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Stat shows Marvin Bagley III’s phenomenal defensive impact

Marvin Bagley III, Kings

Sacramento Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III was a poor defensive player coming out of college, but he is changing that narrative as he continues to impress for the team on the defensive end.

The Kings selected Bagley as the second overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft. However, he was drafted by the Sactown team for his offensive prowess after averaging 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds in 33 games for Duke.

Defensively, however, Bagley has a lot to improve. He averaged less than a block per game in his time with Duke, and scouting reports before the draft cited his poor defensive instincts and struggle to read the offense and contest shots.

Nonetheless, through eight games for the Kings this season, Bagley has become a different beast on defense. Opponents are shooting 16.6 percent worse than their average from within six feet with the 19-year-old big man guarding them.

Even more remarkable, that’s the third-best mark in the league — not only among rookies.

Bagley, who is coming off the bench for the Kings, is currently averaging 12.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. He had his best overall performance against the Denver Nuggets in their fourth game of the season, registering 20 points, nine rebounds, three assists and five blocks.

The Kings are currently riding a four-game winning streak, and they certainly need Bagley to keep up his work rate on both ends of the floor if they want to maintain that run and, perhaps, contend for the playoffs.