Kings news: Harrison Barnes says Marvin Bagley III was ‘killing’ it before withdrawing from Team USA
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Kings’ Harrison Barnes says Marvin Bagley III was ‘killing’ it before withdrawing from Team USA

The Sacramento Kings were a wonderfully pleasant surprise last season, going 39-43 despite a disappointing finish while establishing themselves as one of the most entertaining teams in basketball. As a result, the next step in their linear progression toward real contention should be the organization’s first playoff appearance since 2006. But the Kings don’t play in a vacuum of expected improvement, instead cutting their teeth in a Western Conference that’s as strong yet balanced as ever heading into 2019.

If Marvin Bagley III lives up to burgeoning offseason hype, though, it seems possible Sacramento could end the league’s longest playoff drought anyway. The Bagley bandwagon kept chugging along on Tuesday, when Kings forward and likely Team USA selection Harrison Barnes lauded the former No. 2 overall draft pick’s play during training camp with the national program.

“Marvin was killing. He was doing his thing. He got promoted, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to continue, but I thought he was on his way to having a nice impact on this team,” Barnes said, per Jason Jones of The Athletic.

Bagley was originally part of the Select Team, a group of promising young players handpicked by USA Basketball to train with and scrimmage against potential Team USA members leading up to the FIBA World Cup. After he capped a strong week of practice on Friday by playing well in the USA Basketball showcase, he was added to the national team’s senior roster only to withdraw from consideration shortly thereafter.

Bagley averaged 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds in just 25.3 minutes per game during his NBA debut, earning First Team All-Rookie honors.