The future of the Sacramento Kings was on full display Monday evening in Phoenix. No, the Kings couldn’t complete the comeback to a Suns team wrought with franchise turmoil. But wins and losses are secondary to development in the 2017-18 season and a development is developing.
With the starters getting run over, coach Dave Joerger went to two of his rookies in the backcourt and they instantly turned the tide of a game that was slipping out of control.
De’Aaron Fox has become a constant highlight through four games in Sacramento, but he had a wingman Monday against the Suns. Serbian sharpshooter Bogdan Bogdanovic made his long awaited NBA debut and the early returns were inspiring.
The young duo helped erase a lead that pushed as high as 22 points in the first half. If not for a couple of bad breaks down the stretch, the Kings very well could have come back and stole the game from Phoenix.
“We have great communication on the court,” Bogdanovic told reporters of his pairing with Fox. “He’s capable of doing many things, he’s a versatile player. And we have to listen to each other - what we have to say. Communication is the most important thing when you want to build something great.”
Fox keyed in on the communication piece as well. At 25-years-old, Bogdanovic has been a professional in Europe for years. He isn’t your run of themill rookie wandering the court in a dazed state.
“He just talks like he’s a veteran,” Fox said of Bogdanovic. “He hasn’t been in the NBA, but he’s been a pro for long. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s kind of like my vet on the court.”
Bogdanovic is smooth and methodical. He plays well with the ball in his hands or coming off a screen.
Fox is a flash, running the court with reckless abandon and finishing above the rim. The combination of the two worked well from the moment they stepped on the floor together.
“He’s such a smart player, he’s so good,” Fox said. “The chemistry with us is through the roof right now and I feel like we’ll just get better.”
After missing the last week of preseason and the first three games of the regular season with an ankle injury, Bogdanovic looked gassed in the second half. He started the game 5-of-7 from the field and then missed his final eight shots.
“As you can see, the second half I was a little bit out of my energy,” Bogdanovic admitted in post game. “I will need a couple of games, a couple of hard practices to get back into shape.”
Even at less than 100 percent, Bogdanovic showed promise on both ends of the floor.
Fox stuffed the stat sheet, finishing the night with 19 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and just one turnover in 30 minutes.
It’s just one game, but you want your young players to command minutes with their play on the court. This tandem looks ready to compete for a bigger role.