The King’s promising young rookie Marvin Bagley went down with an apparent knee injury late in their game against the Milwaukee Bucks. After running into a hard screen set by Malcolm Brogdon, Bagley fell awkwardly to the floor and collapsed on his left knee before being helped off of the floor.
Take a look at the collision that led to Bagley’s injury here:
Immediate Impact of Bagley’s Injury
Bagley had been enjoying a very strong stretch of play in recent weeks and had repeatedly shown flashes of the talent that made him the second overall draft pick last year. An athletic rebounder with an arsenal of post moves much more mature than your average 19-year-old, Bagley has been a dominant force for the Kings since the all-star break. With a streak of three double-doubles heading into tonight and averages of 24 points and 11.7 rebounds per game during that stretch, Bagley was a driving force in the Kings win over the Thunder and close loss to the Warriors.
A team contending for a playoff spot in a loaded Western Conference, the Kings need all the help they can get and had recently seemed to be hitting a stride. Unfortunately, Bagley’s injury looked to be fairly serious and losing him for the long term could be devastating to this team’s playoff chances. The Kings still have loads of talent in their frontcourt, including former first-round pick Harry Giles, but Bagley offers them a game-altering talent that they lack down low.
NBA Playoff Implications
Despite the obvious hole that Bagley leaves in the frontcourt, the Kings are a young and talented bunch that could very well still sneak their way into the 8th seed in the West. The Clippers currently hold the 8th seed in the Western Conference with a 1.5 game lead over the Kings but recently shipped off the best player on their team in Tobias Harris. The Clippers retain their draft pick if they miss the playoffs, so despite their front office claiming otherwise, they most likely will fall out of that 8th seed.
Behind the Kings sit the struggling Lakers. Missing key contributor Lonzo Ball (potentially for a long time) the Lakers have struggled defensively despite bringing LeBron James back in the mix. However, one can’t help but feel that the Lakers will at some point get hot and make a run down the stretch. When healthy, the Lakers have shown to be one of the better teams in the Western Conference and LeBron hasn’t missed the playoffs since his second year in the league. Most projections aren’t high on the Lakers making the playoffs right now, but it would be safe to assume that they at least will make the Kings or Clippers sweat.