A new series kicks off by exploring what’s been in all of our minds: what would the Sacramento Kings look like if they had followed consensus in the 2018 NBA Draft?
An uneasy 2019-20 season for the Sacramento Kings was made all the more painful by the fact that Marvin Bagley was barely able to be a part of it. Due to a lingering foot injury, the second overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft appeared in just thirteen games this past season. To make matters worse, the player everyone thought should have been selected, Luka Doncic, became an MVP candidate for the Dallas Mavericks.
It began to be hard not to wonder if the Kings, the masters of blowing draft picks for decades, had struck coal once again.
Since it still remains to be seen if the season will continue, (although it looks promising right now) we may as well leave our crazy current situation behind and take a look at an alternate past; a past where the Euro prodigy is rocking purple.
Welcome to the first installment of What If…?, where we take a look at a series of “Sliding Doors” moments for the Sacramento Kings and see what would have happened had history gone differently.
What if the Sacramento Kings had drafted Luka Doncic?
What Really Happened?
It is fairly easy to look at Doncic’s marvelous fit with the Dallas Mavericks and salivate at the thought of him playing in the capital city. His numbers speak for themselves; in fifty-four games, the sophomore averaged nearly a triple-double while generating an enormous amount of clout not only for himself, but also for the Mavericks at large. The team looks to be a perennial playoff contender for years to come.
Bagley had a disappointing sophomore season, but it’s easy to forget that his rookie year actually held a ton of promise. He ended his inaugural campaign with 14.9 ppg/7.6 rpg/50.4 percent FG averages, not bad at all for a rookie big man. He also had plenty of big flashy moments, from that memorable dunk on Mo Wagner in Summer League to his huge 360 alley oop against the Spurs.
Still, it’s hard to argue that Doncic hasn’t far surpassed his fellow draftee, both in terms of numbers and of clout. Doncic is already an All-Star and an MVP candidate while Bagley has struggled to simply stay on the court. The health concerns for the big man are worrisome for the fan base. When he was able to get on the court, Bagley hadn’t demonstrated a ton of growth from his rookie season (although this was undoubtedly due to his injuries). It is easy to root for Bagley, but the facts are what they are at this point in time.