Fox Injury a Blessing in Disguise for Sacramento


After a 2-1 start to the season and a De’Aaron Fox rolled ankle, the Sacramento Kings found themselves in a rut. Sacramento dropped three straight following Fox’s absence, and from afar, doubt started to creep in.

The team struggled greatly with back-to-back lifeless losses in Houston and had clear issues to fix. They struggled to play with pace and hit shots.

But the team didn’t lose confidence. They went back to the drawing board and responded with back-to-back wins at home, without Fox.

The city of Sacramento collectively held their breath when Fox went down. In hindsight, having to learn to play without their star point guard could make them a tougher team in the long run.

With And Without Fox

In the first three games of the season, the Kings played at an average pace of 103.7, good enough for third highest in the league. During their three-game losing streak, the team played at a pace of 92.5, which would be by far the lowest in the league.

Fox can’t play 48 minutes every night, so even when he is healthy, the team must learn how to succeed without him.

In their last two wins, the team is playing with an average pace of 99.3. That’s not quite the same pace that they played with Fox in the lineup, but it’s a drastic difference to the snail-like pace they were playing with in the three games prior. If Sacramento can comfortably play at both a fast and slower pace it will only make them a more difficult team to beat.

The Kings failed to score 100 points just four times last season. They failed to score 100 points in both games in Houston.

In the last two wins, the offense got its swagger back. They scored 121 in their overtime win versus Portland (111 in regulation) and 105 in the team’s first In-Season Tournament game against Oklahoma City.

In the team’s four wins, they’ve played at an elite level on both ends of the floor, posting a net rating of 7.3, which would be fifth highest in the league. But in their four losses, they’re struggling to find success, plummeting to a net rating of -13.3.

If they can be closer to the team they’ve been in their four wins, they’ll be in a good spot come April.

Feeling The Pressure

When ascending from the NBA lottery to the playoffs, naturally expectations will follow.

Some of the players seemed to be feeling that pressure early on. That pressure likely only grew with Fox out of the lineup.

Kevin Huerter had already carried over his playoff slump into the new season. Keegan Murray was talked up all summer long and he couldn’t throw a rock in the ocean to begin the season.

Huerter and Murray help make the Kings’ offense what it is and when they both struggle, the team tends to as well. Without Fox, the team needed their offense more than ever.

Murray has been more aggressive looking to create his own offense and he clearly spent all summer in the gym. He has a much-improved handle which has opened up a lot more of his game, but shots haven’t quite been falling.

Murray is looking to score in different ways compared to last season when he was mostly just a catch-and-shoot threat, and his struggles may just be a matter of him getting more comfortable with the looks that he’s getting.

In his rookie campaign, just 15% of Murray’s shot attempts came in the midrange. So far this season, that number has risen to 33%.

The 23-year-old broke out with a 24-point double-double on Friday night and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.

Murray is still finding ways to contribute even when his shot isn’t falling and his confidence hasn’t seemed to waver. That’s encouraging despite his shooting percentages.

As for Huerter, he began the season with lows across the board. He averaged just 6.8 points on shooting splits of 28.9% from the field and 20% from deep. In his last three games, he’s averaging 19.3 points while shooting 50% from the field and 40.7% from deep.

Sacramento is at their best when these two are hitting shots and they got their get-back on Friday night. Now can they build on it?

Adversity Hits Early

Eight games into the season, Sacramento has been shaky on both ends of the floor, but it looks promising.

Fox’s early absence, while nearing its end per Shams Charania, forced them to learn to play without him and that could pay dividends come playoff time.

Good teams find ways to come out on top and Sacramento found their way out of their rut. Can they keep it going?

 De’Aaron Fox Light The Beam Bobblehead!

Let your Kings pride shine with one of the game’s brightest stars by adding the De’Aaron Fox Sacramento Kings Light the Beam Bobblehead to your starting lineup.

About Will Warner

    Recommended for you

    Powered by