Marvin Bagley III picks Duke for 2017/18


Marvin Bagley III picks Duke and reclassifies to 2017, and Sportschannel8’s Ben Swain and Brian Geisinger go back and forth discussing it.

Swain:  Well BG, you asked me what I thought last night and I honestly thought it didn’t look good for Duke. The complete silence heading into the announcement didn’t feel like a normal Duke recruitment, and once Bagley slipped to the third block on Sportscenter behind baseball highlights and Ezekiel Elliot updates, I was pretty sure it was going to be USC or UCLA. I haven’t talked to anyone at Duke yet so I don’t know if they were surprised, but I definitely was based on my hunch.

So what does Duke get with Bagley? According to my Twitter timeline, Duke gets a bye straight to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament where they will now definitely lose, and also gets a black eye for sacrificing their status as an elite academic university for admitting someone so late in the process. But seriously, I couldn’t decide which was more telling of how big this is for the college basketball landscape next year … the excitement from Duke fans or the salt and snark from everyone else.

Yes, Duke has had a feast or famine approach to the NCAA Tournament since winning the title with a veteran-heavy team in 2010. But it’s silly to ignore the circumstances surrounding those results.

2011 – Kyrie gets hurt 8 games in and comes back for the NCAA Tournament to a ton of jokes about ruining the chemistry of the #1 team in the nation (and those jokes don’t seem as far-fetched in 2017).

2012 – The Lehigh year where Duke was WAY overrated as a 2 seed. That team was simply not very good.

2016 – The Oregon sweet 16 loss where Duke essentially went as far as they should have with Brandon Ingram

2017 – The South Carolina 2nd round loss season where Duke had one rotation player who went through the season without missing multiple games. An unheard of level of bad luck.

The only year that remains a head-scratcher for me is 2014 when Duke lost to Mercer with Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker, two certified NBA stars. None of those other four teams had more than one (some arguably had none), other than the 2017 team that dealt with unprecedented turmoil.

In 2018, Duke will likely run out four lottery picks and two other first round picks. From the Class of 2017, they have the 2nd ranked point guard, the 3rd ranked shooting guard, and the #1 and #4 ranked post players to join Grayson Allen and Marques Bolden. While Bagley is the crown jewel of the class, the presence of point guard Trevon Duval is the biggest difference between “famine teams” and the 2015 team that won the national championship.

Even if healthy last year, the “there’s only one ball” problem would have likely been Duke’s achilles heel because they lacked someone to make sure that ball was in the right hands at the right time. Duval is a high-tempo facilitator who can break people down off of the dribble, and he’ll get Allen, Trent, Carter, Bagley and Bolden touches in scoring position. Championships are never guaranteed and Duke’s not the only team rich with NBA talent next year, but the talk of Lehigh and Mercer is nothing more than getting your shots in at Duke while it’s still safe because, deep down, they know.

BG, what kind of player is Duke looking at in Bagley? Who does he remind you of, NBA wise?

Geisinger: With Bagley, I think Duke has landed the perfect modern day big man.

Marvin Bagley can run the floor, shoot out to beyond the three-point arc and protect the rim. If a player can check two of those boxes, he has the chances of being a very good NBA player. Bagley looks like he has the ability to hit on all three.

He reminds me of another left-handed blue chip recruit that came east. Back in 2002, just as the age of Internet basketball recruiting was starting to take off, Chris Bosh landed Georgia Tech. Bosh was in the ATL for only a few months, but in that time, he averaged 16 and 9, led the ACC in true shooting percentage (63.4 percent), was named second team All-ACC and then went fourth overall in the stacked 2003 NBA Draft.

Bosh’s career has taken a scary turn due to some wildly unfortunate health concerns; however, he’s already a Hall of Famer: 11 All-Star appearances, twice an NBA Champion and maybe more importantly — he helped revolutionize the game.

The Warriors get tons of credit for their small-ball takeover — and deservingly so. But it’s important to remember: Bosh’s willingness to slide to the 5 — after spending the majority of his career as an All-NBA (2007) power forward — saved Miami’s 2012 season. It’s also what allowed them to rain fire on everyone in the 2012-13 season.

According to Basketball-Reference, Bosh spent 100 percent of his playing time that season as a center. His shooting — 51 percent from 15-19 feet (291 FGA) — and defensive flexibility allowed LeBron James to play the 4 on offense while Shane Battier muscled with opposing power forwards on defense.

I’m not so sure that Bagley projects as a 5 in the NBA, although the trend of guys playing up a position is very real. Regardless, he fits right into the mold created by Bosh: stretchy big guys that can run, shoot (space defenses) and create havoc around the rim on both ends.

Bagley, like Bosh, is a lefty, and also like Bosh is 6-11. He’s a fluid athlete with a really good face-up game, and he can absolutely move in the open court.

There are few — if any — ACC players capable of hanging with this guy. Maybe Isaiah Wilkins at UVA; the list isn’t long, though. When Duke faces UNC, the Tar Heels will have all kinds of issues trying to stymie this dude.

You outlined above what a guy like Trevon Duval can mean to Duke’s offense. The Blue Devils don’t run a ton of pick-and-roll; their motion offense is more predicated to find guys coming off curls or pindowns, and playing through the middle. However, when Duke needs a bucket, I’d love to see them spread the floor, and take turns running pick-and-roll with Bagley and either Duval or Grayson Allen.

Swain, what position do you think we will see Bagley spend the most time at this season? Ideally, he will spend a lot of time at the 4; however, I could certainly see him getting plenty of burn at the 5, too, especially if Bolden starts sluggish once again. Of the 80 minutes available to frontcourt players each game, I’d like to see Bagley and Wendell Carter get as much as possible.


Swain: I see you trying to get my Duke credentials revoked by going on record talking about “position” in K’s offense. But okay fine, I’ll play along. The cop-out answer is that you’ll see Bagley at multiple positions, but the NBAification of K’s offense has shown us lately that he’ll seek out a mismatch and exploit it until it’s stopped. I’m glad you mentioned the pick and roll because we haven’t seen it much lately, but Jason Williams and Carlos Boozer used to pick and roll teams to death. We saw it some with Tyus Jones and Okafor/Winslow too, but guys like Derryck Thornton and Frank Jackson were terrible at it. If Duval can run it, we’ll see it featured when watching Duke. Especially with guys like Grayson Allen and Gary Trent on the wings for spacing.

My favorite ever example of “just find a mismatch and ride it” was when Duke put the ball in Brandon Ingram’s hands against Virginia and rode the hell out of him. Last year they matched personnel by running a lot of double-high post action, and while Amile Jefferson was very effective driving to the basket out of that set, he’s no Bagley. And I think it’s more than ceremony for Danny Ferry to allow Bagley to wear his number. Bagley can be used just like Ferry to space the floor as a stretch-4, and with K’s (and Bagley’s) obsession with Kevin Durant, I think you’ll see him facing the basket more often than not.

Marques Bolden is getting a tremendous amount of love from Chapel Hill and Lexington today on social media from people who are very concerned with his development, but I think he’s pretty well locked into a two-man rotation at the five with Wendell Carter. I think you’ll see Duval, Allen, Trent, Bagley and Cater/Bolden with Javin DeLaurier and Jordan Tucker available to add a little bit of depth when needed. Duke isn’t a very deep team this year, so those top six will see a ton of minutes. So get ready for the hot takes about how Duke should be developing Jack White and Antonio Vrankovic at the expense of NBA first rounders. It’s coming.

But forget what this means for the lineup. Let’s talk about us. You and I pretty consistently talk about how #blessed we are to see these future NBA stars up close. I’ll never understand any argument against one and done players. Coach K (and perhaps more so Jeff Capel) have been Calipari South, only with a lot more championships. Yes, Jay Wright, Roy Williams, Mark Few and Tom Izzo have found consistent success riding multi-year players, but don’t tell me for a second that any of those guys would pass on Parker, Ingram, Tatum, Bagley, etc. Recruiting prowess aside, what makes these guys flock to Durham? And looking beyond next year, what’s Bagley’s place in the draft, and what does he gain by making that leap to the NBA in 2018 versus 2019?

And how awesome for us is it that we get to see the Dennis Smith Jrs. and Marvin Bagleys of the world?


Geisinger: Oh, man. I can’t wait for those Pros vs. Joes #takes with Duke’s rotation. Should be a treat. I’ll savor them, like I did the “I think NC State would be better without DSJ” shrieks from last season. Those were fun, too. I’m still laughing about those — ask Hayes.

It’s important to note with Bagley, too, that he can handle it as well — hence some of the Lamar Odom comparisons (Jamaica, Queens, whattup!). Maybe we’ll get to see he and Grayson Allen run some inverted two-man action this season, which would be cool. I’m all in for teams getting weird, going positionless and mixing up where the attack originates from.

I’m curious to see — if they explore more pick-and-roll action — how Bagley will function as a playmaker on short roles. These are the plays where he catches the ball on a roll, and is too far away from the hoop to two-step to the hoop. Will he be able to find shooters in the weak side corner (I say we leave a blue and white traffic cone here to commemorate Matt Jones), or Carter sliding along the baseline for a slam? There’s nothing better than a big dude with vision and passing skills.

Or instead, will he be able to put the ball on the deck a few times and then get to the rim? I’ll bet yes on that.

You also gotta think those dribble handoffs (DHOs) Duke used to carve up opponents with Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard last season will transfer over to Bagley and Allen. That’s going to be a monster to stop.

I don’t want to get too far out into the weeds on college basketball recruiting. I’ll say is this, though: fans don’t actually care how the sausage gets made as long as it tastes good. In the end, they just want to win games, championships, bragging rights, etc.

There are a lot of ways to go about doing that, and it’s humorous to think a fan base would prefer one over the other. At end of the day, it’s about getting good players and finding ways for them to play cohesive ball, NBA pipeline or not. Plus, it’s not like Roy Williams and Tom Izzo didn’t recruit some of these guy, too.

Before wrapping this up, Everyone knows that Bagley wants to get into the NBA as soon as possible so he can start his rookie deal. But that’s where that note stops; so let’s add a little more detail.

Assuming Bagley enters the 2018 NBA Draft, which duh, he is a lock to be a top-3 pick. And most likely one of the first two selection. Slovenian wunderkind Luke Donic — a 6-7 guard for Real Madrid — is supposedly the truth; it looks like he and Bagley will duke it out for the top selection.

The No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft is scaled to make $6.8 million in first-year salary. However, that player could and would likely make 120 percent of that — roughly $8.2 million. The No. 2 pick would make around $7.31 million.

Over the course of the players’ first four years in the league (two year guaranteed, plus two team options), the No. 1 pick would make around $40.4 million; the second pick would be around $36.2 million.

The much bigger money, however, comes with the second deal; if Bagley is the real deal, then let would likely be an max rookie extension. He could agree to the terms of this deal after his third season in the league; it would kick in after that third season, though — so at the start of the 2022-23 season.

Bagley could conceivable his restricted free agency in the summer of 2022, but it’s unlikely that he’d sit and wait for that if the year before he had the ability to lock in for over $150 million. And that’s why he and his family want (rightfully so) for him to hit the NBA, ASAP. This is what Andrew Wiggins — the No. 1 pick back in 2014 — is dealing with right now.

That could all also impact future extension that Bagley could sign, including the league’s new super max deals — worth well over $200 million.

That’s all well down the road, though. First things first, Bagley and Duke have business to handle next season in Durham.

Check back throughout the day as Ben and BG continue to go back and forth on Marvin Bagley’s announcement to join Duke next year.