SACRAMENTO -- 1-8 doesn’t feel good to anyone, especially for a group of rookies trying to find their way in the league. The NBA is a cruel world that doesn’t care who you were in college or how high you were drafted.
The Kings take a seven-game losing streak into Tuesday evening’s game against the Thunder. Outside of Harry Giles, who’s Duke team went 28-9 last season, the other three draft picks have already lost more games this season than they did last year in the NCAA. We aren’t even 10 games into the 2017-18 season.
“A lot of these guys have been so accustomed to winning, but I was draft in the lottery, so you kind of come in kind of expecting something (like this),” De’Aaron Fox said Monday following practice. “We want to turn this around. Nobody likes losing.”
It’s an interesting perspective for a 19-year-old kid. Fox led his Kentucky team to a 32-6 record last season in the NCAA. But in the pros, you are starting over. When a team takes you with the fifth overall selection, you have to assume you are going to a team that’s struggled. Not everyone gets to walk into Jayson Tatum’s situation in Boston.
“It’s part of the game,” Fox said. “Every player drafted that high, basically, has had to go through bumps in the road.”
Fox is off to a quality start in Sacramento. He’s leading the team in scoring at 12.7 points a night and also assists at 5.0 per game. He’s shooting 41.7 percent from the floor, which could improve and he’s shooting just 27.3 percent from behind the arc.
“I’m just trying to shoot the ball better, try and get my teammates involved more,” Fox said. “For me, doing that is just staying in attack mode. I can attack and get people involved. I can attack and score for myself. Even defensively, just being aggressive.”
Fox faces one of his favorite players growing up Tuesday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder roll through Sacramento. He’ll get a shot to defend Russell Westbrook, the reigning MVP and one of the most aggressive players in the league.
It’s baptism by fire for the Kings’ young point guard. You have to have a short memory. There’s always another game just around the corner and win or lose, there is plenty to glean from going up against one of the best.