Why it’s not all doom and gloom for the Sacramento Kings.
De’Aaron Fox is having a terrific fourth season in the NBA for the Sacramento Kings.
Fox has steadily increased his scoring from 11.6 points per game during his rookie season to 23.8 points per game this season. This month of March has seen Fox play some terrific basketball and further prove why he deserved to be selected for the All-Star game. Through nine games in March, the Kings have a 5-4 record.
Fox has scored at least 30 points four times in March and continues to lead the Kings with his tremendous all-around play. Fox has established himself as the fastest player in basketball end to end and with or without the ball. He has learned how to use his elite speed to his advantage turning on the jets when driving to the basket and slowing down when out on the perimeter and surveying the defense.
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He has also improved his playmaking skills, averaging 7.4 assists and his 3-point shooting, making 1.8 per game at a 32.5 percent clip. Fox has really improved his jump shot and mastered the lost art of the mid-range pull-up, making a lot of shots in the free-throw line area.
Fox can get to the basket and beat defenders off the dribble because of his speed and has excellent stop-and-go instincts when weaving through the paint. Fox can still improve on his defense, shot selection, and free throw shooting to become a better all-around player.
The other Sacramento Kings
Outside of Fox, Richaun Holmes has developed a nice on-court chemistry with Fox and utilizes an effective push shot when he can’t get to the rim for a dunk. Holmes, the starting Kings center is averaging 13.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and is an active player around the paint both offensively and defensively. Holmes plays with great energy and gives them decent rim protection defensively and offensively is a solid lob threat for both Fox and Tyrese Haliburton.
Kings rookie, Tyrese Haliburton, the 12th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft has exceeded expectations and played excellently to start his career. Haliburton’s play belies his 21 years of age since he has a high degree of basketball awareness and knows how to play both on and off the ball effectively.
Haliburton can create for others and has an advanced understanding of the mechanics of the pick and roll exhibiting great vision and how to create passing lanes with the attention he draws. Haliburton plays at his own pace and is already an effective spot-up 3-point shooter despite his unorthodox shot mechanics. Haliburton might be the favorite to win Rookie of the Year, especially with the unfortunate wrist injury of LaMelo Ball who could miss the rest of the season.
Haliburton is averaging 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and five assists per game and is coming off a career high 28 points in a 119-105 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week. Fox had 30 points and six assists in what could be the continuation of a great backcourt partnership with Fox and Haliburton for years to come.
Haliburton stated after that win:
"“I think we can be really good together, not only do we get along off the court, but on the court we’re learning each other everyday. You know it’s like that when our communication is non-verbal.”"
This sounds like a partnership that should lead to a lot of wins for the Kings especially because both Fox and Haliburton make their teammates better with their playmaking abilities.
With the hand injury to Marvin Bagley III keeping him out of the starting lineup, Haliburton should continue to start for the Kings and give them a second ball-handler and creator to play with Fox. With Fox, Haliburton, and Buddy Hield (16.9 PPG) the Kings have a trio of young guards to build around as they try to lead this perpetually struggling franchise back to the playoffs.
Marvin Bagley III has started all 37 games he’s played in, with averages of 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. These aren’t exactly eye-popping statistics from the second overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The situation only gets direr because the Kings passed on Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Collin Sexton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Michael Porter Jr. all players that would’ve been better draft picks than Marvin Bagley III.
One of the reasons struggling franchises continue to lose games season after season is because of draft misses and the Kings are no different and the latest miss was Bagley III. With the NBA Trade Deadline rapidly approaching this week, Bagley III has been put on the trade block as the Kings look to cut their losses and continue to build around Fox and Haliburton.
The Kings are currently 18-25 and are 13th in the Western Conference. The team is still within striking distance of getting into the play-in games for the playoffs if they can finish no lower than the 10th seed. There are still 29 regular-season games left for the Kings to improve their chances of making the postseason and next up are the surging Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, winners of eight of their last 10 games.