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A Rivalry Of The Future: Bagley vs. Ayton

Two immensely talented young stars will compete for years and years

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St Francis v Duke
DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 05: Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after a shot against the St. Francis (Pa) Red Flash during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 5, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

We haven’t seen Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton play a lot but there’s no mistaking one thing: the guy is absolutely huge. Not quite Shaq huge but he’s as close as we’ll see to that anytime soon.

So we can’t fully comment on this discussion about who’s better, Ayton and Duke’s Marvin Bagley, but it’s certainly interesting.

We can say this: we can’t imagine that Ayton is a much better passer than Bagley, whose gift is subtle. He’s not a flashy passer but he gets the ball where it needs to go. He has great court vision and

And there’s two other things to keep in mind. We expect that Bagley, already a sound three point shooter, will get better. Who wants a guy built like Ayton popping threes? His coaches will always tell him: hit the boards. Hit the boards. Hit the boards.

Bagley is also a fine rebounder - their stats are pretty close - but there is one difference that doesn’t show up statistically.

Ayton already has an NBA body. You might argue that he has an NFL body. The guy is massive. He’s listed at 7-1 and 250 but looks more like 280.

And Bagley?

Immensely gifted, his body is still that of a teenage boy. He’s listed at 6-11 and 234; he looks more like 215.

Ayton is built like a young Shaq, Bagley like a young Kevin Durant.

In five years, Ayton will be more mature and stronger, as any guy his age will be. Bagley though will be able to assert himself inside and that’s something he can’t really do now. Oh he can jump over people, but he can’t really muscle people.

Not yet.

When he can though, he’s going to be impossible.

In the long term, our money is on Bagley.

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