But this isn’t really a discussion of who to trust or not. The fact of the matter is that a large amount (probably the majority) of the basketball world’s projections of Luka didn’t match up to what he has become. While he should be commended for it, it’s not like everyone out there saw Luka’s transformation coming AND getting back to the root discussion in this thread, him figuring out that NBA refs will more often than not call fouls in favor of offensive players even when they initiate the majority of the contact and deciding to jack up step back threes at a rate unseen in NBA history doesn’t make Marvin Bagley a lesser human being for some reason.
When it comes to the draft, NBA front office people are largely guilty of living in the past and failing to look at prospects with an eye for the future. That's why you get guys like Giannis and Steph Curry later in the first round while all the teams at the top swing and miss chasing after the flavor of the week. Most mock drafts are nonsense for this reason. It's all groupthink and confirmation bias. Vlade had a different problem though - - one enormous blind spot in his talent evaluation. If there was a projectable big man on the board, he was taking them no matter what even if we already had more big guys on the roster than we knew what to do with. Bagley was the ultimate example of the springy pogo stick big guys Vlade talked himself into every single year. None of them have worked out. 2018 gets the most attention because of that #2 pick but it was a problem for Vlade every year. The 2017 draft should have been an absolute slam dunk: take Fox at #5 and his Kentucky teammate Bam Adebayo at #10. Those two picks alone should have propelled us to the playoffs. But Adebayo was a bruiser not a pogo stick so we got Harry Giles instead, and didn't even pick up his fourth year option.
None of this is to say that Marvin Bagley III is a bad player. He's a perfectly adequate if flawed young big man who needs a lot of time in the weight room and a coach to be in his ear every day about defensive rotations. Based on past history Sacramento is possibly the worst place for him to be to develop as a player since we don't coach defense nor are we cutting age in our application of resistance training. He's going to be free to chuck away to his heart's content and expend the minimum level of effort on defense until the fans or the front office eventually turn on him. It's already happened over and over again with similar players. It may even happen with De'Aaron Fox.
The nuance that seems to have been lost in most of these discussions is that looking objectively at who a player is and where their weak spots are and concluding that it ain't really going to work out for them here is not the same thing as rooting for a guy to fail. If we hired our own Tom Thibodeau and imported the Golden State model of cutting edge data-driven physical development, maybe... (I thought this was the plan actually when Vivek first took over and brought Mike Malone with him, but I digress) Failing that? I'm sorry Marvin, you deserve better but sometimes that's just how things go. Some guys luck into perfect situations and some don't. A skilled offensive player who can dictate the pace of the game by their ability to get their shot off against anyone and create easy shots for their teammates with exceptional court vision is more or less foolproof. You can surround them with spot up shooters and defensive role players and win big. But as impressive as a pogo stick athletic big guy may be against college competition, if they can't create off the dribble or punish the defense with elite passing ability to beat double teams they're going to require a system catered specifically to their needs to maybe lead a team anywhere. Just ask former "best young player in the league" Anthony Davis about that. If ever there was a player Vlade couldn't resist despite all of the data pointing toward the young James Harden clone tearing up the Euroleague, Marvin Bagley was it and Bagley who played no role in putting this roster together, hiring the coaching staff, or designing the broken offense is going to be the one who suffers for that unfortunate reality.