Kings

De'Aaron Fox getting stronger, adding weight ahead of Kings season

De'Aaron Fox getting stronger, adding weight ahead of Kings season

When the Sacramento Kings selected De’Aaron Fox with the fifth pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, they did so with the understanding that he would need time to develop. His game has taken leaps and bounds in his first two NBA seasons and a lot of that has to do with his body maturing.

Listed at 6-foot-2 (without shoes) and 169.6 pounds at the NBA combine in May of 2017, Fox has worked hard to get stronger and add weight. Part of that process is eating and eating more and then eating again.

Fox looked fit and noticeably bigger at Team USA camp and according to The Athletic’s Jason Jones, he is up to 183 pounds, which is no small feat for a young player with a wiry frame.

“I try to get 4,000-5,000 calories because I burn through it so fast,” Fox told Jones. “It’s hard man, it’s hard."

At 21-years old, it’s going to take time for Fox to add weight. It’s going to be even tougher to maintain the added bulk through an 82-game schedule.

“For me, the goal for me this year is to play at 180, and continue to grow, continue to grow, continue to grow,” Fox said. “You don’t want to come in at 195, so for us it’s just a process because I don’t want to put on so much weight that I take away my athleticism and my speed.”

Fox is a workout warrior that doesn’t mind mixing in weight training into his basketball regiment. It’s a delicate balance of maintaining his speed and agility while adding enough strength to fight through contact and take a hit at the NBA level.

According to Jones, Chris Gaston, Fox's longtime trainer turned agent, is watching him grow from a “string bean to a grown man.” That is music to the ears of the Kings who are relying on Fox as one of the franchise's cornerstones.

If the glimpses we saw at Team USA are any indication, Fox can take another statistical leap this season just by getting to the free-throw stripe an additional three or four times per game.

[RELATED: Why Fox likely walked away from Team USA chance]

The mandate from Gregg Popovich during the national team workouts was for Fox to attack the rim at every opportunity. The first option is for Fox to score, but as the defense collapses, it creates spacing and openings for his teammates.

This is likely the mentality he will carry into the season in Sacramento, but this type of physical play style takes its toll on a player. He'll need the added strength if he is going to spend a lot of time amongst the trees in the painted area.

As Fox grows into his frame, he’ll have to find the balance between adding bulk that he can sustain throughout the year while maintaining his speed and athleticism. This isn't a one or two year process. Expect Fox to continue to redefine his body and game over the next few seasons as he solidifies who he is and what he can be as an NBA player.

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic listed as questionable day after career night

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic listed as questionable day after career night

The hits keep rolling for the Sacramento Kings.

De’Aaron Fox is out for the foreseeable future with an ankle injury. Marvin Bagley traveled with the team on the current four-game road trip, but will not play due to his still healing broken right thumb. And now Bogdan Bogdanovic, Cory Joseph and Trevor Ariza are having an issue as well.

Bogdanovic set a new career-high in scoring on Tuesday evening when he dropped 31 points in the Kings’ win over the Suns, but he watched the final 1:22 of the fourth quarter from the bench.

Sacramento's super-sub is dealing with tightness in his left hamstring and is questionable for Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

The 6-foot-6 wing could be seen grabbing at his left hamstring late in the win over Phoenix. Following the game, he said that his leg felt okay and believed it was just a cramp. He is expected to be listed as day-to-day moving forward.

After a rough start to the season, Bogdanovic is on a tear as of late for Sacramento. Over his six games, the 27-year-old guard is averaging 21.3 points, 6.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 32.6 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 53 percent from the field and a stunning 56.5 percent from 3-point range on 7.7 attempts per game.

Bogdanovic is a huge reason the Kings have rallied back after starting the season 0-5. He’s taken over as the primary ball handler with Fox out of action and his confidence is at an all-time high.

[RELATED: How Kings' Serbian connections help make Bogi feel at home]

In addition to Bogdanovic, Joseph is banged up as well and listed as questionable with a sore left heel. The veteran point guard has started the last four games in Fox's absence, posting 3.3 points and 6.3 assists in 31.7 minutes per game. While his numbers are down, he's provided a steady hand with the offense and his defense has helped the Kings win games.

Lastly, Ariza is still recovering from a right groin injury and is away from the team due to personal reasons. According to a league source, he will miss the entire four game trip.

If Bogdanovic and/or Joseph can’t suit up, head coach Luke Walton will have to get creative with his rotations. Expect to see Buddy Hield to carry even more of the load in the backcourt and veteran Yogi Ferrell will likely get a longer look with the second unit.

The Kings also have rookie Justin James and two-way player DeQuan Jeffries on the roster if they need some added depth. If Walton is looking for help at the wing, Wenyen Gabriel is available to steal some minutes and brings plenty of energy.

Marvin Bagley re-evaluated by Kings, will not play on four-game road trip

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USATI

Marvin Bagley re-evaluated by Kings, will not play on four-game road trip

Before the Sacramento Kings boarded a flight to New York City on Wednesday morning, they took care of some medical news.

According to the team, Marvin Bagley underwent an x-ray on his broken right thumb and has been re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff.

Bagley is progressing in his recovery and will make the four-game trip to the east coast, but he will not suit up for the Kings as they push to get back to the .500 mark. The 20-year-old power forward will undergo another re-evaluation when the team returns home next week.

After a solid rookie season, Bagley was injured on opening night against the Phoenix Suns. He’s missed the last 12 games but has ramped up his activity both in practice and in pregame over the last week.

“Once he’s cleared, we have to get him on the practice court,” head coach Luke Walton said during pregame on Tuesday. “I’ve played with players like Kobe (Bryant) who could miss four weeks and come back and they are ready to go at a high level. And then I’ve been a player myself, where if I missed four weeks, I need another four weeks just to be able to run with the guys out there. So it’s different for everybody.”

Bagley is likely closer to the Kobe model than the Walton model in this particular instance. He’s been on the floor working out and staying in shape during the injury, despite wearing a removable brace on his right hand.

The injury is also to Bagley’s non-dominant hand, which has allowed him to continue to work not just on cardio, but on shooting drills as well.

A lot has changed in the 12 games Bagley has missed. Nemanja Bjelica has stepped in and played extremely well at the power forward position and Richaun Holmes has taken over the center position for veteran Dewayne Dedmon.

Bjelica is averaging 11.4 points and 6.3 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game as a starter. He’s also shooting 53.1 percent from 3-point range during that time and his true shooting percentage of 67.8 is tops on the team.

With Bjelica spacing the floor, Holmes has found a home in the paint. The athletic 26-year-old is averaging 11.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 29.6 minutes over nine games as a starter.

The combination of the two players has helped the Kings recover from their slow start to the season, but the team is also excited to get Bagley back in the fold.

“We can’t wait,” Richaun Holmes said of Bagley’s potential return. “When he gets back, to have a talent like that inside our lineup, all know what he can do on the floor, that’s just going to make us better. We’re looking forward to getting him back.”

Bagley has a different skill set than either Holmes or Bjelica. He isn’t the shooter that Bjelica is and he’s still learning the pick-and-roll game that has made Holmes so successful. But Bagley is likely the best rebounder of the lot and his ability to get easy baskets as a true back to the basket scorer is a welcome sight.

“No complications to me,” Holmes added. “He’s talented. You know we’re going to need him. We need everyone in this locker room. When he gets back, we’re ready to have him back out on the floor.”

[RELATED: Kings must adapt with Bagley missing time]

Bagley’s original diagnosis had him missing 4-6 weeks of action. We’re currently at the four-week mark, which means he’s getting close.

Walton will have a tough decision to make when Bagley is finally ready to return. The chemistry of his team is building. They’ve won six of their last eight games to move within a game of .500. But Bagley is the future of the Kings and after an adjustment period, he is going right back into the starting lineup.