San Antonio Spurs: Marvin Bagley could be West’s next feared big man

NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 22: NBA Draft 2017 held in Barclays Center in Brooklyn borough of New York, United States on June 22, 2017. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 22: NBA Draft 2017 held in Barclays Center in Brooklyn borough of New York, United States on June 22, 2017. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) /

Marvin Bagley’s potential arrival for the 2017-18 college basketball seasons may mean he’s one step closer to dominating the San Antonio Spurs, and the Western Conference, by the fall of 2018.

During the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Western Conference was dominated by big men. Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin McHale, and Patrick Ewing are just some of those players. This is along with the San Antonio Spurs’ David Robinson, who led the team for nearly a decade, before Tim Duncan was selected in the 1997 NBA Draft.

The NBA has become a small man’s game, however;. No longer are the days there of dominant big men that use finesse and power moves inside. Now, it’s guards, wings, and a game of positionless basketball.

The 2018 NBA Draft has a chance of at least shifting things toward the classic, nostalgic feel of the Association. That will potentially see centers Mohamed Bamba and DeAndre Ayton of Texas and Arizona, respectively, go in the top-10 of the draft. However, they may be joined — and topped — by Marvin Bagley III.

Bagley was set to be part of the 2019 recruiting class, but, according to Evans Daniels of Scout, that could be moved up by a full calendar year.

Sources: Marvin Bagley, the top player in HS hoops, files paperwork with NCAA to potentially reclassify | Story:

— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) July 28, 2017

That means Bagley could be on a college basketball court for the fall of 2017, play a full season, and depart in April for the 2018 NBA Draft. If so, this is the potential No. 1 overall pick.

Bagley just misses on being a legit 7-feet, as he stands at about 6-foot-11. His wingspan is 7-feet which, along with his top-notch athleticism, should at least make him a terrific rim protector.

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Along with this, Bagley has the tools that fit into the modern-day profile of an NBA big man. The ability is there to shoot from all distances on the floor, which an increasing amount of NBA big men have shown the range for over the past few seasons. That will only look better if the Sierra Canyon product can be a force around the rim and as a matchup nightmare, while teams worry if they need to get someone on him to defend the rim or perimeter.

Bagley can even make his teammates better, with unselfish passing and the ability to handle the ball, as notes. He could draw double-teams, leaving at least one shooter open on the perimeter, allowing the team to space the floor.

While not rail-thin at 225 pounds, Bagley could stand to add more muscle. That will help him push his way inside to grab more rebounds and work on his post-game.

If we’re looking at who Bagley could go to in the 2018 NBA Draft, things set up well for the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics might hold two of the top-five picks, due to trades with the Philadelphia 76ers (it’s the Los Angeles Lakers’ pick) and Brooklyn Nets, so they could be candidates for Bagley. The New York Knicks may be in contention, too, especially if they deal Carmelo Anthony.

The Spurs won’t have a chance at Bagley unless injuries ravage the team next season. They may have to look at teams like the Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks or Phoenix Suns, though, all of whom have the potential to be at or near the top of the 2018 NBA Draft order.

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Bagley could be part of an intriguing 2018 class, featuring Bamba, Ayton, and Michael Porter. Oh, and Zion Williamson may be the next part of the future of the NBA in 2019. So, it’s safe to say marquee talent is on the way.