Beard: Bagley sees 'bigger picture' with Pistons, looks to be part of culture shift

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Detroit — When Marvin Bagley III arrived to the Pistons at the trade deadline, the objective was to get a good look at what he could bring to the team.

With restricted free agency likely looming this offseason, Bagley only had about 25 games to make an impression and for general manager Troy Weaver to figure out if it would be a potential long-term fit.

Detroit Pistons forward Marvin Bagley III (35) grabs a rebound in front of Atlanta Hawks forward Onyeka Okongwu (17).

So far, it looks to be good on both sides.

The Pistons are 6-8 in games that Bagley has played, and he’s scored in double figures in 12 of those 14 games, including a pair of 20-point outings. More than that, he’s provided a post threat to complement the rest of the offense, and he’s looked comfortable on the offensive end.

It’s looking like Bagley could be a valuable piece in the rebuild, and at 23 years old, he could be a long-term addition, if the Pistons are able to hold on to him. If they make a qualifying offer, Bagley will become a restricted free agent, and they’ll have the ability to match any offer sheet that another team offers.

Bagley already is getting comfortable and buying into the path forward.

“I'm telling you, this team is going to be great. We've got a lot of great pieces and I'm excited to be here and a part of it, and just building something with this team,” Bagley said. “Everybody's sticking with it. We know what we're trying to get to. Every game, I feel like we're getting better. Win or lose, we do a lot of great things out there, and we're just continuing to learn from each other and come together as a group.

“We've got a great team here and we're going to be something special if we continue to lock in on that and look at the bigger picture and continue to keep getting better every single day.”

In Wednesday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks, Bagley had 13 points and six rebounds, and he’s establishing consistency with the second unit. When he’s pressed into starting duty, he’s been good as well, showing that he can play multiple roles for the Pistons, as a center or power forward.

He’s looking to be part of a culture shift with the team, turning around their struggles this season and moving toward a winning season next year. In the win over the Hawks, the Pistons had their biggest lead of the season, and they let is slip some, but they were able to hang on in the second half.

“Since I've been here, we've lost some leads, and that's something that we talk about, just keeping our foot on the gas, not letting up, and playing like it's 0-0, no matter if we're up 20 or 30, and try to finish the game out,” Bagley said. “I think we did a good job with that, and (the Hawks) went on a little run in the third quarter.

“We just kept our cool and continued to do what we do and came out with the win.”

Beard: As season comes to a close, Pistons face various possibilities and scenarios

Pistons sign Key to contract

The Pistons had an open roster spot and decided to do something with it.

The team announced Thursday that it has signed Braxton Key to a 10-day contract.

Key, 25, is a 6-foot-8 forward who has played in two games with the Philadelphia 76ers this season and he averaged 1 point and 1 rebound.

Key posted 18.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks in 28.2 minutes per game with the Delaware Blue Coats, the Sixers’ G League affiliate, this season. 

In 43 career games in the G League, Key has averaged 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks in 23.7 minutes, all with the Blue Coats.   

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter.com: @detnewsRodBeard

Wizards at Pistons

► Tipoff: 7 p.m. Friday, Little Caesars Arena

► TV/radio: BSD/97.1

► Outlook: The Wizards (30-41) beat the Pistons on March 1 but lost eight of their next 10 games. The Pistons (20-53) are

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