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Juicy Fruit Rookies

NBA Rookie Rewind presented by Juicy Fruit: Comparing Marvin Bagley III and Chris Bosh through 26 games

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Juicy Fruit Rookie Comparison (NBA.com Illustration)

Before he was even in college, Marvin Bagley III was drawing comparisons to former Toronto Raptors great Chris Bosh.

It's not a perfect comparison - Bagley's greatest weakness has long been his potential on defence and Bosh was one of the league's more impactful defenders in his prime - but the two do share a number of things in common.

Beyond being 6-foot-11 lefties who can play the power forward and centre position, Bagley and Bosh bring a similar skill set on offence with their ability to make plays with their back to the basket, score outside the paint, attack the offensive glass and run the floor in transition. While Bagley is the more explosive athlete, they're both incredibly smooth and agile for their size.

"One coach told me last night that Chris Bosh coming out of high school, they were similar," ESPN's Jeff Goodman said before Bagley's freshman season at Duke. "I remember Bosh a little bit. Obviously he's got a thinner frame, but Bagley can step out and make some shots, he's powerful in the post, he's extremely versatile, agile, he can run the court."

"Certainly he's got to get better stepping away and making shots, and that's where he's not quite Chris Bosh yet," Goodman continued. "But this kid can do just about everything at his size."

So how do they compare 26 games into their rookie seasons? Quite well, actually.

Bosh has the slight edge over Bagley in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, but he did so in considerably more minutes, the result of him being a full-time starter by game No. 14.

Bagley, on the other hand, continues to come off the bench for the Sacramento Kings despite being the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The long-term plan is for Bagley start, but for now, Nemanja Bjelica makes more sense starting alongside Willie Cauley-Stein in the frontcourt because of his 3-point shooting.

Bagley has at least shown a willingness to shoot from the perimeter. Whereas 3-pointers weren't a big part of Bosh's game until his late 20s, Bagley is already experimenting with 3s and making them at a decent rate (34.6 percent). He just isn't doing it with nearly the same volume and accuracy as Bjelica.

Bosh finished his rookie season with averages of 11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.0 assists and 0.8 steals per game. He was named a member of the All-Rookie First Team alongside Kirk Hinrich, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. He then became an All-Star for the first time in his career in his third season.

Bosh went on to make 10 more All-Star appearances, a number only 26 players in NBA history can beat.

The accolades don't end there for Bosh. Following seven seasons with the Raptors - one of which ended with him being named to an All-NBA Second Team - he moved to Miami, where he won two championships alongside James and Wade. Bosh hasn't played for the Heat since the 2015-16 season because of blood-clotting issues, but he still has hopes of playing in the NBA again.

The Kings can only hope that Bagley ends up having half the career Bosh does. Even if he never develops into a plus-defender, Bagley has the makings of a go-to scorer in the frontcourt who can complement De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento's point guard who is starting to look every bit of the star he was projected to be entering the 2017 NBA Draft.

With those two, plus Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Willie Cauley-Stein, it's safe to say the future of Kings basketball is in good hands.

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