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Kings’ Marvin Bagley III getting closer to return, focusing on regaining strength in injured hand

Marvin Bagley III, Kings

Sacramento Kings big man Marvin Bagley III continues to make progress in his recovery from a non-displaced fracture in his right thumb.

Bagley says he’s close to playing, but won’t rush back. The Kings’ youngster is focused on regaining strength in his right hand.

Bagley finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns in the first game of the season. He didn’t require surgery on his thumb.

Bagley, the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, averaged 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game during his rookie season while shooting 50.4 percent from the field, 31.3 percent from the 3-point line and 69.1 percent from the charity stripe.

The Kings are looking to make the playoffs this season for the first time since 2006. Bagley is part of Sacramento’s core which includes De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes and Harry Giles.

Fox, like Bagley, is out with an injury as well.

Sacramento is 8-13 on the season, 12th place in the Western Conference standings. Getting Bagley and Fox back in the lineup is necessary for the Kings to get over .500 and ultimately compete for a playoff spot in the rugged Western Conference.

With the way Luka Doncic has played with the Dallas Mavericks, there’s some pressure for Bagley to play at a high-level once he comes back since the Kings passed on Luka to select Bagley.