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30Q: Will De’Aaron Fox make a superstar leap?

Consistency will define the rest of De'Aaron Fox's tenure in Sacramento.
By | 169 Comments | Sep 23, 2022

Feb 14, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

What sort of NBA player is De’Aaron Fox? Over the last five years, the Sacramento Kings have been hoping and praying for unquestionable stardom, which has yet to happen, while others around the league have viewed him as nothing more than a solid starting point guard who will never top out as a number one option on a contending team. In their most recent player rankings, CBS and ESPN certainly trended toward the latter option, placing Fox 57th and 54th overall respectively, a far cry from where anyone in Sacramento would wish De’Aaron to land.

As is often the case in these sorts of debates, the truth around Fox’s place in the league likely lies somewhere in the middle. He has yet to show the abilities of a true NBA star, but he’s also far better than a typical, average, everyday starting point guard. He’s not definitively good enough to be labeled a star, but he’s also not definitively average enough to be entirely dismissed from the conversation either.

So how does Fox break through that ceiling of an NBA star? Perhaps more important than any one skill or aspect of his game is his consistency. As has been well-documented over the last few years, De’Aaron tends to start fairly slowly, finds his rhythm in the middle of the season, and then accelerates toward the end. That’s not how stars operate. His baseline must be good, his average must be very good, and his occasional ceiling must be great, as opposed to what we witnessed last season.

The good news for Fox and those that believe in his destiny as the guy for this franchise is that he’s shown plenty of glimpses of that possibility; one needs to look no further than his performance in the post-Haliburton trade last year. In the Sabonis era, Fox dominated just about everyone on the floor, putting up 28.9 points per game, along with almost 7 assists, while knocking down 38% of his three-point attempts. That scoring binge propelled him to 14th in the league in points per game during that span, and more importantly, he executed at that level on a nearly nightly basis. Considering that prior to Domantas’ arrival, Fox’s best on-court partner was either a rookie in Tyrese Haliburton or the solid role player that is Harrison Barnes, his explosion in production is understandable with an actual star playing alongside him.

Of course, a 16-game hot streak cannot make up for a half-decade of almost, but not quite, and that’s where De’Aaron must step up, not for a span, but for a season. The Kings finally found him a relevant partner, they’ve secured a qualified head coach, and have built the roster to prop up his weaknesses on the offensive end of the floor. With all of those factors in line, Fox must find consistency on a night-to-night, week-to-week, and month-to-month basis, or the building blocks around him will simply crumble, and the Kings will once again be vying for a top lottery selection.

De’Aaron Fox can be a star in this league, but this upcoming season is a critical juncture in that journey. It’s extremely rare for NBA players to blossom into number one options six-plus years into their careers, and most of those are big men who took time to get comfortable or were injured. De’Aaron Fox is none of those things. In fact, over the last 20 years, of the 61 NBA guards who have been selected to the All-Star Team, only four have appeared for their first time after year six and have appeared in multiple All-Star games during their career. The exceptions to that rule being Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Kyle Lowry, and Zach LaVine, with LaVine’s later-career stardom having more to do with injuries than ability. The All-Star game certainly isn’t the only defining factor of an NBA star, but if De’Aaron hopes to break through and gain that reputation, it’s a good place to start, and his consistency, not skill set, will define that journey moving forward.

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169 Comments
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1951
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September 23, 2022 12:26 pm

Shouldn’t he leap to stardom before leaping to superstardom?

comment image

(Edit – reads article – oh, okay.)

Last edited 1 year ago by 1951
Kosta
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September 23, 2022 1:18 pm
Reply to  1951

How about “leapfrogging” then?

ZillersCat
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September 23, 2022 3:44 pm
Reply to  1951

comment image

RikSmits
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September 23, 2022 12:38 pm

He has yet to show the abilities of a true NBA star, but he’s also far better than a typical, average, everyday starting point guard.

Let’s see. There are 30 everyday starting point guards. So I would say the top 10 are above average, those in the 11-20 spots are average and the bottom 10 are below average.

So is Fox one of the top 10 PG’s in the league?

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
September 23, 2022 12:42 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I don’t think he is even in the top 20, and neither does CBS Sports.

https://twitter.com/TheNBACentral/status/1571897413673025536

Carl
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September 23, 2022 1:19 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

20. Haliburton

21. Brunson

22. Fox

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ArcoThunder
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September 23, 2022 4:33 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

if Ja were 7 instead of 3 i could maybe get upset about this.

ja aint 3. period

fox aint 22. period

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 23, 2022 5:02 pm
Reply to  ArcoThunder

It would be a curious poll:

Who would you not want on that list above 22 in place of Fox?

My gut says Brunson is unproven in a lead roll and Murray may never be the same after his injuries, but everyone else I’d think I’d take over Fox. Full admission, I also take contracts into account (Maxey), but I doubt this list does.

TheGrantNapear
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September 23, 2022 6:50 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Do you remember Murray before the injury? His playoff play was superstar level at various times. His game doesn’t rely on athleticism, he’ll be fine. I’d trade Fox for him straight up right now in a heartbeat.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 24, 2022 8:31 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Oh, for sure, he was fantastic, but I just don’t know how he’ll be going forward. Everyone is different. He may bounce back and be 100%, or he could be the next Danny Granger.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:48 pm
Reply to  ArcoThunder

Fox is definitely not three so does it matter?

Jack
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September 23, 2022 6:42 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

THEN TRADE THE GUY!!

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 1:06 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Bottom third.

Jack
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September 23, 2022 3:02 pm

THEN TRADE HE GUY!!

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 23, 2022 3:38 pm
Reply to  Jack

Who’s gonna want a bottom 3rd of top 30 PGs, on a max deal, who can’t shoot from 3?

Kingsguru21
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September 23, 2022 3:41 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Doncic and Simmons aren’t PGs to begin with. Neither is Harden. They are less ball handling wings is what they are.

Kingsguru21
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September 23, 2022 3:50 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Eh, I shoulda said they are offense iniating wings.

I have issues with McCollum and Murray being ahead of Fox as PGs, too. Neither initiate the offense.

Disagree about Cunningham, Smart and Maxey as well.

But, I find those lists are political exercises, not real talking points.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 23, 2022 3:55 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Then what is your definition of a PG?

Kingsguru21
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September 23, 2022 3:57 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

The primary ball handler who defends PGs.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 23, 2022 4:02 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Then who was the PG on Dallas last year?

Kingsguru21
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September 23, 2022 7:14 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Brunson.

But even then he wasn’t the primary ball handler. Dallas really doesn’t have a PG. Denver, too.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
Kings-Rebuild
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September 26, 2022 5:57 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Great questions. There is no definition of a PG in todays game. Dallas and the Lakers are good examples. Lebron is often the primary ball handler and what position do you give him.

rockbottom
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September 23, 2022 8:45 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Than Magic Johnson was not a point guard . Never guarded points, A point guard is the primary ball handler . Period

Daydreamer
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September 24, 2022 6:24 am
Reply to  rockbottom

They always called Scottie Pippin a point forward.

RikSmits
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September 23, 2022 11:28 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

This is weird. So if a classic PG like Chris Paul defends the opposing SG, he is not a PG?

No team sets up his D along those lines.

RikSmits
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September 23, 2022 11:26 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

And yet, we’re talking about them…

Kingsguru21
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September 24, 2022 11:04 am
Reply to  RikSmits

You are, Dutchman, I’m not. I don’t give them much creedence either way. They are at best talking points, at worst an exercise in displaying whichever bias you have against certain players.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 23, 2022 3:53 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

To me, that’s like saying Magic wasn’t a PG.

IF the player is the one who is brining up the ball, initiates the offense and has a solid amount of assists, then he’s probably the PG.

Kingsguru21
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September 23, 2022 3:58 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Magic’s a red herring. But that’s neither here nor there. Magic wasn’t a PG, he was a PF who was the lead ball handler. Otherwise known as an absolute freak of nature.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 23, 2022 4:03 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Wouldn’t that be like LeBron, Luka, or Simmons?

Kingsguru21
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September 23, 2022 7:14 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

They aren’t PGs either. Luka is arguably a SG, but I think he’s more of a SF. Simmons is a F but I’m not sure which. Because he’s versatile defensively, it matters little. LeBron is a PG? Since when?

rockbottom
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September 23, 2022 8:47 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Putting players in your box does not work or even close to accurate .

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 8:49 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I would take any of those as a point guard over Fox.

Jack
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September 23, 2022 6:43 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

THEN TRADE THE GUY!!

Kings-Rebuild
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September 26, 2022 6:00 am
Reply to  Jack

They should consider it definitely. I’m not sure there’s much of a market for him given he’s underperforming his contract significantly right now.

TheGrantNapear
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September 23, 2022 6:51 pm
Reply to  Jack

No one wants him.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 8:48 pm
Reply to  Jack

All for trading him. I think they tried last year but Indiana wanted the real point guard instead.

Jack
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September 23, 2022 6:43 pm

THEN TRADE THE GUY!!

TheGrantNapear
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September 23, 2022 6:52 pm
Reply to  Jack

THEN TRADE THE GUY!

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 8:53 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

THEN TRADE THE GUY!

I think we all agree. Problem is there has to be someone who wants him and his contract.

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 7:50 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Hoophype has him as the 15th best pg, dead smack in the middle of the pack, and I agree. He is younger though than most on the list, and I believe his potential is about as high as any. All he needs is a better 3-point shot and he’s among the best. Will it happen? Probably, at least to an extent, in time. When? I’m an optimist.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 8:38 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Out of curiosity, what makes his potential any higher than anyone else on that list?

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 8:54 pm

Same thing that made Giles a potential all star. KANGZ!!!,!

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 9:46 pm

You got me on Giles. I still miss him!

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 10:00 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Where is Giles?

I lost track.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 10:04 pm

Eh, Giles had skills. He just didn’t have knees. Knees are important.

ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 4:58 am

I love Giles so much!!

AnybodyButBagley
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September 24, 2022 11:20 am

True.

ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 5:10 am

I love Giles! I will forever believe that he simply needed a bigger opportunity. Had he been given 25 minutes a game for 50 games he’d still be on this team and maybe we’d still have Haliburton.

C – Giles
PF – Murray
SF – Barnes
SG – Hali
PG – Fox

I do love Sabonis though, not gonna lie

AnybodyButBagley
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September 24, 2022 11:21 am
Reply to  ArcoThunder

Wasted a guaranteed starting spot on Bagley.

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 9:17 pm

Trae, one of my personal favorites, is barely bigger than me, and is hardly more athletic. Fox can learn to shoot, and maybe even handle better. Trae will not be learning to be 6’3″, or how to be significantly more athletic.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:33 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

He is too busy in the playoff games.

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 9:45 pm

He’s very good. Even w/o Fox’s superior talents. Much better than Fox. Except head to head.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 10:09 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Superior talents? There literally isn’t a basketball skill Fox does at a higher level than Young.

ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 4:58 am

defense. you know it’s true. Ball handling? it’s equal or SUPER SUPER CLOSE (hard to compare or point to any major difference) to equal. In my opinion.

The gap between them is not that large. If Fox shot 38% from 3 he’d be a mega superstar at the same level Trey is.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 10:08 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Fox’s handle is excellent. What sets Trae apart, aside from shooting, is that he’s a significantly better playmaker and passer, and is on a totally different level in terms of BBIQ and awareness. The chances of Fox coming anywhere close to Trae’s creativity and creation are probably slimmer than Trae developing Fox’s athleticism. In both cases the chances are at zero.

ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 4:52 am

I don’t think their IQ and awareness are drastically different, if at all. just my opinion

BestHyperboleEver
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September 24, 2022 7:41 am
Reply to  ArcoThunder

Trae is absolutely an offensive basketball savant.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 23, 2022 12:51 pm

Like I’ve said a number of times, how many players make a “superstar” leap in their 6th season? Hell, I was saying the same thing last year about Fox starting his 5th season. IMO, superstars have already made that leap by their 5th season or they are who they are. As Tim stated in the article, there are a few. Lowry is the only I can honestly say took a leap to “superstar” well after his 5th season, but it also took him to his 3rd team to get there. None of the guys Tim mentioned were on the teams that drafted them.

Jack
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September 23, 2022 3:02 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

THEN TRADE THE GUY!!

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 8:55 pm
Reply to  Jack

Please

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 7:58 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Curry really broke-out in his 4th season, at age 25. Fox turns 25 this season, RELAX.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 1:08 pm

Fox is what he is. Not changing much at this point. He has some strong points. NBA scouts and coaches target him for good reason. That will always keep him at average or below.

Jack
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September 23, 2022 3:03 pm

THEN TRADE THE GUY!!

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 8:16 pm

Fox doesn’t need to change, he just needs to shoot a little better. And not get hurt.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:00 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

I will take those changes.

What about some defense?

Does playing more minutes and averaging four more points make him a superstar?

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 9:10 pm

Some defense is exactly what a lot of the biggest superstars the NBA has to offer play (Curry, Luka, Ja, Dame.) No defense (almost) is what a lot of them play (Trae, Harden, LaMelo.)
Superstar is semantic.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 9:15 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

But Fox’s offense isn’t good enough to make up for that level of defense.

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 9:18 pm

You have your opinion.

Last edited 1 year ago by Hamlet1989
BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 10:11 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

And that opinion is backed up by stats and success.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:36 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

All of those players are light years ahead of Fox.

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 9:46 pm

Please

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:57 pm

Comparing Fox to Currry, Luka, Ja, Dame, Lamelo, Trae, and Harden?

fire_voisin
September 23, 2022 1:24 pm

modern Monta Ellis. Good enough to fill up the offensive statsheet and keep you from bottoming out for lottery balls, but not dominant/efficient enough to take you to playoffs without some luck.

TheGrantNapear
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September 23, 2022 6:54 pm
Reply to  fire_voisin

Not a bad take. I think our version of the moving on from Monta scenario would have been giving Hali the keys over Fox and trading Fox to NY for whatever they’d offer. At this point, Fox is untradeable
for the time being.
THEN TRADE THE GUY

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:00 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

THEN TRADE THE GUY

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 8:19 pm
Reply to  fire_voisin

This is really just a bad take, FULL STOP

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 8:57 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Age 20-24 seasons

Age 24, 5th season

The difference isn’t nearly as large as we’d like to think. Very similar play styles, skill sets, and stats. Fox is better, mostly because he’s a bit better passer and has been handed the keys since day 1. But Fox is far closer to Monta at this point in his than he is to higher level common comps like Wall.

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 9:12 pm

I disagree. Monte never wasted any defensive potential, because HE NEVER HAD ANY.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 9:16 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

What gives Fox more defensive potential than Ellis?

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 9:19 pm

Please.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 10:13 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Seriously. They’re the same size. Fox is slightly longer. Monta was slightly stronger. Both of their calling cards are/were their elite speed and athleticism. What gives Fox more defensive potential than Ellis had?

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:23 pm

The never ending potential…………

When does turn into reality?

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 9:24 pm

I’m an optimist.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:37 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

You are a Kangz fan. That is a given.

RikSmits
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September 23, 2022 11:36 pm

Eh. There are a few realists here, who get labeled as pessimists or even haters.

Kings-Rebuild
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September 26, 2022 6:07 am

He has the physical tools, great feet, fast hands, decent reach. He just doesn’t appear to have the desire or willingness to play defense. He also may not hold up physically if he plays both sides of the ball.

Maximus
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September 24, 2022 4:21 pm

Well Fox is also a much better scorer than either Wall and Ellis ever was.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 24, 2022 5:01 pm
Reply to  Maximus

He is a definitely a better scorer than those two. They’re all below average for efficiency. But Fox is the least below average of the three. If he’s able to embrace playing off the ball more with Sabonis and shaves a few contested shots off his attempts this year, he may be able to push that efficiency up to average or a bit above. Which would be great.

Maximus
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September 24, 2022 8:53 pm

If he’s able to embrace playing off the ball more with Sabonis

That is probably the team’s plan anyway. Sabonis is great at the elbow. He should be able to find cutters and Fox should be one of the best cutters.

I mean Steven Adams just average career high in assist just by running blind pig actions with Ja Morant.

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September 24, 2022 7:36 am
Reply to  fire_voisin

The thought did occur to me that we traded our Steph (Hali) and kept our Monta (Fox). I’m not saying Steph and Hali are even similar players, but they may have one thing in common: you should build around them. With Steph, for a variety of reasons, that worked very well. We’ll never know with Hali and the Kings. And I realize it’s implicitly harder to trade Fox due to his contract.

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Nostradumbass 14
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September 24, 2022 8:38 am
Reply to  catterj

Yup, I often think the same thing. We even traded for a center, much like the Warriors did in Bogut. I really hope the similarities don’t become a reality.

Kingsguru21
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September 23, 2022 1:26 pm

Do I believe Fox can make that leap? Yeah, I do. Do I believe he will? I think he’s gonna try. The question is does he possess the capability of sustaining it? That I don’t know yet.

Sabonis is the best player he’s ever played with. This is the most talented group Fox has ever played with.

I think the FO and coaching staff are on the same page. There’s never been a better opportunity than now. It’s really on De’Aaron Fox to do what needs to be done, and whatever excuses there were previously are completely gone. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds. I think it will be a good thing, and the Kings will benefit. But I still need to see it to believe it at this point before I pound the table in overjoyed belief, so to speak.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 1:34 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Has he been trying?

Hard to believe he has it in him but has not done it for five years.

Jack
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September 23, 2022 3:03 pm

THEN TRADE THE GUY!!

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:24 pm
Reply to  Jack

THEN TRADE THE GUY!!

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 9:08 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I wouldn’t be surprised if his marquee stats went down, but his impact went up. He’s going to continue to bleed assists to Sabonis, and probably a bit to Huerter. But I could very easily see his PPG decrease due to lower volume but him be a more effective, efficient scorer. Which would probably decrease his All-Star chances while increasing the team’s chances of success.

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September 23, 2022 9:20 pm

Well said.

catterj
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September 24, 2022 7:32 am

As a Kings fan who is not attached to any Kings player, I would love this outcome. Superstar, shishmuperstar. Just help the team win. Please.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 24, 2022 7:45 am
Reply to  catterj

Yup. The goal isn’t to maximize Fox’s chyron stats and brand. It’s for the Kings to win games.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 24, 2022 8:39 am

Yup, boxcore go stats down, but advanced stats go up. As long as it help the team, I believe this is a very likely scenario.

Kingsguru21
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September 24, 2022 2:30 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if his marquee stats went down, but his impact went up.

I would be because I think it’s a catch 22. If Fox reduces his scoring attempts, that doesn’t necessarily equate to better offense. Fox and Sabonis are interesting in the way of: ‘Both need to continue what they do, just do it better than they have.’ You put the ball in Sabonis’ hands more, he’ll turn it over due to lack of shot creation or exuberance making plays or whatever. Fox needs to play better off the ball rather than only being a threat with the ball in his hands. Neither’s future is tied to shooting the 3, IMO. You dont’ want them out there, and frankly what you are doing is bailing out the defense by having them shoot 3’s.

Player A (before trade):

USG%: 27.6%
TOV%: 10.1%
TS%: 53.2%
ORtg: 110.6
DRtg: 115.8
Net Rtg: -5.1

Team ORtg: 109.3 Team DRtg 114.1

Player B (before trade);

USG%: 21.5%
TOV%: 13.5%
TS%: 64.9%
ORtg: 108.5
DRtg: 108.7
Net Rtg: -0.2

Team ORtg: 110 Team DRtg 112.2

Player A (after trade):

USG%: 30.3%
TOV%: 8.8%
TS%: 58.6%
ORtg: 115.6
DRtg: 118.2
Net Rtg: -2.7

Team ORtg: 111.1 Team DRtg 116.9

Player B (after trade);

USG%: 21.5%
TOV%: 14%
TS%: 60.3%
ORtg: 112.5
DRtg: 114.4
Net Rtg: -1.9

Team ORtg: 111.1 Team DRtg 116.9

In case you can’t tell, Player A is Fox and Player B is Sabonis.

This is not me cherry picking numbers for the sake of cherry picking them, I just used the samples that were there. But since I am cherry picking, I’m going to cherry pick the first dozen games or so of the Kings season last year.

Player A :

USG%: 28.5%
TOV%: 11.5%
TS%: 48.4%
ORtg: 110.5
DRtg: 112.7
Net Rtg: -2.1

Player B:

USG%: 16.8%
TOV%: 7.7%
TS%: 56.7%
ORtg: 106.3
DRtg: 106.6
Net Rtg: -0.3

Player C:

USG%: 20.7%
TOV%: 9.6%
TS%: 66.4%
ORtg: 110.4
DRtg: 113.5
Net Rtg: -3.2

Player D:

USG%: 17.8%
TOV%: 13.1%
TS%: 71.1%
ORtg: 109.6
DRtg: 107.7
Net Rtg: +2.2

Player E:

USG%: 9.7%
TOV%: 9.7%
TS%: 50.8%
ORtg: 105.6
DRtg: 102.3
Net Rtg: +3.3

Team ORtg: 109.5 Team DRtg: 109.9

This is the starting lineup last season that Walton started out the year with: Fox, Haliburton, Barnes, Holmes and Harkless.

My point is, it might be en vogue to claim Fox in a reduced role might make the team better, but I’m simply not wont to agree. The first point is: Where are those shots going to go? To whom? And how? Are you expecting Sabonis to take a larger role in all of that? Huerter? Barnes? Murray? Monk?

I guess I’m just confused how all of that will end up working. I see it being a refrain from those who don’t believe in Fox, that I get, but what I don’t see is how it plays out on the court and to the benefit of the Kings. I don’t see the distribution of shots to “other” players being more beneficial than the best scorer on the team taking them.

What would improve the team? Fox playing off the ball more effectively, Fox hitting a higher % of his free throws, Fox playing significantly better defense, and just generally being more consistent without the peaks and valley’s. Fox’s shooting selection ticking up several notches wouldn’t hurt, either.

But taking the ball out of his hands to give other guys shots? Can’t say it’s impossible, but I just don’t see that plan with this group working.

markdog333
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September 23, 2022 1:39 pm

I don’t think that he elevates the play of the team around him enough to make the leap(frog?) to superstar. I don’t see a top 5 PG in the range of possible outcomes anymore. The difference between the 10th and the 25th PG is so small, that yes, 10-15 PG is still a possibility.

Offensively, he is pretty close already. To me he just needs to play to his strengths; put early pressure on the defense, let the half court offense run through Sabonis, and eliminate one or two bad shots per game. Mostly, he will have to improve to at least average on defense.

Adamsite
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September 23, 2022 1:48 pm
Reply to  markdog333

He needs to keep defenses honest with his outside jumper, otherwise any dreams of a Fox/Sabonis pick and roll duo will be nightmares with teams cheating under every screen. Shooting under 30% from deep is unacceptable unless you are an All-Defensive Team player like Simmons.

Maximus
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September 23, 2022 4:21 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

cheating under every screen

I don’t think opponents just start to realize that is how to defend Fox. It is probably always that way.

You can always combat that with high screens or drag screens to give Fox a little heads up speed. The problem last year was the lack of spacing (because of starting Mo Harkless). Fox would get stripped getting into the paint much more often than previous years. I was wondering if his ball handling got worse but it turned out it just the lack of spacing.

As long as no one cheats off his man to crowd the paint, going under screen to defend Fox is not a problem.

Kingsguru21
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September 24, 2022 11:24 am
Reply to  Maximus

As long as no one cheats off his man to crowd the paint, going under screen to defend Fox is not a problem.

Even then, doesn’t this require Fox to move the ball to the open man when someone is open as a result of this?

Maximus
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September 24, 2022 2:20 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

That is going require a level of trust for his teammates. These current teammates are going to be the best group of talents that he has ever played with.

If that open man is Mo Harkless, do you think he should pass or he should attempt to to score by himself? How about if it is Huerter or Keegan?

Kingsguru21
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September 24, 2022 2:58 pm
Reply to  Maximus

If that open man is Mo Harkless, do you think he should pass or he should attempt to to score by himself? How about if it is Huerter or Keegan?

Well in general I’m a fan of ball movement, but I definitely agree that you’re more likely than not to pass up a shot opportunity for Harkless to call your own number. Huerter or Murray? That’s a different story because they are better scorers (much better in Murray’s case) and you should pass them the ball when they are open.

These current teammates are going to be the best group of talents that he has ever played with.

And there will be a balance he, and they, need to figure out. The question is will it be figured out.

Maximus
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September 24, 2022 4:39 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Yeah I agree he needs to find the new balance with the new teammates.

I am not adverse to ball movement. There also has to be the right balance of moving the ball and turning over. Also there has to be the right personnel for the right system.

That’s why I think Sabonis will do wonder for Fox. As an attacking PG, Fox will be tremendously benefited by a passing hub at the elbow. A pass to the weakside corner will always be more risky than a pass to the top of the key.

Kingsguru21
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September 24, 2022 5:25 pm
Reply to  Maximus

That’s why I think Sabonis will do wonders for Fox. 

Other than shooting the 3, which I think is greatly exaggerated as a strength in today’s day and age, their games fit together rather well. There are important weaknesses there, of course, but I like how they can help each other on both ends of the court.

I keep coming back to something James Ham said awhile on the TKB pod: When the Kings traded for Sabonis, the FO thought they were getting 2 All Stars. I think that’s quite possible.

As an attacking PG, Fox will be tremendously benefited by a passing hub at the elbow. A pass to the weakside corner will always be more risky than a pass to the top of the key.

I think it might help Sabonis cut down his turnovers a little, too. Better targets mean you just simply have to get the ball there. That might be Sabonis’ biggest issue, though. He might not always be able to get the ball there.

Your point about risk is noted, too.

andy_sims
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September 23, 2022 2:37 pm

Over the last five years, the Sacramento Kings have been hoping and praying for unquestionable stardom, which has yet to happen, while others around the league have viewed him as nothing more than a solid starting point guard who will never top out as a number one option on a contending team.

First, I’d question whether Fox is held in low regard around the league, but let’s focus on the end of this long sentence.

Let’s say, being generous, that there are eight teams in the league who are actually contenders. I’d say the real number is four or five,

others around the league have viewed him as nothing more than a solid starting point guard who will never top out as a number one option on a contending team.

So again, my generous nature will allow for there being eight Number One Options at any moment. I live to give.

These aren’t necessarily the eight best players in the league, but there’s a very good chance that they’re among the top fifteen or twenty NBA players. I don’t recall much insistence by fans of De’Aaron Fox that he’s a top fifteen or twenty player in the league.

So, is the suggestion that he may not be one of those eight guys meant to be some sort of insightful and devastating indictment of Fox?

Come on, Tim. You aren’t even trying anymore.

MrGuder
September 23, 2022 3:31 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Good take. It’s getting a little old hearing folks trying to put a round peg in square hole. Fox is Fox. On a max deal, I suppose, he should be playing up to that level? Monte signed him, maybe he’ll be right.

Fox is Fox
Maybe not.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 23, 2022 3:49 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

How about this:

He will never be the #1 option on a winning/playoff team. I would contest that if he is taking the lion’s share of shots on the team, your team is not going to be very good.

The issue may be the term “#1 option.” As of today, I’d say that Sabonis is the best player on the team, but does that make him the #1 option? Same could be said for the likes of Kawhai, Butler, Ingram, or KAT.

Or maybe we are just getting hug up on semantics.

andy_sims
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September 23, 2022 4:38 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

There are certainly fair criticisms that can be made about Fox, but setting up this strawman that “refutes” the argument (that literally no one is making) that Fox could, or should be one of the top 5-10 players in the league?

There are lots of valid points that Tim makes here, but when your opening paragraph groans with illogic and unfounded assertions, you need to follow it up with something revelatory. Otherwise it’s just an ad nauseam rehashing of frustration.

We get it. And we agree! All of the players noted for being late-blooming all-stars have benefited from having substantial talent around them. Some of that has finally made it to Sacramento. Barring some players hitting the top of their upside, it probably won’t be enough to make Fox the number one option on a contender, or get the Kings into the tournament. These are issues that are beyond most players’ ability to fix on their own.

Fox is going to have a good year next to Sabonis, and I look forward to reading this essay again in twelve months.

Jack
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September 23, 2022 6:57 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

If Fox ever reads these comments and I think he does wouldhe want to play for you guys. I don’t think so. I appreciate your comments but that’s me. If I was Fox ,a human being with emotions, I wound’t want to play for you guys.He is who he is a hell of a basketball player who scores over 20 and close to 30 points a game, has a really good assist record and has improved on is 3 pt shooting. I agree he needs yo play better defense but if you take into account the other assets you can’t say he is a hell of a b asketball player. If I were him after reading your great comments he would probably say”TRADE ME!!”.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 9:13 pm
Reply to  Jack

Of course, Sac may very well be the softest media/fan market in the country. If he thinks he’d have it any easier elsewhere in terms of criticism, he would be in for a rude awakening. That said, I don’t actually believe Fox thinks that.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:27 pm

Fox to Philly or the Knicks.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:27 pm
Reply to  Jack

THEN TRADE THE GUY!!

RikSmits
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September 23, 2022 11:44 pm
Reply to  Jack

LOL. Sacramento is one of the most supportive and nurturing markets out there.

The media here is very soft and rarely throws hardballs at players.

If Fox is upset by lack of support here, he’d be an absolute wreck on many NBA teams.

And the sad thing is, I do fear that he is indeed influenced by these things and despite his public railing against disrespect from the national media, he hasn’t stepped up and shut them up.

ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 12:10 pm
Reply to  Jack

Fox is good. This is true. Fox could be better in certain categories. This is also true. To your point, I get tired of hearing the “hot takes” that are nothing but corrosive. I always ask the question. Why? Why do certain people get off on this?

I find it pathetic as a human race that people feel it Necessary to tear others down while actually wanting them to succeed. The saddest part is these feeble humans always have the same slimy escape door or back pedal with the classic, “I’m glad I was wrong” response months later. All the while holding themselves in their own glowing light they deem to be anointing them as the ultimate fan.

It’s plain sad. “he’ll never be a #1” “It’s been 5 years, He can’t improve any more or he would have already” “trade him now”. These are absolutely stupid and pointless hot takes that exist because we live in a hot take world and too many people are shallow. The cause? Not entirely sure but I do know that Tiktok and Twitter feed their little brains. It has crept into all veins of society and sports blogs are a hot bed for it.

I knew this thread would be toxic as soon as I saw the headline. Personally, I find that last sentence to be utterly depressing. To know our sad society is that predictable.

Best player on the team for 5 years BY FAR that hasn’t quite lived up to incredibly high expectations while playing with the peak talent of Buddy Hield. Can’t wait to knock him down a peg because somehow it makes me feel better about myself. He deserves it. Because?… small brains and hot takes.

Sacto_J
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September 23, 2022 2:54 pm

It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime.
What better place than here, what better time than now?

GlassCleaner
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September 23, 2022 3:52 pm
Reply to  Sacto_J

All [basketball] hell can’t stop us now!!
Guerilla Radio

Marty
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September 23, 2022 6:00 pm

Surely this is the year he transforms into something he’s never been.

eyes, roll.

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 8:06 pm
Reply to  Marty

He only needs to be a better shooting version of what he’s always been. And avoid injury.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:29 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

How does that make him a superstar?

markdog333
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September 26, 2022 8:37 am

I don’t know where your superstar line is, but one more made three per game basically elevates him to Booker territory.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 26, 2022 11:47 am
Reply to  markdog333

That depends, of course, on how many more 3pt attempts it takes for him to make that 1 more per game.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 23, 2022 9:18 pm
Reply to  Marty

There seems to be a theme here.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:28 pm
Reply to  Marty

Endless potential.

4on5
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September 23, 2022 6:14 pm

What an unhinged question.

TheGrantNapear
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September 23, 2022 6:56 pm
Reply to  4on5

This lanky giraffe guy has lost it 😆

TheGrantNapear
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September 23, 2022 6:47 pm

My first thought when reading the article headline: LOL.

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 7:43 pm

One reason I like Fox, and his chances for continued improvement is he’s a really quick and talented athlete, even by NBA standards. Another is, he seems very intelligent. Also he seems like a good person, with a good heart and strong work ethic.
Thanks for reading.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 9:30 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

He is fast. Not sure what he does with it?

Hamlet1989
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September 23, 2022 9:48 pm

Hater

AnybodyButBagley
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September 23, 2022 10:03 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Fox is what he is. Nothing wrong with him.

Fox is not a max deal player and definitely not a leader. Those are all on the Kangz for putting him there.

ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 4:47 am

There you go. Be critical of things that actually have a valid argument.

You are a troll/hater if you start spouting bull shit like “not sure what he does with his speed”.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 24, 2022 11:29 am
Reply to  ArcoThunder

He is definitely fast.

It is a question. What does he do with his speed?

Win?

Defend with his speed?

ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 12:18 pm

You are acting like you don’t watch the guy play. I hate that I am even responding to this with a true answer when I know you know it already. Gets to the rim at will, causes fits for opposing defenses, runs the fast break at a league high level and occasionally gets eye popping chase down blocks.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 24, 2022 12:23 pm
Reply to  ArcoThunder

Does he win games?

Does he lead his team?

Does he play defense?

Does he play smart basketball?

I watch him play all the time. He has speed. He is an average point guard in the NBA.

He is far from a superstar that is going to take this team anywhere.

Last edited 1 year ago by AnybodyButBagley
ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 12:33 pm

Does he win games? It’s a team sport. Ask the Lakers last season. Perfect example. Ask Trey Young last season. Another good example. Ask Karl Anthony Towns about the first handful of seasons of his career.

Does he lead his team? Apparently not the way you would like. If the Kings had even 1 fringe all star around him in 5 years I might find this weird point you are trying to make worth while.

Does he play defense? He does and he needs to get better at it just like 80% of the NBA

Does he play smart basketball? Absolutely.

I watch him play all the time. He has speed. He is an average point guard in the NBA. OK.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 24, 2022 12:45 pm
Reply to  ArcoThunder

I don’t hate Fox but in my opinion he is not what the organization thought he is. He is not an all star or a max deal player.

I want this team to win. It is ok for this team to get better. In my opinion building a team around or relying on Fox to change the trajectory of this team is dumb.

You think differently which is ok.

Hobby916
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September 24, 2022 6:31 am

His contract says he is a max deal player.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 24, 2022 11:26 am
Reply to  Hobby916

It does. The Kings made him a max deal player when they gave it to him. Fox didn’t earn it.

ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 4:43 am

GTFOH with that. Not sure what he does with it? This is just dumb. Sorry.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 24, 2022 11:28 am
Reply to  ArcoThunder

He has a quick first step.

Does he win games?

Does he defend well because he is fast?

Is he so fast he has to sit out for long stretches?

What does he do with his speed?

A ton of fast players in the NBA.

ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 12:19 pm

What is the point of this?

AnybodyButBagley
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September 24, 2022 12:21 pm
Reply to  ArcoThunder

My point was and is that he is fast. That is all.

What does he do with his speed?

ArcoThunder
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September 24, 2022 12:23 pm

A lot. And you know that.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 24, 2022 12:28 pm
Reply to  ArcoThunder

I think Fox is average at best. You clearly think he is better. That is fine. I think this team turns the corner when they move on from Fox being more than a role player.

At some point this team has to fall out of love with average and seek above average. His speed is cool but not doing much for the team at five years in.

Last edited 1 year ago by AnybodyButBagley
AlRey
October 6, 2022 2:41 pm

Win games?

AlRey
October 6, 2022 2:41 pm
Reply to  AlRey

AlRey
October 6, 2022 2:42 pm
Reply to  AlRey

AlRey
October 6, 2022 2:43 pm
Reply to  AlRey

AlRey
October 6, 2022 2:44 pm
Reply to  AlRey

The hate has gotten absurd. Do we all want him to be better? Yes. More consistent? Yes. A better shooter? Yes. More engaged defensively? Yes. Or at least I think all Kings fans want Fox to be great…lately I find myself questioning if that is true.

Yakshi
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September 23, 2022 9:27 pm

I humbly request folks to stop typing “then trade the guy” in all caps.

I assure you that everyone has received that message several times in the last 6 seconds.

Much appreciated.

AnybodyButBagley
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