De’Aaron Fox entering COVID protocol, and Kings are screwed

De’Aaron Fox is having a career year but it will be put on hold.

De’Aaron Fox is having a career year but it will be put on hold.
Image: Getty Images

Quietly, probably because he’s a Sacramento King, De’Aaron Fox has been putting forth the best season of his four-year-career, but will now miss 10-14 days due to the NBA’s health and safety protocol.

The 24-35 Kings had been competitive in a brutal Western Conference for most of the season prior to a recent nine-game losing streak, which was snapped on April 18 following a 14-point road win over the Dallas Mavericks. Fox, who signed a five-year, $163 million extension before this season, finished that game with 30 points and 12 assists.

Over the season, Fox has continued his incremental improvements year-by-year and is up to 25.2 points, 7.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals on the season, while his shooting splits read 48/32 /72. Through his last 17 games, of which the Kings won the first five, Fox’s numbers jumped to 29 points, 6.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game on 50/31/ 78 splits. Over that stretch he also recorded the first two 40-point outings in his career, highlighted by a personal-best 44 in a 141-119 win over the Golden State Warriors On March 25.

As a result of Fox’s injury, the Kings’ play-in aspirations — which might’ve been nuked over the nine straight loses — look dead in the water. In the next 10 to 14 days, the Kings will see the Mavericks and Warriors again, along with the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers, among others. The Kings are currently 12th in the Western Conference and sit 5.5 games behind the 10th place San Antonio Spurs, who are holding the final play-in spot with less than a month of the season remaining. Unfortunately for the Kings, Fox, who has only missed one of the team’s 59 games, had been having one of his healthiest seasons to date.

However, it’s worth noting that the unfortunate setback for Fox will provide a grander look at Rookie of the Year hopeful Tyrese Haliburton, who has had 14 of his 15 starts this season alongside the former Kentucky Wildcat. The Iowa State-alum is averaging 12.6 points, 5.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game this season. He also has shooting splits of 47/42 /84, and his 110 three-pointers places him third among rookies. 

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