Duke basketball: Marvin Bagley III trade fits his blood

Duke basketball forward Marvin Bagley III (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Marvin Bagley III (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

Two Duke basketball players in the NBA are teaming up in the Motor City.

Hours before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, the Sacramento Kings shipped Duke basketball product Marvin Bagley III to the Detroit Pistons as part of a four-team deal.

Bagley was the No. 2 overall pick in 2018 following an ACC Player of the Year campaign in his lone season at Duke. Pretty much ever since, seemingly due to his inconsistent playing time and other various beef, the 6-foot-11, 235-pound crafty power forward and his inner circle have made no secret about their wish for him to find a way out of Sacramento.

Wish granted.

With the move, Bagley joins another former one-and-done Blue Devil already in Detroit: point guard Frank Jackson, a 2017 second-round draft pick averaging double-digit points for the first time in his career by securing a spot in the regular rotation for the cellar-dweller Pistons (12-42).

Detroit Pistons in the Duke basketball alum’s bloodline

Marvin Bagley III’s grandfather, the 80-year-old Joe Caldwell, went No. 2 overall at the 1964 NBA Draft to the Detroit Pistons, averaging 10.7 points between two seasons in Motown before becoming a four-time All-Star elsewhere.

Caldwell — also known as “Pogo” or “Jumpin’ Joe” — is father to Bagley’s mother, Tracy Caldwell, and was a regular at Duke games during his grandson’s Blue Devil playing days.

All things considered, outside of his new team’s lowly record, it seems Marvin Bagley III’s move may equate to a personal upgrade. The mere 22-year-old should enjoy more opportunities to showcase his array of moves and rabbit-like reflexes down low; still, he must commit to improving his defense (0.7 blocks per game for his career) and outside stroke (29.9 percent from downtown).

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