Kings Keys: Can De’Aaron Fox and Company Get Things Back on Track?

Buddy Hield, De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Buddy Hield, De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Sacramento Kings are a disappointing 1-2 on the season as they look to rebound against Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns.

While their two losses came at the hands of the Utah Jazz and the Golden State Warriors, the top two teams in the West, De’Aaron Fox & Friends, aren’t interested in moral victories.

Fox has been a realist about the season so far, being especially critical of his own game as he should be. He’s averaging an inefficient 18.7 points and five turnovers per game this season. His shooting percentages and lack of care for the ball are frankly dragging the team down.

Now, the King’s slow start is far from just De’Aaron Fox‘s fault. Tyrese Haliburton has struggled, as has Buddy Hield. However, De’Aaron Fox is one of the leaders of this team. He has a responsibility above the others to tell it like it is and lead by example. So the question is:

Can De’Aaron Fox and the Kings get things back on track?

The team will have their work cut out for them as they’re facing a Phoenix Suns team that made it all the way to the NBA Finals last season. Most of the team’s playoff contributors returned. Even though they have the same record as the Kings, this Suns team is expected to be a powerhouse once again this season.

Phoenix has boasted both a poor offense and defense this season, but that’s expected to turn around. The Suns surely are hoping tonight is an opportunity to fix some things offensively against an admittedly porous King’s defense.

The King’s will just have to capitalize against a similarly struggling Suns’ defense. The team has yet to find their offensive grove since opening night, but if they play the way they, and the fanbase, know they can, then there’s a good chance the King’s could win in a shootout.

For that to happen, though, three players, in particular, will need to find their shot. De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Tyrese Haliburton have all disappointed so far, but the season is young. It’s not a time to wallow in the dumps but rather an opportunity to remind everyone why they are so special.

De’Aaron Fox is one of the top point guards in the entire league when he’s on his game, and it’s only a matter of when, not if, he returns to form.

Tyrese Haliburton, meanwhile, has been dealing with a sophomore slump that is partially due to a lack of aggression. He’s taking far too few shots at every level, and he won’t be able to get hot until he changes that mentality.

Finally, Buddy Hield has been fine at best. He’s provided great volume from deep and even hit them at a solid rate. Where Hield needs to improve, however, is in the rest of his offensive game. He’s shooting a mere 44.4% from inside the arc, which is solidly below the league average (51.7%).

Yes, Hield’s game isn’t predicated on inside shots, but much like De’Aaron Fox, he’s contributing to too many empty possessions with these misses. The blueprint is there for the Kings; they just have to execute. Make the shots the defense gives you, and you can win in an offensive dual.

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It starts with De’Aaron Fox, but he’ll need some backup to take down the reigning Western Conference Champions.