Sacramento Kings’ forward Marvin Bagley III’s return could be right around the corner, and his spot in the starting lineup could be dependent on Dewayne Dedmon.
Marvin Bagley III, the number two overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, went down with a broken right thumb after participating in just one game this year. The Sacramento Kings struggled heavily in the dawn of his absence, starting the season 0-5, but have managed to win six of their last eight, despite losing their other young star De’Aaron Fox. The current Kings’ starting frontcourt has supplied some of the most crucial production on the roster, and working Bagley back in seamlessly is easier said than done.
The initial timetable given on Bagley’s injury was reported as 4-6 weeks by James Ham of NBC California on October 24th. The optimistic timeline of four weeks is nearing on Thursday, November 21st. Bagley’s thumb did not require surgery, and he supposedly has been progressing well during the rehab process, meaning there is reasonable hope for a return to action soon.
Why Dedmon’s Play Is Key
Dewayne Dedmon was brought in as the ideal piece next to Bagley, functioning to an almost identical role he had beside John Collins in Atlanta. I previously wrote on the pairing allowing Bagley to be featured as the five on offense while continuing at the four defensively and that all remains true. Bagley, who shot 31% from three in his rookie campaign, is not respected from range and therefore does not effectively space the floor.
Sacramento can and will attempt minutes of both Bagley and Richaun Holmes when healthy, but for a team that is 10th in three-point attempts and 6th in percentage (despite the slow start), that type of spacing is unideal, to say the least. The pair of Marvin and Nemanja Bjelica have some promise on the offensive end, but lacks rim protection and leaves the bench unit with two centers that cannot coexist in Holmes and Dedmon which would lead to some funky rotations.
There are numerous frontcourt pairings throughout the NBA that have shown mixing a high 20s to low 30s three-point shooter with a non-shooter will lead to the entire lineup shooting fewer threes and lower quality shots due to the lack of spacing. While the subpar shooter’s three-point percentage often benefits from having an added paint threat, it damages the team more than it assists the individual.