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Top 5 Unicorns in the 2018 NBA Draft

Sahar Hadida
ANALYST
Feature
1.03K   //    15 May 2018, 04:35 IST

Syracuse v Duke
Can Marvin Bagley Jr add to the long list of Unicorns in the league today?

Through the history of the NBA, the league was dominated by big-men. From Chamberlain, Russell and Kareem to Olajuwon, Robinson, Shaq and Duncan. However, it is not the case in recent years.

With the growing recognition of the importance of the three-pointers and the faster style of play, the classic centers and forwards lost the spotlight to guards and wing players. There is even an apparent change in MVP winners between the centuries; in the 20th century, 27 of the league's 44 winners of this individual title were centers - more than 60 percent.

In the 21st century, however, out of the 18 Most Valuable Players, only four were classic big-men. The last big man to win the title is Dirk Nowitzki - the prototype for modern day stretch-four and stretch-five players, but even that happened 11 years ago.

In order to adjust to the 3-point crazy basketball of today, a new creation has been born - "The Unicorn". A unicorn is basically a player who can do anything - shoot threes, rebound, play in the post, defend the rim, and all of that in a 6-10 tall package or more. Players like Davis, Embiid, Towns and Porzingis are the unicorn pioneers, but let's take a look at the ones who will join them this summer and possibly make this a league-wide phenomenon.


#1 Marvin Bagley III

Duke v Kansas
Marvin Bagley III

Height: 6-11 (2.11m)

Weight: 234lb (106kg)

Wingspan: 7-1 (2.15m)

Date of Birth: March 14, 1999

College: Duke, Fr.


We didn’t have to wait until his freshman year to know Marvin Bagley is a star basketball player. He received his first college basketball scholarship at the unbelievable age of 14 and was the top recruit of his high school class. He followed the path of previous high school stars and committed to play for Duke University.

Under the guidance of the Hall of Fame coach, Mike Krzyzewski, Bagley was only one of four players in the entire NCAA to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. He also led the league in offensive rebounds per-game among three-point shooters. An example of his all-around play abilities came in a game against Wake Forest, where he put up 30 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks.

Bagley was one of the nation's top-10 scorers and rebounders at a collegiate level, and led the Blue Devils to an NCAA tournament run that ended only at the Elite Eight phase. Playing against professional players will be harder on him, but will also help him toughen up and upgrade his defense, an important weapon for a unicorn.

As a consensus All-American, ACC Player of the Year and a finalist for the All-NCAA Naismith Player of the Year award, Bagley enters the league as a future star, and is expected to be a top-3 pick in the 2018 draft. He has the size and offensive prowess an NBA superstar need, if he can upgrade his defensive presence, he could control the league for years.

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Sahar Hadida
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