The 2023 Sacramento Kings managed to do what many thought nearly impossible, bring playoff basketball back to Sacramento — thus crawling them out of the longest post-season drought in professional sports.
While the playoff run itself ended before fans would have liked, it still provided the most entertaining first-round series in the NBA Playoffs. It showed contending promise for this team’s young core, taking the defending champion Warriors to seven games.
Throughout the exciting season, some guys proved their worth in a big way, whether it be as a solid supporting cast member or a potential blossoming star. Another player even made a huge leap toward superstardom.
As the Kings shift to their offseason, they’ll have some decisions to make about who should continue to be on the roster for years to come.
1. De’Aaron Fox
If a team calls asking about the availability of De’Aaron Fox, the phone can’t be hung up soon enough. Fox has proven himself to not only this team but the entire league. This year he recorded his best season, averaging 25 points, six assists, and four rebounds a game. In the regular season, he had an overall estimated plus-minus of 2.8 (91st percentile league-wide per Dunksandthrees.com).
Fox is also the inaugural winner of the Jerry West Clutch Player of the Year Award, was selected to his first All-Star team, and will likely have All-NBA honors. And, on top of all of that, he nearly led his team to a first-round victory over the defending champion Warriors with a broken index finger on this shooting hand.
At this point Fox isn’t just untouchable, he is the franchise. Everything circulates around him, his play, and his leadership. Yes, ideally the playoff run would have been deeper this year, but it’s something to build on. And if not for a minor injury, it just might have.
Fox is only 25 years old and just finished his sixth year, this isn’t even his prime yet and he’s in great condition. His finger is set to heal within a couple of weeks and without surgery. (per Bleacher Report) As far as athleticism and physical prowess go, there isn’t anyone quicker in this NBA. Fox will undoubtedly build on this season, refining and developing his skills. He epitomizes this team and its turnaround, monumental season. With Fox, the future is bright in Sacramento.