Kings

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.

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Porter Jr.

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. - Small Forward - Missouri - Freshman

Age: 19 Height: 6-foot-10.75 Weight: 211

Stats: 10.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, .3 assists, 1.0 steals, .3 blocks, 30.0% 3-point

Player Comparison: Danilo Gallinari, Tracy McGrady

Strengths

Porter is an incredibly gifted scorer that projects as a legitimate number one option at the NBA level. His handles need some work, but he can take opponents off the dribble, rise above defenders in the mid-range and shoot from deep. He’s also a solid rebounder for his position and has the size and athleticism to be an adequate defender.

Weaknesses

Porter underwent back surgery after just two minutes of play during his freshman year at Missouri. He returned late in the season, but was limited to just 53 minutes of play for the Tigers. His shot selection will need work and he weighed in at just 211 pounds at the combine. He’ll need to get stronger and work the kinks out with his back issues if he hopes to fulfill his enormous potential.

Fit

If it wasn’t for the back issues, Porter would be the perfect addition for the Kings. He could start at the small forward position and slide over and player stretch four for stints. Sacramento could use a pure scorer like Porter, but health is a big concern.

Chance of going No. 2

Sacramento would love to take the gamble on Porter, but they’re going to need a clean bill of health. They attended his evaluation day last Friday, which reportedly went well. But with other options on the table, they are going to need assurances that the herniated discs issue was a one time thing.

19-year-old Luka Doncic wants a date with a Friend and...a tiger?

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AP

19-year-old Luka Doncic wants a date with a Friend and...a tiger?

In Europe, Luka Doncic is a star. It appears he would like to be one in the United States as well.

Fresh off a EuroLeague championship, as well as league and Finals MVP honors, the 19-year-old Slovenian-born wing showed a different side of himself in a video made by the folks over at Bleacher Report.

In an interview with Howard Beck, Doncic made a few of his wishes known, including his want for a signature shoe, a date with Jennifer Aniston and the future purchase of...a tiger?

"I just like tigers. I said if I go to U.S., I will buy a tiger—like Mike Tyson," Doncic told Beck.

Sacramento has Doncic on a short list of prospects they are considering with the second overall selection. He has high aspirations, both on and off the court.

It’s hard not to like the confidence and moxie of this prospect. Will he be a King come Thursday evening?