It’s Starting to Look Like the Detroit Pistons Stole Marvin Bagley III From Sacramento

Marvin Bagley III was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He’s been considered a disappointment to this point in his career, especially when compared to some of the players taken after him. With that said, being traded to the Detroit Pistons has certainly given Bagley new life.

With that new life, Bagley’s immense potential is once again starting to shine.

Marvin Bagley III has fit right in with the Detroit Pistons

Marvin Bagley III, Detroit Pistons
Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Detroit Pistons looks on against the New York Knicks before the game at Little Caesars Arena | Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Bagley has been an excellent match with Detroit’s young but exciting roster. He’s immediately thrived and looked comfortable since the Sacramento Kings traded him in early February, but he’s truly come on as of late for the Pistons.

The month of March has seen him average 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, which is more than double the 7.4 points per game he averaged in four months with the Kings. 

Bagley has taken his game to an even higher level over the last two games for Detroit. 

He put up 25 points, five rebounds, two steals, and a block in Detroit’s close loss to the Washington Wizards and then followed that up with an incredible 27-point, seven-rebound performance in a loss to the New York Knicks.

On a court featuring R.J. Barrett and Julius Randal for the Knicks and Detroit’s No. 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham, Bagley was clearly the best player on the floor.

He showed off his athleticism on multiple dunks and clearly has developed terrific chemistry with Cunningham, especially on lobs and in pick-and-roll situations. 

Bagley has been a steal for the Pistons 

Marvin Bagley, Detroit Pistons
Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Detroit Pistons reacts against the Washington Wizards during the second quarter at Little Caesars Arena | Nic Antaya/Getty Images

“It was spectacular,” Dwane Casey said after the Knicks game, according to The Detroit News. “Again, I said it the last game, Marvin is real find for our organization. How many times do you get the opportunity to get (a second overall pick). You usually get them when they are on their last leg. … But we got Marvin at 23. That’s a heck of a get for us.”

Casey is right in that the rumors of Bagley’s downfall have been greatly exaggerated, and credit general manager Troy Weaver for having the vision to pull off a trade that could end up being looked back on as a major steal for the Pistons.

Despite the addition of Cunningham and all the hope and potential he brings to the table for Detroit, this season was expected to be another rebuilding year for an organization that has been patient yet shrewd in the Weaver era.

They’re trying to build this team the right way, and for Weaver, that has meant executing low-risk, high-reward trades.

Just look at the player Saddiq Bey has become for the Pistons. 

He’s fresh off a 51-point outing and has all the potential to be an all-star by the time he hits his ceiling. He’s averaging 16.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game this season. Weaver picked Bey up by trading Luke Kennard to the Los Angeles Clippers in a three-team deal that netted the Pistons the No. 19 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and, ultimately, Bey.

The Pistons are high on athletic guard Hamidou Diallo, and he’s a player Weaver picked up last season from Oklahoma City in exchange for Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2027 second-round pick. Before losing the rest of his season to a finger injury, Diallo had averaged 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Pistons mostly coming off the bench.

Mykhailiuk is currently averaging 4.6 points for the Thunder.

The Pistons are certainly happy to have Bey and Diallo, but pulling off the Bagley trade could have been Weaver’s best move yet.

Detroit gave up Josh Jackson and Trey Lyles as part of the four-team trade that brought them Bagley.

Jackson, the No. 4 pick in the 2017 draft, has already bounced around the league for a few seasons now. He was a streaky scorer for Detroit who brought some nice energy off the bench, but he was highly expendable, especially considering his inconstancies as a payer.

Lyles, a seventh-year veteran out of Kentucky, is nothing more than a journeyman backup who has averaged 7.7 points per game throughout his career.

Notably, he is averaging 10.8 points per game in March for the Kings, so that’s at least something positive. 

Positive isn’t a word that can be used to describe Jackson’s time since leaving Detroit, though. 

At the time of this writing, Jackson has played in only six games for Sacramento. He’s averaging half a point a game.

Compare that to what Bagley has been for the Pistons so far, and Detroit clearly got the better end of that deal. Compare Lyles and Jackson to what Bagley can still become, though….and it seems as if Weaver has gotten away with highway robbery.

“It’s just opportunity and I think I’m getting a great opportunity here,” Bagley said after the Knicks game. “I’m just trying to make the most of it.”

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference. Contract information via Spotrac

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