August 29, 2017, 12:31 am
Hoop Ball Kings is proud to bring you the sixth installment of a brand new series that we are rolling out in the lead up to the 2017-18 NBA season. Over the next two months we will be doing a roundtable series which involves all three of our writers here at Hoop Ball Kings. We’ll be discussing various topics including season projections for each player on the Kings roster, record predictions and more.
First and foremost, we will run through every player currently on the Kings roster and provide our personal predictions for their output this season.
The Kings were thrilled when De’Aaron Fox fell to them at No. 5 during the 2017 NBA Draft. Fans openly embraced Fox in the leadup to June’s draft and got their wish come on draft night when the former Kentucky product fell right into Sacramento’s lap. He’s already been touted as the point guard of the future for the Kings and rightfully so. The selection was praised not only by local media and fans, but by national media too; a rare occurrence in recent times.
Fox compiled averages of 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.5 steals in 29.6 minutes per game (36 games) on 47.8 percent shooting from the field (24.6 percent from three). His shooting woes are well-known, and we caught a glimpse of that during summer league but his jump shot is mechanically sound and the potential is there to be a reliable outside shooter. He’s going to need to add some more muscle too, but this will all develop over time and it’s why George Hill was brought in to help groom Fox into the point guard he’s projected to be.
Will Fox make an instant impact for the Kings, or will he take time to fully develop into a reliable NBA player?
Stat-line Prediction: 11.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.1 blocks. 43.2% FG, 32% 3PT, 71% FT.
Fox will come off the bench to start the season, that’s almost a given. However, I think it’s likely that Fox and Hill play next to each other regularly as the season rolls on. It’ll likely depend on match ups and I’m sure Joerger will be open to experimenting with the two point guards playing next to each other (as he’s done in the past). Fox will encounter speed bumps throughout the season, just like any rookie does, but having someone like Hill there to mentor him and guide him along the way is going to be extremely beneficial.
His outside shooting is going to be a struggle all year-long and I don’t expect to see major strides in that department this season. His free throw shooting is another concern, particularly after what I saw during summer league. Defensively, he’s going to be a pest and that’s going to work well against guys like Steph Curry and Chris Paul; it’s something that the Kings haven’t had in a while from the point guard spot.
Minutes wise I think he will hover around 20-25 minutes, especially early on in the season and that may gradually increase month to month. On the whole, I think he will be fairly productive for the Kings and will be in the conversation for Rookie of the Year, but with such a loaded draft class it will be hard to crack the top spot.
Stat-line Prediction: 12.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.3 blocks. 44% FG, 32% 3PT, 73% FT.
Fox is a bit of a mystery since he hasn’t had any regular season experience as an incoming rookie. What’s almost guaranteed from him is a tough-minded defensive presence and a bench leader from the start. Fox will be a catalyst of the second unit and is expected to be a vocal leader.
As the Kings’ first of three first-round picks, Fox has high expectations. When he was drafted, everyone assumed he’d immediately be the starter; that was until the Kings signed George Hill to a deal worth $57 million over three years.
If all goes well for Fox and he forces the Kings to make him a starter earlier than expected, his minutes could significantly increase along with his production. It’s an interesting story line to follow as the Kings obviously see Fox as the starter but have a large sum of money invested in Hill for the next couple years.
Stat-line Prediction: 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.1 blocks. 42% FG, 30.5% 3PT, 72% FT.
While George Hill figures to take up most of the minutes at point guard early in the season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team find plenty of opportunities for Fox. Hill has a decent history of injuries, and the Kings showed last season that they’re willing to rest their veterans in order to keep them fresh.
Fox may struggle somewhat with his field goal percentage, but his three-point percentage figures to be much better than it was during his only season at Kentucky. Fox should also be able to make an impact on the fast break, and having so many big men who run the floor will be a big boost for him. While many aspects of his game are still raw, Fox has enough present skill to potentially earn around 20-25 minutes per game.
Missed the previous installments of Hoop Ball Kings’ Roundtable Series? Click HERE to read them.