Dave Joerger Compares Marvin Bagley, De'Aaron Fox Duo to Durant, Westbrook

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2018

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 12: Head coach Dave Joerger of the Sacramento Kings coaches against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 12, 2018 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger denied he was subtweeting his team's front office when he praised Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic.

In fact, Joerger believes rookie forward Marvin Bagley III can be the Kevin Durant to De'Aaron Fox's Russell Westbrook in Sacramento.

"There's no veiled shots at anybody," Joerger said Monday, per The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski. "When we drafted Bagley at 2, we were high-fiving like crazy. We got the right guy for us. This isn't going to be a story in three days, and it'll be definitely buried five years from now when we have the next Durant-Westbrook. That's how good they're gonna be."

The Kings defeated the Mavs 120-113 on Sunday, with Doncic scoring 28 points and dishing out nine assists. After the game, Joerger spoke glowingly of the 19-year-old Slovenian, telling reporters he seemingly doesn't have an NBA ceiling, per ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon.

Since Sacramento passed on Doncic to take Bagley with the second overall pick of the 2018 draft, some read Joerger's comments as a critique of management.

Joerger indicated Monday that clearly wasn't the case, but he may have gone slightly over the top when hyping up his young players.

Fox is enjoying a breakout second season, averaging 18.5 points and 7.5 assists while shooting 39.6 percent from three-point range. Bagley, on the other hand, is averaging a more modest 12.7 points and 6.1 rebounds. According to NBA.com, the Kings are 10 points better per 100 possessions when Bagley is on the bench.

Even with Fox's improvement, putting him and Bagley in the same conversation as Westbrook and Durant is setting the bar high.

Then again, Kings general manager Vlade Divac drew some puzzled reactions when he called Sacramento "a superteam, just young" in July. Following the team's 16-13 start, Divac's assessment doesn't seem so ridiculous.

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