After a turbulent tenure with the Sacramento Kings, the Detroit Pistons gave Marvin Bagley a fresh start to unlock his untapped potential as a member of their core going forward.
“He’s a very valuable piece for what we’re doing,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s a lob threat. I think that’s what he brings to the table. He can score down on that low post. We’re excited to have him. He’s a big part of what we’re building here.”
Following an 18-game stint where Bagley averaged career-highs in minutes per game (27.2) and field goal percentage (.555), the Pistons re-signed him to a three-year, $37.5 million contract this offseason.
With a new contract and a secure role on a Pistons team looking to show improvement this season, Casey believes Bagley is displaying the right attitude to have a big year and help the team win more games.
“He really cares,” Casey added. “He wants to win. He wants to get better. He’s very coachable. That’s what excites me about Marvin. He’s a sponge about learning things. The future’s going to be bright for him.”
The 23-year-old forward sat down with HoopsHype before facing the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden to discuss how coach Casey has helped him in Detroit, why he re-signed with the Pistons, what he learned from his Kings tenure, what to expect from the Pistons this season, and more.
What went through your mind when you re-signed with Detroit?
Marvin Bagley: I was super excited. Me and my family were excited about the opportunity to be here, keep growing, and get better as a player and a person on and off the floor. Being around my teammates and creating that chemistry and those bonds you won’t forget long after you’re done playing.
What’s it been like for you coming to Detroit after your time in Sacramento?
MB: It’s been great. I came in with an open mind. I didn’t know what to expect when I got traded here. When I got here, I played my game and was able to be myself. Coach Casey helped me out a lot. The guys on the team welcomed me when I got here. I feel like I caught up pretty quickly and was able to go out, play and be a part of the games towards the end of the year. To start off the season with the team and go through a full training camp is exciting.
What’s your NBA journey been like for you coming from Duke and Sacramento? Has it been what you thought it would be, or is anything different given your experience?
MB: It’s been a lot of ups and downs. A lot of lessons I had to learn and go through. At the end of the day, something I learned is it’s not about what I want. It’s what God wants and his will. That’s how I approach every day. I learned a lot of lessons in Sacramento that I can take with me for the rest of my career. I’m grateful for every moment. I’m grateful for being here still on an NBA team and still playing basketball, which I’ve loved to do since I was a young kid. I count those blessings, appreciate them, and don’t take them for granted.
What particular lessons have stuck out to you?
MB: Keep going no matter what’s going on. This game is all about the work and not getting too high or too low. It’s a long season, and a lot can go on. Being mentally locked in on what the goal is and having that faith, belief, and confidence in yourself no matter what’s going on. That’s a huge key.
What are your goals now, individually for yourself and collectively, for the team?
MB: I just want to play basketball, be myself, and have fun again. The main thing is winning. That’s all that’s on my mind. Whatever the coach needs me to do, let’s win some games. That’s how I’m approaching it.
What did you think of the moves the Pistons made this offseason?
MB: It’s exciting. Troy (Weaver) knows what he’s doing. He gets guys that are good people who can help the team. Everybody gets along on and off the court. It’s going to be an exciting season. We’ve got a lot to learn and a lot of ups and downs to go through together, but that’s a part of it. As long as we stick together and stay as one through it all, we’ll be on top at the end of the road.
What are you expecting from Cade Cunningham in his second season?
MB: He’s going to do what Cade does. Cade’s a great player. He’s an All-Star-level player. When I first got here, I saw that really quickly. It’s fun playing with a guy like that whose IQ is high up there and who’s unselfish like him, who can do so many things out there and open up things for the rest of us. I’m excited to see the season he’ll have and what we have as a group.
What are your expectations for the Pistons this season?
MB: We don’t put a cap on it. We can do so many things with this team. Just keep learning, getting better, and putting in that work like we’ve been doing. When we turn around, the next thing you know, we’ll be where we want to be.
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