George Hill

De'Aaron Fox lives up to billing, looks ready for primetime after solid debut

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USATSI

De'Aaron Fox lives up to billing, looks ready for primetime after solid debut

SACRAMENTO -- Watching tape of De’Aaron Fox looks like a video stuck on fast forward. The comparisons to John Wall don’t do him justice. Teams deliberately sag off the rookie and dare him to shoot and he still manages to race by them in a blur.

If his opening night performance against the Houston Rockets was any indication, the Kings have landed a special player. From barking orders on the court to his teammates to going at NBA veteran defenders, Fox looked ready for primetime just 24 minutes into his professional career.

“I got to get my first NBA game out the way, I think it went well,” Fox told a huge crowd surrounding his locker. “We played hard. It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, we wanted to get the W, but there’s a lot of things we learned out of today.”

Dressed in a burgundy suit and shoes that would have made Omri Casspi blush, the rookie hung around for way too long after the game, giving every camera and microphone a good talking to. He’ll learn quickly that the media is drawn to him like a moth to a flame.

His numbers look modest - 14 points on 7-of-15 shooting and five assists. But he was facing a title contender in the Houston Rockets and the moment wasn’t too big for the 19-year-old point guard. Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni even showed the rookie respect when he shifted one of his better defenders in Trevor Ariza over to cover the speedster.

“This is game 1, we’re not expecting him to be a Hall of Famer right now,” George Hill said. “It takes steps to do it and baby crawls. But I think he took a huge step today in proving what he can do. He looked good out there.”

Hill started in front of Fox, but the two guards played alongside each other for plenty of minutes. That is the plan this season, although there are plenty of other players vying for minutes in the backcourt.

Everyone in the building seemed impressed by the youngster. He has an ability to drop the pedal down on an opponent and then downshift on the fly to stay under control.

“He’s pretty fast, you know,” Dave Joerger said of his star rookie. “He has a terrific charisma about him and I think he’ll be fun to play with.”

His teammates appeared to have no problems keeping up. They ran the floor and pushed the tempo when Fox was in the game and the team seems to feed off his energy.

“They play hard, man,” Vince Carter said of Fox and team’s other young players players. “They just go for it and that’s all you can ask. It’s just great and it’s going to get better. You can show them all the film you want, but they’re not going to learn until they get thrown into the fire. That’s the best lesson.”

Game 1 is in the books and Fox is already earning a longer look. The team embarks on their first road trip of the season beginning Friday night against the Mavericks. Waiting for them in Dallas is another young point guard in Dennis Smith Jr., setting up the first of many battles between the star-studded draft class of 2017.

Kings will be shorthanded in exhibition finale vs Warriors

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USATI

Kings will be shorthanded in exhibition finale vs Warriors

The goal of preseason is to escape without injury. Unfortunately, the Sacramento Kings have failed to achieve that goal.

With the regular season just five days away, Sacramento faces uncertainty with three of its rotational players. Rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox will miss his second straight preseason contest Friday night with a lower back bruise.

The 19-year-old participated in practice on Wednesday and appears to be on pace to return for Wednesday’s home opener against the Houston Rockets. The prognosis isn’t nearly as clear for guards George Hill and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Hill left the Kings 104-87 loss to the Clippers on Thursday evening with a groin issue. After further evaluation, the veteran point guard has been diagnosed with a right groin strain. Hill struggled with the same injury last season, missing six games over a two week period during late March and early April.  

Sacramento’s medical staff has diagnosed Bogdanovic with a right ankle sprain. The 25-year-old rookie injured his ankle on the last play of the third quarter on Thursday night when he came down on the foot of teammate Kosta Koufos while trying to defend a last second shot.

Fox, Hill and Bogdanovic are all listed as day-to-day.

Kings' Hill and Bogdanovic leave preseason game early

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AP

Kings' Hill and Bogdanovic leave preseason game early

The Sacramento Kings came into Thursday night’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers with a mild injury report that included a lower back bruise for De’Aaron Fox and a long-term rehab assignment for Harry Giles. They came out of the game with a depleted roster.

Veteran point guard George Hill tweaked his right groin in the first half and played just nine minutes for Sacramento. There is no word further word on the injury, but Hill struggled with groin and toe ailments last season in Utah, playing just 49 games for the Jazz.

Adding to the injury woes, rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic stepped on Kosta Koufos’ foot as time expired in the third quarter and did not return. The initial diagnosis from the team’s medical staff is a sprained right ankle.

The Kings have depth at both positions, but with opening night just a week away, there is a possibility they will start the season short-handed.