive edge you want to see if you are drafting him in the top three.
If there is one grey area in scouting Bagley it has to be on the defensive side of the ball. For a player who was longer and athletically superior than 98% of his opponents, he averaged under a block per game in nearly 34 minutes a game. There is definitely some cause for concern in those numbers, but providing his work ethic is where it needs to be, Bagley should be able to work his way into becoming a solid defender. Though, he will likely never be a defensive enforcer in the paint like Ayton can be.
The most impressive part about Bagley’s freshman season was just how easily he could go out there on any given night and give the Blue Devils 20-30 points and 10-15 rebounds. He did it with such ease, that it reminded me a lot of Ben Simmons when he was a freshman at LSU. Like Simmons, Bagley never forced anything, never let emotions get the better of him and always put up efficient numbers when on the court. Now, Bagley will never have the passing ability that Simmons possessed, and Simmons will never be able to shoot like Bagley. However, they both are blessed with game-changing talent and the right mindset to make it at the next level.