Welcome to 20Q, a variation on our usual 30Q series. With the abbreviated time until the season begins, we’ll just do 20 questions this season finishing up right before the season begins on December 22nd.
The Sacramento Kings first order of business in free agency was to lock down De’Aaron Fox to a 5-year max extension. Fox is undoubtedly the Kings best player, and the player that Monte McNair will build around in the foreseeable future. That monetary commitment and planned focus is not based on what Fox is today, but rather what the Kings hope he can become.
This isn’t to say Fox has done anything wrong. Last season he averaged 21.1 points, 6.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Fox has improved every single season since arriving in Sacramento. But if Fox were to plateau it would be a letdown. Fox is good, but the Kings hope he can be great. At just 22 years old, with elite speed and the ability to operate in control even when playing fast, Fox has the ability to be a star in the league.
Expectations for this season are low, or at least they should be. Losing Bogdan Bogdanovic hurts the Kings talent level and depth, and Tyrese Haliburton is unlikely to be ready to fill that gap as a rookie. The Kings will, in all likelihood, be taking a step back this season. But if, and it’s a big if, the Kings take a step forward this season it will almost certainly be because Fox has taken another big step forward.
The Bubble gave us a glimpse of what that might look like. Fox played in just six games in Orlando, so this naturally comes with the Small Sample Size Institute’s seal of approval, but in those six games Fox averaged 26.2 points, 7.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.7 steals. The rebounds dipped, but the scoring and assists were both far higher than his season averages.
If Fox could average 26 and 7 over a full year, it would a tremendous leap. Even at 25 points and 7 assists, that puts Fox at a statistical level only met by LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Damian Lillard, and James Harden. It would securely place Fox among the league’s top guards.
Perhaps this is too lofty a goal, but Fox will be just 23 years old this season and has seen a marked improvement every single year. Personally, I believe Fox will continue to improve even if he doesn’t average 25 or 26 points per game, but I’m willing to get my hopes up. Fox has been the one player over the last three years who hasn’t let us down.