Scouting Report: Marvin Bagley III

For The Win - USA Today

When Marvin Bagley III reclassified to the class of 2017, he became the #1 recruit and committed to Duke in the summer. Bagley is one of the most talented players in the draft, and has an NBA bloodline, as he is the grandson of ABA all star Joe Caldwell. Here is my scouting report of Bagley:

Position: PF

College/ country: Duke

Tools: Athleticism, Motor, Rebounding


  • Excellent rebounder- incredible combination of size, athleticism, motor and tendency to go for a box out
  • Can bring the ball up the court- excellent ball handling potential
  • High motor
  • Excellent low post game with left hand; great touch around the rim. An example: 
  • Elite athleticism- excellent aerial threat; long strides in transition; quick off the floor and quick second jump. Here’s a few videos displaying his great athleticism: 

  • Great feel for the game and great intangibles. NBA pedigree
  • Good hands
  • Adequate lateral quickness


  • Poor switching and overall poor defensive IQ; ball watches a lot
  • Needs to continue improving right hand – here you can see him attempt to finish this left handed when his right hand is much more favorable.

  • Not a great free throw shooter – needs to become more consistent as a shooter
  • Needs to add strength
  • Only average frame – not very long arms compared to height
  • Not much of a scorer off the dribble

Overall: Marvin Bagley came into the season with expectations to be the number one pick. While the chances of him being the number one pick have decreased from the start of the season, he should still be a top 5 pick. He automatically will be an effective rim runner and energy forward that will crash the glass and do much of the dirty work. Long term, Bagley’s projection relies upon his growth as a shooter. If his jump shot can become reliable (~35+%), he is easily a starter and go-to option on a playoff caliber team. However, if his shot does not improve throughout his NBA career, his ceiling is much more limited to being a low end starter or bench forward. His NBA and basketball pedigree and hard working attitude give him a favorable chance to reach his true ceiling. Bagley has a great foundation due to size, athleticism, and feel for the game. He now needs to add another dimension in order to be a star.

How Marvin Bagley III fits with the Mavericks: Bagley fits with virtually every lottery team simply because every team in the projected range for him needs someone with his talent. For the Mavericks, the immediate solutions Bagley brings to the team are rebounding and another young top tier athlete to pair with DSJ. While Duke doesn’t run Bagley in the P&R as a roll man as much as he is likely to in the NBA, his athleticism and understanding of the game should make the adjustment much easier. Bagley fits in with the hard working culture that coach Carlisle has implemented over the years, thanks to his elite motor. One place where Bagley may not fit well in Dallas is with his defense. If Bagley’s offense can make up for his lackluster defense, then there won’t be much of an issue. However, with a somewhat unpolished offensive skillset, that may not come right away. Bagley often gets lost on defense, both in zone defense and man to man defense, and his understanding of defensive schemes is subpar. He doesn’t have great length and ball watches a lot, forcing himself to be vulnerable on the defensive end. However, he is average in terms of lateral quickness, which is a key trait to have in the NBA as a defender. Lastly, Bagley’s jump shot is not a strength, but his jump shot also is not broken. With some tweaking, Bagley’s jumper should be able to improve with an NBA shooting coach.

NBA Comparison: Floor- Jeff Green; ceiling- Shawn Kemp

Projected draft range: Top 5

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