Which Sacramento Kings Rookie Will Step Up As A Leader Year One?

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 12: Justin Jackson
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 12: Justin Jackson /

With a plethora of young and older talent, there are plenty of leadership options for the Sacramento Kings. Of the rookies, though, who will step up?

With a ton of young talent infused with veteran leadership, the Sacramento Kings have a good foundation for the future. Regardless of this, however, the Kings will need some of their young guys to step up as a role model year one. Whether it’s De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Frank Mason III, or Harry Giles, there’s plenty of options for the Kings to develop a leader from. With so many options though, who gets the edge?

While Mason III has impressed in summer league action, what role he will have during the season remains to be seen. Same goes for Giles, as he figures to spend his first year focusing on his health. Which leaves us with Fox and Jackson.

The Case For De’Aaron Fox:

Fox comes from a strong program at the University of Kentucky. A program that breeds superstar players and is usually highly competitive in the NCAA tournament every year. Fox is also a top-five draft pick, a distinction which almost requires him to develop into a team leader. It also helps that Fox figures to be a contender for the Kings’ starting point guard at the beginning of the season.

All of this makes Fox a prime, if not likely, a candidate to step up as the Kings’ rookie leader. He’s got it all. Big game experience, draft pedigree, and time at a premiere collegiate program behind one of the best coaches in John Calipari. He could very well be the man to lead Sacramento both when the veteran players under contract move on or retire and on the court his first season. The latter being especially true if he plays like he did in his first summer league game.

Fox has some competition though. The Kings also drafted another great talent in the draft. One with the same credentials as Fox, coupled with coming off a national championship run at the University of North Carolina.

An Argument For Justin Jackson:

Justin Jackson has two things Fox doesn’t: championship experience and the type of experience from playing four seasons at UNC. Jackson is coming off back-to-back seasons that saw UNC in the national championship game, albeit one ending in heartbreak. Jackson was a borderline elite player in college, evidenced by his top-20 draft pick status.

He still figures to be in line to be an option to start at small forward for the upcoming season. Something that’ll give him a similar opportunity on the floor to lottery pick teammate De’Aaron Fox. Jackson’s age (22), coupled with his talent makes him the best candidate to lead Sacramento, now, and in the future. This isn’t to say Fox too couldn’t be an effective leader, but more to say Jackson will be the Kings #1 guy.

Next: Sacramento Kings projected 2017-2018 depth chart

Fox and Jackson will both likely have solid NBA careers, all while hopefully in a Sacramento uniform. Both could become effective leaders, but for this upcoming season, expect Jackson to take the lead, even if it’s not one that shows up in the box score.