Vince Carter

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.

Five takeaways as Kings' comeback effort falls short in loss to Lakers

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USATSI

Five takeaways as Kings' comeback effort falls short in loss to Lakers

BOX SCORE

The build up to De’Aaron Fox vs. Lonzo Ball fell flat Sunday when the Lakers rookie sat out game three of the Kings’ preseason schedule with an ankle issue. Despite the rookie’s absence, the game tipped off as scheduled. Los Angeles jumped all over Sacramento early, as the Kings missed one shot after another. The Kings found a way to slow the Lakers attack, but couldn’t get over the hump down the stretch, falling 75-69 to drop to 1-2 on the preseason.

1- Dave Joerger shook up his starting lineup, inserting Bogdan Bogdanovic and Willie Cauley-Stein to go with veterans George Hill, Garrett Temple and Zach Randolph. The group looked like they had never met, going over four minutes before hitting their first bucket. The spacing was bad, the movement was bad and most of their shots came as the 24 second shot clock was sounding. It’s going to be a process as the Kings try to mix and match rotations. 

2- Zach Randolph is the Kings offense. Okay, maybe not, but he thinks he is. The 36-year-old is fending off father time, one half-hook at a time. He can also shoot the 3-ball, kill you from the mid-range and rebound. You’ll take 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting and six rebounds from a player entering his 17th NBA season. 

3- Have we seen the 10-man rotation? Joerger turned to a tight group in the third game of preseason. Hill and Fox shared the minutes at the point. Bogdanovic and Hield saw the majority of the time at the two. Garrett Temple started at the three and Vince Carter came off the bench. Z-Bo and Skal Labissiere ate up the minutes and the four and Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos played the five. No Justin Jackson, Malachi Richardson or Frank Mason III. 

4- Vince Carter still has it. Vincanity isn’t the athlete he used to be, but he knows how to play the game and he knows when his team needs a hoop. The veteran wing dropped nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range in 20 minutes of action. It doesn’t sound like much, but his presence might result in four or five additional wins on the season. 

5- De’Aaron Fox is going to be fun. The rookie played just nine minutes before being shut down with a bruised back, but he still managed to make the highlight reel. Fox used his crazy speed late in the second quarter to slice right through the Lakers defense and finish over two players, including one trying to block the shot through the rim.

Vince Carter explains why he signed with Kings instead of title contender

Vince Carter explains why he signed with Kings instead of title contender

Vince Carter has played in the NBA for 19 years. He's been the postseason 11 times. He's played in 88 playoff games.

But he's never won an NBA title.

With his career winding down, no one would have faulted the eight-time All-Star if he signed with a contender in pursuit of that elusive ring.

Instead, the 40-year-old Carter signed a one-year deal with the rebuilding Kings worth $8 million.

The Kings, stocked with tons of young talent, won't be mistaken for a title contender this season. So why did Carter decide to come to Sacramento?

"Great opportunity for me. I always liked the state. At this point, it's not really about the money, moreso than the opportunity. I still want to play in this league. I didn't want to sit and collect a check and ride a wave of some championship team," Carter told NBC Sports California's Jim Kozimor and James Ham at Kings Media Day on Monday. "Yes, that's sound great. I'm just at a point where I just feel like I can contribute at a high level. And maybe down the line, maybe that option I'll really embark on. Until then, I want to play, I want to contribute and still help the young guys get better and go through the ups and downs of this league, cause I've been there."

Carter and fellow grizzled veteran Zach Randolph join a Kings squad featuring five rookies -- De'Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, Frank Mason III and Bogdan Bogdanovic -- as well as four second-year players in Georgios Papagiannis, Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere and Malachi Richardson.

Last season with the Grizzlies, Carter averaged 8.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 73 games.