Marvin Bagley, Duke’s prodigiously talented forward, is only 18 years old. It’s scary how good he already is. He hung 34 and 15 on Texas and its prized freshman Mohamed Bamba last week; then put up 30-15 while bringing Duke back to beat Florida. Bagley just abused Indiana for 23 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday in another win.
There’s no doubt he’s the best player in the sport right now.
With Missouri forward Michael Porter out – for probably the entire season – and European teenage star Luka Doncic over 4,000 miles away playing in Spain, Bagley is cementing himself as the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. That’s still seven months away, but NBA teams would be wise to start tanking for him.
Let’s start with the LA Clippers, who were predictably crippled by injuries. Blake Griffin is hurt and out two months. Danilo Gallinari is hurt. Point guard Patrick Beverley is out for the season. This team won’t make the playoffs.
Will that put the Clippers to Bulls/Hawks/Mavs/Kings status among the worst teams in the league? Certainly.
Why wouldn’t Memphis try the same thing. Point guard Mike Conley is hurt (and like Blake Griffin, he just signed a lucrative extension). At 7-13, the Grizzlies are facing an uphill climb to the playoffs after firing their coach. Why not tank for Bagley?
Back in June, before Bagley reclassified, it was a battle between Porter and Doncic for the #1 pick. After a month of watching Bagley, those guys can fight for the #2 spot.