It has been a frustrating start to the 2021-22 NBA season for De'Aaron Fox and the Kings.
The fifth-year point guard has struggled out of the gate, and his team has squandered back-to-back opportunities to take down formidable Western Conference opponents.
Fox is averaging 18.7 points per game on just 38.6 percent shooting from the floor and 15.8 percent from 3-point range. Through three games, he's averaging a career-worst five turnovers per contest, and Fox was honest about his early struggles.
“I just haven’t played well, that’s all it is,” Fox told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
“When you’re out there on offense you want to make shots, and I just haven't. It’s a slow start.”
The Kings are 1-2 after three games against the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors. Not a terrible record by any means, but Fox believes Sacramento's second-half play has contributed to a couple tough losses.
“Right now we just haven’t been a good second half team," Fox said. "We’ve been one of the better teams in the first half. Gone out every game with a first-half lead. For us, we’ve talked about it, just trying to piece together as much of a 48-minute game as we can. Right now we’ve done great in the first 24 minutes, and sometimes that third quarter has been shaky, but that fourth quarter we just haven’t been able to finish games.
Sacramento ended up beating the Trail Blazers in the season opener, but the Kings nearly gave that game away despite holding a 15-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
Going into halftime with the lead against both the Jazz and the Warriors, the Kings have only one win to show for their efforts.
Fox believes that a greater attention to detail down the stretch could prevent some of these collapses.
“A lot of times it's just details," Fox said. "A missed box-out, or not setting screens or using screens or not getting downhill, not doing what we started off the game doing. These first three games I think we’ve started off the game at a high level both offensively and defensively, scoring 30 points and keeping them under 30 points. I think we’ve done it every game so far. Just the third and fourth quarter I think we’ve given up 30 points in each of those quarters.
“For us, it’s just continuing to do what we’re doing, not necessarily changing things. We’re not going out there and we’re not being a different team in the second half. It’s just the little things, the details, the two or three extra possessions we’re giving up, or the two or three fastbreaks we’re giving up in the third and fourth quarters. It’s just those little things that can (have) a snowball effect.”
Fox and the Kings will face another test against the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns on Wednesday at Footprint Center.