Russell Westbrook

Fox takes losses in stride: 'It's part of the game'

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USATSI

Fox takes losses in stride: 'It's part of the game'

SACRAMENTO -- 1-8 doesn’t feel good to anyone, especially for a group of rookies trying to find their way in the league. The NBA is a cruel world that doesn’t care who you were in college or how high you were drafted.

The Kings take a seven-game losing streak into Tuesday evening’s game against the Thunder. Outside of Harry Giles, who’s Duke team went 28-9 last season, the other three draft picks have already lost more games this season than they did last year in the NCAA. We aren’t even 10 games into the 2017-18 season.

“A lot of these guys have been so accustomed to winning, but I was draft in the lottery, so you kind of come in kind of expecting something (like this),” De’Aaron Fox said Monday following practice. “We want to turn this around. Nobody likes losing.”

It’s an interesting perspective for a 19-year-old kid. Fox led his Kentucky team to a 32-6 record last season in the NCAA. But in the pros, you are starting over. When a team takes you with the fifth overall selection, you have to assume you are going to a team that’s struggled. Not everyone gets to walk into Jayson Tatum’s situation in Boston.

“It’s part of the game,” Fox said. “Every player drafted that high, basically, has had to go through bumps in the road.”

Fox is off to a quality start in Sacramento. He’s leading the team in scoring at 12.7 points a night and also assists at 5.0 per game. He’s shooting 41.7 percent from the floor, which could improve and he’s shooting just 27.3 percent from behind the arc.  

“I’m just trying to shoot the ball better, try and get my teammates involved more,” Fox said. “For me, doing that is just staying in attack mode. I can attack and get people involved. I can attack and score for myself. Even defensively, just being aggressive.”

Fox faces one of his favorite players growing up Tuesday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder roll through Sacramento. He’ll get a shot to defend Russell Westbrook, the reigning MVP and one of the most aggressive players in the league.

It’s baptism by fire for the Kings’ young point guard. You have to have a short memory. There’s always another game just around the corner and win or lose, there is plenty to glean from going up against one of the best.

Gameday: Still looking for first home win, Kings face a dangerous Thunder team

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AP

Gameday: Still looking for first home win, Kings face a dangerous Thunder team

Home is where the heart is. Unfortunately, it’s not where the wins are. The Sacramento Kings have yet to come out on top on their home floor this season, dropping their first three games at Golden 1 Center. Waiting for them is a struggling, but dangerous Thunder team.

Sacramento is riding a seven-game losing streak, but they seemed unfazed by the skid. George Hill is back with the club after missing Saturday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons due to personal reasons. It’s a young group looking for an identity and hopefully a win.

The “Big Three” of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony average a whopping 61.7 points per game. OKC is posting 104.3 points per game (19th), but they’re holding their opponents to just 97.1 points a night, good enough for second best in the league.

BETTING LINE

Thunder by 10

MATCHUP TO WATCH

De’Aaron Fox vs. Russell Westbrook -- Westbrook was Fox’s favorite player growing up, which is probably not a good thing. The rookie was clear following practice on Monday that it’s just another opponent, but we’ll see. Fresh off an MVP season, Westbrook has taken a backseat to his All-Star cohorts. That won’t last long. Fox won’t get the start, but he’ll be asked to play big minutes against one of the most dominating players in the game.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 1-8, fifth place in Pacific

Thunder: 4-5, fifth place in Northwest

INJURY REPORT

Kings: PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.

Thunder: No injuries to report.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

OFFENSE VS. DEFENSE -- OKC is hanging their hats on defense early in the season, allowing just 97.1 points per game. The Kings are a team that rank 29th in scoring and last in 3-point attempts. It’s a recipe for disaster, unless Sacramento had an offensive epiphany during practice on Monday.

DIRTY GLASS -- The Kings are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, averaging just 39.6 boards per game. Effort is a major issue. So is personnel. If the bigs can’t get the job done, the guards and wings needs to work as a team and clean the glass.   

GROWN MEN -- Dave Joerger was quick to point out on Monday that the Thunder are a group of seasoned adults. Will the kids get out and run or will they allow OKC’s vets to dominate the action?

SERIES HISTORY

OKC won the season series 2-1 last season, including the final two. The Thunder hold a 142-85 all-time lead over the Kings and an 85-49 advantage in the Sacramento-era.

QUOTE

“I’m definitely looking forward to it, but I don’t want to go out there and just be like, ‘that’s Russell Westbrook.’ I’m going out playing another point guard. You know exactly what he can do. He’s extremely explosive. He does everything on the floor. You kind of take a different approach as far as adjustments and game planning, but after that, you just go out there and play basketball.” -De’Aaron Fox on playing Russell Westbrook.

Report: Westbrook signs with OKC for biggest total contract in NBA history

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USATSI

Report: Westbrook signs with OKC for biggest total contract in NBA history

The NBA's crazy offseason continues. 

Almost three months after Stephen Curry signed the largest contract in NBA history, the Oklahoma City Thunder have given that distinction to Russell Westbrook.

According to reports, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player will sign a five-year, $205 million deal. That, coupled with the remaining year on his contact pushes the total deal to six years, $233 million -- making that the largest in the association's history.

Curry's $201 million deal had been the biggest. 

Westbrook's new contact comes on the heels of the Thunder trading for Carmelo Anthony in an offseason that includes another deal for former Pacer Paul George.

Seeing the new contract will be a lovely birthday gift for Kevin Durant, who turns 29 years old on Friday and earlier this summer took a discount to return and play for the NBA champion Warriors.