Extending his range
After flashing some three-point chops towards the end of his rookie season, Bagley took a step back in that regard in 2019-20, shooting just 4 for 22 (18.2 percent) from beyond the arc.
This low percentage was likely due to the small sample size and shouldn’t be considered a huge indictment on Bagley’s shooting ability. The larger sample of Bagley’s career from high school, to Duke, to his rookie season says he is more of a low 30s percent three-point shooter than the guy we saw briefly this past season.
Bagley has good-looking mechanics on his jumper, especially when shooting long two’s. While Bagley shouldn’t completely eliminate the mid-range from his game, I’d like to see him stretch a lot of the 20-foot jumpers that he attempts out past the arc.
The best shooting stretch of his short career thus far coincided with his best stretch of play. During the last month of the 2018-’19 season, Bagley shot 14 for 34 (41.2 percent) from beyond the arc. This was also the time in Bagley’s early career where he strung together the most games without injury.
I believe that it’s fair to think that if Bagley can stay on the court and carve out a consistent role, that his three-ball would steadily improve.
Nearly all of Bagley’s attempts from deep come from the top of the key, where he is often left open by opposing defenses. Until Bagley proves himself to be a consistent shooter, defenses are going to continue to leave him open, which is something he and the Kings can take advantage of. An improved three-ball would also improve his dribble-drive game as defenders could no longer sag off of him.
In this March 2019 contest against the Dallas Mavericks, Bagley displayed some of that three-point potential.
If Bagley can unlock a consistent three-point shot, it will do wonders for the team’s spacing and would give him more positional versatility. If he can’t make outside shots consistently, it makes his front court pairing with Richaun Holmes nearly untenable.
He doesn’t need to be Dirk Nowitzki out there, but if he simply performs at league average from distance, it would do wonders for the team’s long-term outlook.