De'Aaron Fox

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Kings’ De’Aaron Fox to miss another 2-3 weeks with ankle sprain

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There is good news on the Sacramento Kings injury front, big man Marvin Bagley III is getting closer to a return after missing six weeks with a broken thumb.

The news is not so good for point guard De'Aaron Fox, who has been out three weeks with a sprained ankle and is going to miss at least a couple more, including Wednesday’s home game against Portland.

The Kings have gone 4-5 in those nine games Fox has been out, with a solid defense making up for a bottom-five offense in that stretch. Sacramento has been helped because it does have depth at the point guard spot after signing Cory Joseph over the summer to a three-year, $37 million contract, plus picking up a team option on Yogi Ferrell.

Still, the promise of the Kings has been unfulfilled this season due to injuries. After a breakout season a year ago, this season Fox had come back to earth a little in new coach Luke Walton’s system — his turnovers were up and his efficiency had slipped, but he was still putting up 18.2 points and dishing out 7 assists a game.

Fortunately, in a West that is not as deep as predicted before the season, the Kings are just three games back of a playoff spot and not out of things. They just need to get healthy and find a groove.

 

 

Rumor: Kings passed on Luka Doncic in draft because Vlade Divac doesn’t like Doncic’s dad

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Luka Doncic looks like an NBA superstar — already, at age 20 — and the kind of player that can win MVPs and turn a team into a contender. A true franchise cornerstone.

Anytime a player like that doesn’t go No. 1 in the draft, especially when that player comes in with the level of hype Doncic did (he had just won the EuroLeague MVP at 19), there’s fingerpointing at front offices. How did they miss on this guy?

In the case of the Suns (who  had just hired Doncic’s international coach), multiple of sources around the league say Phoenix owner Robert Sarver pushed for Deandre Ayton, the in-state Arizona player (and, to be fair, he was on top of a lot, if not most, team draft boards).

The Kings are harder to pin down, Vlade Divac is well connected in Europe and had seen Doncic. So why pass? Tim MacMahon of ESPN told this story on The Woj Pod about Doncic (hat tip to Jesse Reed of Sportsnaut).

“My understanding is that [Divac] being so close to Luka and knowing his dad so well factored into their decision. Basically, he didn’t think a whole lot of Luka’s dad, and the whole like father like son … well … no, this is a different dude. You messed that one up, Vlade.”

The Kings will undoubtedly push back on this idea, and there’s certainly no way to prove this rumor. The Kings’ argument for their moves would be a respectable one: They had Marvin Bagley higher on their draft board — and he is a quality young big man (out right now with a fluke broken thumb) — plus they had a primary ballhandler they liked in De'Aaron Fox. From the outside, it is impossible to say what really drove the Kings’ decision, but it would not be the first time that personal feelings got in the way of smart basketball moves.

Even if you buy Sacramento’s reasoning, that doesn’t make this any less of a miss. They either underestimated Doncic or overestimated Bagley (who looks to be good but not on Doncic’s level). Also, having a player a team likes is a terrible reason to pass on the best player available even if they fill the same role. It’s the “we have Clyde Drexler so we’re not going to take Michael Jordan” issue. Talent wins in the NBA. Flat out. Draft the best player, get the most talent, and if a team ends up with too many players at one position or has overlapping skill sets, then make a trade from a position of strength.

Which is to say, MacMahon was right about this, “You messed that one up, Vlade.”

A discussion point on this draft for a future day: Do the Hawks get a pass for setting up the trade of Doncic that netted Atlanta Trae Young and the pick that became Cam Reddish? Young is a special talent as well, so it feels a little too early to make that call, but Doncic has looked the better player.

Marcus Smart’s potential game-winner sits on rim, rolls off, gives Kings win

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Boston came in on a 10-game winning streak where they had played well on both ends of the court, but they also got some lucky rolls of the basketball.

Not Sunday.

With Boston down one, Marcus Smart put up a floater as time expired in Sacramento, it looked like the shot would fall, and…

Give the Kings credit, at a rough start they have gone 5-2 in November, and that despite injuries to Marvin Bagley Jr. and De'Aaron Fox. Buddy Hield had 35 points to lead the Kings, including going 7-of-12 from three.

The Celtics had a balanced attack with six players in double figures, but their offense was not as sharp as it has been. This was the first game it looked like they missed Gordon Hayward, who is out with a fractured hand.

Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox out at least 3-4 weeks with ankle sprain

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The Sacramento Kings — everyone’s League Pass favorites — have been snake bitten this season. First it was Marvin Bagley III, who broke his right thumb in the season opener.

Now point guard De'Aaron Fox will be out at least 3-4 weeks (that’s when he’ll be re-evaluated) after suffering a grade three ankle sprain in practice Monday. From the official Sacramento press release:

An MRI conducted this afternoon on Kings guard De’Aaron Fox confirmed that he sustained a left ankle sprain at the end of practice on Monday. He will be re-evaluated in 3-4 weeks and his status will be updated as appropriate.

After a breakout season a year ago, this season Fox had come back to earth a little in new coach Luke Walton’s system — his turnovers were up and his efficiency had slipped, a 52.8 true shooting percentage that is close to the league average, for example — but he was still putting up 18.2 points and dishing out 7 assists a game. He has been the focal point of the Kings’ offense.

This is a blow to the Kings and their development. Sacramento had won 3-of-4 and seemed to be finding more of a groove.

Sacramento does have depth at the point guard spot, however. It signed Cory Joseph over the summer to a three-year, $37 million contract, plus it picked up a team option on Yogi Ferrell. They have some depth at the spot.

However, those players do not have Fox’s explosiveness. The Kings just will not be the same until he returns.

De’Aaron Fox unleashes sweeping windmill dunk on Knicks (video)

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De'Aaron Fox made a huge leap last season while appearing as if he were in total control on the court.

The Kings’ 0-5 start and a big missed dunk apparently didn’t sap his confidence.

Against the Jazz Friday, Fox drove and cocked back for a powerful slam – only to send the ball into the backcourt:

Sacramento still hung on to beat Utah, and Fox was unfazed when presented with another opportunity for a highlight dunk late in the Kings’ win over the Knicks yesterday. He unwound a massive windmill dunk: