De'Aaron Fox ready for leadership role in his third season with Kings


De'Aaron Fox ready for leadership role in his third season with Kings

Kings general manager Vlade Divac was asked after the 2017-18 season a very specific question about leadership and who would take over the team with players such as George Hill and Garrett Temple gone or on their way out.

Divac made the following succinct statement: “They can’t be young players forever.”

Divac had a point. At some point, players mature, and leaders either rise to the top or they don’t.

For the Kings, they are going to rely heavily on a 21-year-old point guard to take them to the next level.

For the Kings to ascend to where they want to be, De’Aaron Fox has to take another step forward in his leadership, which he laid the groundwork for in his sophomore season.

Fox discussed his thoughts on leadership during the latest edition of the "Road Trippin’" Kings podcast with Doug Christie, Corey Brewer and Harrison Barnes.

“As a leader, just being able to hold everybody accountable,” Fox explained to the group. “Everyone always says, those best teams always had confrontation. Players were always conflicting at some point. Everybody can’t get along, and everything be fine and dandy and y’all winning games. That’s just not how things happen.”

In the discussion, Fox sighted Chris Paul as a player he believes thrives on conflict. The Houston Rockets star holds his teammates accountable on the court, regardless of who they are and what their stature with the team might be.

It’s a style Fox hopes to implement into how he deals with conflict and accountability with his Kings teammates.

“We have to be able to conflict and have to fight each other and be able to set that stuff aside and not take things personal,” Fox said. “I think that’s a problem with a lot of young groups and young people in general. Someone says something to them, and the next thing it is, they’re going to pop off, like it’s cool to get mad if someone says something to you.”

During the previous edition of the Road Trippin’ pod, Fox and Buddy Hield had a similar discussion. Hield was very clear: For the Kings to take the next step, they need more of Fox and his voice.

It’s interesting to hear Fox lay out his leadership ideas. From the moment he walked into the gym last summer, players and coaches were talking about his change in demeanor. They raved about the work he had put in both on the court and in the weight room, but there was something different about the young guard out of the University of Kentucky.

“I think that’s definitely as a young group and as a young guy trying to be a leader that I have to step up and do,” Fox said. “People don’t want to conflict, people don’t want to fight with their teammates, but I think if you’re able to do that and overcome it? I think that makes you better.”

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Going into his third season, Fox clearly is the Kings' de facto leader on the court. He’ll have players such as Barnes and Hield surrounding him to help with the process, but the player who has the ball in his hands is the one you need running the show.

With the Kings still sporting a young squad, it will be interesting to see how Fox’s personality is received and how he grows into the leadership role.

Listen to Fox, Christie, Brewer and Barnes on the latest Road Trippin' podcast in the player below, and subscribe here.

Kings 'have a couple All-Stars,' fired assistant Larry Lewis believes

Kings 'have a couple All-Stars,' fired assistant Larry Lewis believes

Amidst all the reshuffling in the Western Conference over the last few weeks, it's easy to forget that the Sacramento Kings are one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA.

Led by De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles, the Kings won 39 games last season and have a promising future.

But the group of coaches that helped get those players to where they are won't get to see the job through to the finish line. The Kings fired head coach Dave Joerger after the season and let all of his assistants go.

Two of those coaches, Elston Turner and Larry Lewis, recently spoke to the Sacramento Bee about their departure and what they are leaving behind.

“They have a couple All-Stars,” Lewis told The Bee. “I saw a lot of potential in that young, core group. These players have a learning curve, but they were adapting very, very quickly to what was going on. Do they have a lot to learn? Of course, but at the same time, these guys are for real. I would have loved to have been a part of that going forward, but their decision is their decision and I’m at peace with it."

Fox and Hield made the biggest jumps this past season. It's clear the work with Lewis, who was a player development coach, paid off.

“It was a great experience,” Lewis told The Bee. “The players really grew. They really matured a lot. We had a great season. The team got a lot better. The players got a lot better. That’s what it’s all about.”

From Year 1 to Year 2, Fox went from averaging 11.6 points per game to 17.3. His field goal percentage improved from 41.2 percent to 45.8 percent, and his 3-point shooting improved from 30.7 percent to 37.1 percent. Those numbers combined with the highlight-reel plays he made were good enough to help him finish third in the NBA's Most Improved Player voting.

As for Hield, he blossomed from a spot-starter to a guy that started all 82 games for the Kings this past season. He entered the year shrouded in questions, but answered every single one of them by averaging a career-high 20.7 points per game and sinking a Kings' single-season record 278 3-pointers.

Bagley and Giles, both rookies, showed that they have the potential to be difference-making bigs in the NBA.

[RELATED: Barkley: Kings won't make playoffs]

“You could see the improvement,” Turner told The Bee. “A lot of guys got better and Larry was head of the player development department, so he did a hell of a job.”

Now it will be up to new head coach Luke Walton and his staff to help the Kings' young core continue their development. If they do, Sacramento will be a force in the Western Conference for years to come.

Kings agree to contract with forward Tyler Lydon, agency confirms


Kings agree to contract with forward Tyler Lydon, agency confirms

The Sacramento Kings are taking a flier on a former first-round draft pick.

Forward Tyler Lydon and the Kings have agreed on a two-year contract, Priority Sports tweeted on Sunday afternoon.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, citing a league source, first reported the agreement.

Lydon all but confirmed the agreement by quote-tweeting Wojnarowski's tweet with crown emojis.

The Kings now have 18 players on the roster, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks.

Back in 2017, the Denver Nuggets used the No. 24 overall draft pick on the Syracuse product. But things didn't work out for Lydon in the Mile High City.

The 23-year-old appeared in just 26 games over two seasons with Denver and averaged 0.9 points and 0.7 rebounds.

[RELATED: Kings have 'preliminary interest' in Koufos]

Despite using a first-round draft pick on Lydon, the Nuggets declined Lydon's 2019 option, making him a free agent.

Now, the Kings are hoping they can unlock the potential that made Lydon worthy of being a first-round draft pick.