Kings' De'Aaron Fox explains why Nemanja Bjelica starts over Marvin Bagley


It's been one of the biggest talking points among Kings fans this season.

Why isn't 2018 No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III starting? Why is 30-year-old Nemanja Bjelica, who has been a bench player most of his career, starting over Bagley?

Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox shed a little light on that in the latest Posted Up podcast with Yahoo's Chris Haynes.

The answer, though, came out during a question about what Fox's first thought is on a fast break.

"First thing I’m thinking is, get a layup" Fox told Haynes. "Second thing is, if I’m not going to get a layup, I’m going to attack, but it’s really just to see what the defense does because if there’s one defender in front of me, that’s still a layup. For the most part, I’m not looking at who’s guarding me. It’s the second and third level defenders. So if I make a move and somebody helps, I’m just going to kick it."

That's when Fox dropped this nugget.

"And I think with our starting lineup, for sure, and which is why everyone questions why Marvin [Bagley] is not starting and this and that," Fox said. "I think [Nemanja Bjelica] spreads the floor so well and that’s what opens up my lanes, that’s what opens up driving lanes. [Iman Shumpert] is shooting the ball well, everybody knows Buddy [Hield] can shoot the ball and Belly can shoot the ball, they’re both, for their careers, shooting over 40 percent. So, if you help, it’s like pick your poison. Help or don’t help. If you don’t help, I’m going to get a layup or dump off to Willie. If you do help, we’ve got shooters on the wing."

The Bjelica-Bagley dynamic has been a point of contention this season. In November, Haynes reported that there was a "substantial disconnect" between Joerger and the Kings' front office regarding the playing time of Bagley, Harry Giles and Skal Labissiere. The Kings later came out and denied the report.

The Kings like to be patient with their top picks. Last year, Fox wasn't thrust into the starting lineup right away. He came off the bench for the first part of the season and learned behind veteran George Hill.

Now, the Kings are taking the same approach with Bagley. And they are able to do it due to the presence of someone like Bjelica, who fits well with what the Kings are trying to do, which is run, push the pace and spread the floor.

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