Kings coach Dave Joerger clarifies comments on Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic, praises Marvin Bagley III

Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic has looked like the truth so far in his rookie season. He's putting up 17.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, while shooting over 36 percent on 3-pointers, and has already had multiple clutch moments. 

It's safe to say that a number of the teams that passed on him early in the 2018 NBA Draft are already lamenting their decision. One of those teams was the Sacramento Kings, who had the No. 2 overall pick and opted to take Marvin Bagley III instead of the Slovenian sensation. Although Bagley has been solid, he certainly hasn't been Doncic, and everyone in Sacramento has surely taken notice. 

That includes coach Dave Joerger. Prior to the Kings' game against the Mavericks on Sunday evening, Joerger had some high praise for Doncic. "Perhaps there was an idea that there was a ceiling on him," Joerger said. "I don't see it, unfortunately for us. But he's great for them and he's great for our league."

This is pretty notable for a few reasons. First of all, you have the coach of a team who passed on Doncic saying the rookie has no ceiling. It's certainly possible to read that as Joerger publicly admitting that he wished the Kings had drafted Doncic. 

That alone would be interesting enough, but there's also the fact that Joerger has found himself in some hot water earlier in the season for not playing the guy the Kings did pick -- Bagley -- enough. At one point, there were reports that some in the front office wanted to fire Joerger over Bagley's lack of playing time. 

But on Monday, Joerger tried to downplay the comment, saying he wasn't throwing veiled shots at anyone and offered plenty of praise for Bagley. In fact, he went so far as to say that Bagley and De'Aaron Fox could be the next Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

That might be stretching it, but hey, good job by Joerger to put a quick end to this mini-controversy. It's hard to say you have any doubts about the guy your team drafted when you compare him to Kevin Durant. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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