The Sacramento Kings’ season-opening rout at the hands of the Phoenix Suns just got even worse with the Marvin Bagley injury news.
If betting walloped by a team that won 19 games last year wasn’t a bad enough start for the Sacramento Kings‘ new season, their situation got even tougher Thursday afternoon.
According to the team, an MRI revealed a non-displaced fracture in Marvin Bagley‘s right thumb, which he sustained in Wednesday night’s season-opening loss to the Phoenix Suns. Bagley is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks with the injury.
For a team that was expected to contend for one of the bottom-rung playoff spots in the loaded Western Conference, the 2019-20 campaign has gotten off to a pretty brutal start. Already playing without Harry Giles, the Kings tipped off their season with a 124-95 road shellacking in Phoenix.
It was a nightmarish performance all around. De’Aaron Fox finished with just eight points and five turnovers, dealing with foul trouble for most of the night. Bogdan Bogdanovic looked like he was forcing the issue too much. Even Buddy Hield, who ignited for 22 first-half points on 8-of-12 shooting, rapidly cooled down in the second half, scoring only six points after the break on 2-of-7 shooting.
The Kings tallied a mere 36 points after halftime. Head coach Luke Walton‘s rotations were all over the map, and with Bagley out, Sacramento just lost yet another frontcourt body who could log minutes at the 4 or 5.
Bagley didn’t exactly make his potential impact for the upcoming season known on Wednesday night, finishing with just 14 points on 16 shots, but he did chip in 10 rebounds for the double-double and finished his rookie season on a strong note as well.
In 62 appearances last year, Bagley averaged 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game on 50.4 percent shooting from the field and 31.3 3 percent shooting from 3-point range. After the 20-year-old closed the year with momentum and earned an All-Rookie First Team selection, it’s a bummer to see him back on the bench dealing with an injury again. He already missed 20 games in his first season, 11 of which came from dealing with a knee sprain.
In the meantime, Kings insider James Ham reports Walton will likely turn to stretch-4 Nemanja Bjelica to fill the void in the starting lineup alongside starting center Dewayne Dedmon. The Kings can also used Harrison Barnes more in his role as a small-ball 4, with Hield and either Bogdanovic or Trevor Ariza on the wings.
The development of players like Bagley and Fox is crucial to the Kings busting through their ceiling in the incredibly competitive Western Conference. As much as this injury doesn’t doom Sacramento this early in the season, it certainly doesn’t help if the goal is for all these young players’ growth coalescing into a playoff push.