It’s time to talk about the Kings, yes the basketball ones, and how they shot out of the gate this season. More importantly it’s time to talk about De’Aaron Fox because, quite frankly, he deserves it. The Kings are 6-4 as of this writing and sit in sixth place in the comically loaded Western Conference. Is ten games enough to judge a team and more importantly is ten games into a players sophomore campaign enough time to declare him a franchise altering prodigy? Probably not. However this team has six wins around Halloween when most thought Saint Nicholas would arrive before Sacramento’s first win, and De’Aaron Fox deserves the credit.
So why the hot start? Lets be clear here, this isn’t all on Fox. Buddy Hield is leading the team in, not only teeth, but points per game as well at 19.7 a night. Willie (his mama call him Willie so I call him Willie) Cauley-Stein is grabbing around 8 boards a game. Outside of assists (7.6) Fox isn’t leading the team in any value stat. At 18.6 ppg 7.6 apg and 4.7 rpg his numbers are well above mediocre but at a glance don’t warrant such titles as “franchise altering”. I can hear you ask the obvious question; “why does this guy deserve praise?” The answer is a lot more simple than you’d think. It’s because this team goes where and when he goes, and he’s already taken them to a place where no one thought they’d be; relevance.
On the first of this month Fox exploded for 31 points 15 assists and 10 rebounds which contributed to a 146-115 drubbing of the lowly Atlanta Hawks. Yeah I get it, it’s the Hawks. You could roll Antoine Walker out of bed right now and he’d give Atlanta work for a full 48. However, back on the 26th of October he hung 18 and 9 on NBA All Star John Wall. Yes, Wall isn’t exactly the spokes person for “hellacious defense” or “caring” but Fox’s willingness to not only battle, but hold his own, against some of the best the league has to offer is remarkable. This isn’t an isolated incident at the start of a young season either. He dropped 21 and 7 on last years rookie of the year runner up Donovan Mitchell. He put up the same stat line on noted preventer of points Jrue Holiday. The same Jrue Holiday who gave Portland stars Damian Lillard and Cj McCollum nightmares in last years opening round sweep.
The NBA is full of young talent, maybe the most it’s had since the mid 2000’s. Guys like Jayson Tatum and Ben Simmons are at the forefront of this influx of youth and Fox isn’t as good as those guys. However, he’s averaging more points than Simmons and more points and assists than Tatum, while having a better record than Simmons’ Sixers and an equal record as Tatum’s Celtics. What Fox and the Kings are doing should be drawing the adoration of every young team in basketball. Devin Booker is scoring at will left and right but Phoenix can’t get out of the bottom of the West, yet he’s surrounded by this year’s first overall pick Deandre Ayton and last year’s fourth pick Josh Jackson. This isn’t a knock on Booker either, he has massive upside and will be a star in this league for years. However, it speaks volumes as to what Fox is doing in Sacramento with far less glamorous pieces outside of Marvin Bagley III.
I know Sacramento isn’t the coolest city to talk about. It’s at best the fifth best city in its own state. I’d rather talk about Anchorage, Alaska for an hour before I look at a picture of Sacramento for five minutes, but that shouldn’t stop De’Aaron Fox from becoming the talk of the league. As Fox continues to outperform the majority of his draft class, especially the two point guards selected ahead of him (Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball), we as fans shouldn’t allow where he plays and what team he plays for stop us from singing his praise. Yes, De’Aaron Fox plays for a bottom market team in a city that Adam Silver would sacrifice livestock to get out of his league, but this team has started off great and it might carry on for a while. The Kings haven’t really done anything positive for a decade, wasting the first seven years of Demarcus Cousins’ career. Sacramento being relevant is great for the city, refreshing for a league that has had the same status quo since 2015, and fantastic for fans of basketball. For that, you can thank De’Aaron Fox, and we all should do it loudly.
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