Hope springs eternal with the start of every NBA training camp. There is something about the unknown. A 0-0 record has endless possibilities, even for a team like the Kings, which has struggled to turn the franchise around for well over a decade.
For Sacramento, the hopes of not just this season, but the next six years, lie squarely on the shoulders of their 22-year-old leader and point guard, De’Aaron Fox.
Fox needs help. In fact, he needs more help than the Kings currently have on their roster, but he is working his way toward being the franchise-changing player the team hoped they found when they selected him with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Through his first four seasons, Fox has used the offseason to get stronger and improve his game. In his fourth NBA season, Fox is taking ownership over the Kings and at least one veteran is taking notice.
“I don’t know what he did this summer, but for me, he looks like an All-Star,” Nemanja Bjelica said.
Each year the Kings attempt to build an offense around Fox. They’ve added more shooters and a young playmaker in Tyrese Haliburton to support him. Sacramento also added veteran lead assistant Alvin Gentry, who is helping to further design an offense around Fox’s speed and playmaking.
Bjelica described Fox’s play so far in camp as “powerful,” which is in line with what we saw from the Orlando bubble. While the team struggled to pick up wins in the NBA’s restart, Fox looked like he was ready for stardom.
At the start of free agency, new general manager Monte McNair rewarded Fox with a new five-year, $163 million extension. The contract kicks in after next season, locking Fox in for six seasons total with the Kings.
“Maybe that extension gave him a lot of help,” Bjelica joked. “He deserves all of that and he looks very good on the court.”
Sacramento might be in for a long season. The Western Conference is deep and the teams around them have bolstered their rosters.
That doesn’t mean that the Kings are out of the mix, but they will need Fox to be powerful and play like an All-Star if they hope to compete.