Buddy Hield Defends Marvin Bagley III: 'Leave That Man Alone, He's 21 Years Old'

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IJanuary 29, 2021

Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III (35) controls the ball during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Marvin Bagley III has been the subject of criticism during his three seasons in the NBA, but Sacramento Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield was supportive of his teammate following their Wednesday defeat of the Orlando Magic.

"Y'all need to get off of Marvin's back. Leave that man alone. He's 21 years old," Hield said (h/t James Ham of NBC Sports). "He's just trying to prove himself to the world that he belongs in this league and it's going to take time. He has to get himself situated first and once he gets situated and once he gets more games under his belt, he gets more comfortable, then it's night and day for him."

Bagley dropped 16 points in the win and tied his season-high 12 rebounds as the Kings powered past Orlando 121-107. 

Bagley hasn't quite found his stride in the NBA, though he's getting his chance this season. He has started all 17 games for the 7-10 Kings after making just 10 starts through his first two years in the league. 

It's a different timeline than the one that other top picks in the 2018 draft class have followed, and different from what fans and team personnel might expect from someone who was taken with the No. 2 selection. 

No. 3 pick Luka Doncic and No. 5 pick Trae Young are All-Stars, and while top pick Deandre Ayton hasn't reached that sort of individual success, he leads the 8-8 Suns with 12.3 rebounds per game and is among the top five in the class in win shares with 10.6, per Basketball Reference

Bagley's father has expressed his disappointment with his son's usage. On Jan. 2, he said in a now-deleted tweet that the Kings should trade Bagley, a few days after he played just five minutes, 28 seconds in the second half following an 18-point first half against the Denver Nuggets.

This season, Bagley is averaging 13.4 points on 46.7 percent shooting, with a career-high 8.2 rebounds per game. Hield, at least, thinks there's more where that came from as the Duke product continues to adjust to the professional level.

Bagley turns 22 on March 14.