Celtics

30 teams in 30 days: Fox leads new cast of characters in Sacramento

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30 teams in 30 days: Fox leads new cast of characters in Sacramento

It’s a new season with a lot of new characters on a Sacramento Kings roster that looks radically different than the one we saw at the end of last season.

Even with all that change, that won’t stop what should be another season filled with lots of bumps, beatings and bad play along the 82-game marathon of a season. 

Still, Kings fans have reason to believe that the franchise is taking some steps in the right direction. 

Having the fifth overall pick in last June’s draft, Sacramento landed the best player at that position who also fills a need in De’Aaron Fox. 

The 6-foot-3 point guard out of Kentucky enters the NBA as one of its fastest players from one end of the court to the other, reminding many of a young John Wall who like Fox, also attended Kentucky. 

And he has shown a knack for showing up in the marquee matchups, like Kentucky’s Sweet 16 matchup in March against UCLA which at the time was being led by Lonzo Ball. 

Fox had a career-best 39 points in Kentucky’s 86-75 win, in addition to getting the job done defensively as the main defender on Ball most of the game which significantly contributed to Ball tallying just 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting.

When asked after the game what motivated him to come out and have a performance like that, he told Sports Illustrated, “to shut LaVar (Ball) up!”

LaVar Ball is Lonzo’s Ball very outspoken father who tends to garner as much attention – if not more – than his son.

"In the last year, he became relevant for some reason," Fox said of LaVar. "When I knew Lonzo in high school, I'd never seen his dad before. He went crazy this year. I guess when your son’s a lottery pick, that gives you a lot of confidence."

Fox has an abundant amount of confidence now, but you have to wonder how will he handle what will surely be more losses this upcoming season than he’s probably lost in total since playing organized basketball. 

Helping the transition will surely be part of the job of veterans like Vince Carter and Zach Randolph who come from a Memphis franchise that had its share of rough times only to become one of the more consistent teams in the West the past few years under Dave Joerger who is now head coach of the Kings.

Sacramento should also benefit from the signing of George Hill who was instrumental last season in Utah snapping a four-year postseason drought this past season as the Jazz advanced to the second round before being eliminated by eventual NBA champion Golden State. 

There are plenty of changes in the now and on the horizon for the Kings.

As for wins?

Only time will tell if that’ll be part of this new-look Sacramento team. 

Key free agent/draft/trade additions:  George Hill (Utah); Zach Randolph (Memphis); Vince Carter (Memphis).

Key losses:  Rudy Gay (San Antonio); Arron Afflalo (Orlando); Tyreke Evans (Memphis); Ben McLemore (Memphis); Ty Lawson (Shandong, Chinese Basketball Association); Langston Galloway (Detroit); Anthony Tolliver (Detroit).

Rookies of note: De’Aaron Fox; Harry Giles III; Bogdan Bogdanovic; Justin Jackson; Frank Mason III.

Expectations: 31-51 (4th in the Pacific Division, 13th in the West)

Bleacher Report puts Jayson Tatum on 'overhyped' list

Bleacher Report puts Jayson Tatum on 'overhyped' list

Bleacher Report ran a piece Tuesday listing the NBA's five "most overhyped players" entering the coming season. Jayson Tatum leads the list. Hold me back. 

These pieces are obviously subjective as hell, as they rely on "people probably think X," which may or may not be the reality of the situation. In the case of Tatum, writer Grant Hughes acknowledges that he feels Tatum is a franchise player, but that he could be a victim of the team for which he plays. 

Writes Hughes

Kyrie Irving has never been one to take a backseat, and with him back on the floor, it'll be much harder for Tatum to build on his postseason takeover. Throw Gordon Hayward into the mix, and there will be even fewer touches for the 20-year-old wing. And that's to say nothing of Jaylen Brown, who's a superior defender at the moment and averaged 18 points per game in the playoffs on more efficient shooting than Tatum managed. He's due for an increased role as well.

C's fans can first breathe at the fact that Hughes most certainly is not calling Tatum overrated. Then, if they're rational, they can wonder whether Hughes has a point. 

Tatum's five best scoring games of the regular season came with Kyrie out of the lineup, one of which was prior to Irving being shut down for the season. He obviously went on to average over four and a half points more in the postseason without Irving (18.5) than he did in the regular season (13.9). 

No, Tatum is not going to be the Celtics' top scorer this season. He also won't be a rookie again. Dude looked like he tacked on like 80 pounds of muscle like a month after the season ended. He's been in gyms destroying everyone from Joel Embiid to a hilarious assortment of camp-going children. He's out here mentoring Kobe

Even if Brad Stevens wants to get creative and have Tatum come off the bench (that doesn't need to happen; he can start the five best players), Tatum is a lethal enough offensive player to put up 20 a night. 

But back to the idea of him being overhyped. I don't think anyone's putting the kid in the MVP conversation. They probably just saw the third overall pick have a really good rookie year and figure that he'll continue to blossom into a star, if he isn't one already. 

The other players listed in the piece were DeMarcus Cousins, Zach LaVine, Josh Jackson and Kawhi Leonard. Leonard falls into the rule of thumb that if you're one of the five best players in the league, as Kawhi is, it's really easy for people to overhype you. That's not Leonard's fault. 

But the other guys? Who the heck is hyping -- let alone overhyping -- Zach LaVine? The only time Zach LaVine made headlines this summer was when he was given an offersheet by the Kings that most felt was too much and the Bulls matched it. Everyone thinks he's a stinky defensive player who's coming off an ACL injury. Unless there's some expectation that he's going to start averaging six or seven more points a night than he ever has, he isn't being overhyped. He's just overpaid. 

The Cousins pick could very well be fair. As Hughes writes, Boogie is a "luxury, not a game-changer for the Warriors." It's very possible that his impact on the Warriors won't be as significant as the league fears. Maybe he takes longer than expected to come back. Maybe when he does come back, he proves to be a divisive player with that group. Then again, maybe he gives them 25 and 12 a night and the Warriors go undefeated in the postseason. 

Selling Jackson as overhyped is tough. He's a second-year player who finished his rookie year on fire, including a 36-point performance against the Warriors. He sure as hell won't average 22.6 points like he did over his last 10 games as a rookie, but does anyone think he will? Nobody thinks he's a great shooter, but it's reasonable to expect something approaching the 18.7 he averaged post All-Star break, plus his usual strong defending.

Anyway, this Hughes fellow should have put Ben Simmons on the list. Guy never shoots threes. 

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Knicks, Nets reportedly in mix for Kyrie-Butler combo in '19

Knicks, Nets reportedly in mix for Kyrie-Butler combo in '19

Remember those rumors of Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler teaming up in free agency next year? Well, that buzz is back and Boston isn't the rumored destination.

Two league sources told Business Insider that the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets could be well-positioned to land the two players, with one source saying the chatter is "substantial."

"It wouldn't surprise me if either New York team or potentially both New York teams hit it big next summer," one source said.

That echoes a Chicago Sun-Times report from July which said the Celtics and Timberwolves stars had been talking about how they could team up. Each player can opt out after this season and Irving has made it known he'll be heading to free agency. The Kyrie-to-the-Knicks rumors have been around for a while. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE