No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley has been solid for the Kings.
No. 3 pick Luka Doncic has been even better for the Mavericks.
Doncic had 28 points and nine assists against Sacramento yesterday. Though the Kings won, questions have still swirled about why they didn’t just draft Doncic. Sacramento coach Dave Joerger even weighed in on the rookie.
Joerger, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:
“Perhaps there was an idea that there was a ceiling on him – I don’t see it, unfortunately for us,” Joerger said. “He’s great for them and he’s great for our league.”
Coaches commonly praise a young opponent then add a variation of “unfortunately for us” – as in, unfortunately we’ll have to play against him for many years.
But it’s easy to infer deeper significance here.
The Kings seemingly drafted Bagley for bad reasons – i.e., his desire to go to Sacramento. Doncic looked like the better prospect. But Kings assistant general manager Brandon Williams helped steer the team toward Bagley. When Joerger played veteran Nemanja Bjelica over Williams-preferred Bagley, that caused drama earlier this season. The Williams-Joerger rift apparently continued, too.
So, Joerger’s remarks could have been a thinly veiled shot at Sacramento’s front office. Maybe the coach didn’t intended it that way, but it wouldn’t be a huge leap.