The Kings‘ coaching change has provided a new opportunity for Marvin Bagley III, writes James Ham of Kings Beat. Bagley was out of the rotation under former coach Luke Walton and reportedly refused to check into a game earlier this month. His role has increased under Alvin Gentry, who gave him 35 minutes in Friday’s triple-overtime victory against the Lakers.
Bagley appears to have a new attitude with Gentry in charge, Ham observes. Instead of posting up and clogging the lane, he has been spacing the floor and attacking the glass for rebounds. Gentry is also trusting Bagley on defense, matching him up at times with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on Friday.
On Wednesday, Bagley hit a clutch three-pointer to ice a win over Portland and responded with an enthusiastic show of emotion that has been rare during his four seasons in Sacramento.
“I was probably talking crazy, I was just hyped, man, the passion came out,” Bagley said. “It was a big play for my team, I was just happy to make it.”
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee examines whether Gentry can turn the Kings‘ season around and break the franchise’s long playoff drought. Gentry has plenty of experience with this situation, as this is the fourth time he has taken over a team in midseason. “Obviously, it’s a change of coaching, and, basically, there’s not a whole lot that’s going to change from the standpoint of what we’re trying to accomplish and what we’re trying to do,” he said. “It’s just getting the players to perform at a higher level, and then, obviously, finding a way to complete games.”
- Clippers star Paul George deserves to be included in the MVP discussion, contends Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. With Kawhi Leonard sidelined, George has become an outspoken leader of the team. He’s also putting up MVP-level numbers with 25.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game, along with the highest usage rate of his career. “We need him to do everything that he’s doing for us to be in position that we are,” Reggie Jackson said. “I think he’s playing at the best level and he’s in the best mindset that he’s been in.”
- The Lakers have plenty of questions after the first quarter of the season, including Frank Vogel’s job status and whether it’s time to panic over the roster following a 10-11 start, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.