The Sacramento Kings are two weeks into the regular season, and already there have been plenty of surprises. Some good, some not so good, but how many of those surprises are expected to keep up? How many will simply even out as players return to their normal selves?
So far this season, the surprises range from Harrison Barnes seemingly taking the next step to rookie Davion Mitchell looking like an early contender for an NBA All-Defense team. Those pleasant surprises have met by a much less welcome surprise, that being, the struggles of De’Aaron Fox.
Through the first seven games of the season, Fox is averaging 17.7 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. The issue is that along with those numbers, he’s also averaging four turnovers per game with a terrifying slash line of 36.4/15.4/63.2 in those seven games. Admittedly it is still early in the season, but the question has to be asked:
When is it time for the Sacramento Kings to panic about De’Aaron Fox?
Looking back to last season, Fox put up somewhat similar numbers in the first 10 games. He averaged 18 points, 5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game which is near identical (some would even say worse) compared to his 2021-22 stats. What does set apart last season from this year are his shooting numbers.
Last season, Fox boasted a slash line of 45.0/28.1/70.5 through his first 10 games. While he certainly won’t be confused for Steph Curry with those numbers, they are clearly superior to what he’s done this season.
Fox isn’t the only player to have shooting struggles this season; Damian Lillard, James Harden, and many others have struggled to find their footing this year, and there’s no definitive answer as to why.
Speculation could provide answers in the form of the recent NBA rule changes or even the simple fact that the NBA is using a new ball this season. Regardless of the reason, one thing is clear, the Sacramento Kings cannot afford for De’Aaron Fox to stay in this slump forever. When is it time to discuss alternatives? Seven games into the season is obviously too early, but there has to be a discussion at some point.
It’s a long season, and there King’s goal is making the playoffs, not contending. So this gives Fox, and the Kings’ front office, a little extra breathing room. The message, for now, should be patience, and if Fox is still struggling after, say, 30 games, then trade conversations may be warranted if he hasn’t improved.
Coincidentally, 30 games into the season place the Kings just after December 15th, when most of the free agents signed this past offseason can be traded.
But for now, Kings fans should continue to root for Fox to figure things out, as the team is certainly at their best when he is. It’s a long season, there’s no need to force an issue that doesn’t need to be forced.