Just when Kings fans thought they were surmounting their cardiovascular woes, De’Aaron Fox sprains his left ankle and is slated to miss close to a month of basketball, sending many fans into cardiac arrest.
This is obviously a big blow to Sacramento. Fox is their rising star point guard and arguably the best player on the team. The talent he possesses will be sorely missed in Walton’s lineups.
In Fox’s absence look for Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes to pick up the load that Fox was carrying.
On top of that, expect Cory Joseph to get the start and Yogi Ferrell to come off the bench. This will be an opportunity for Ferrell to earn more minutes down the road despite having lost his backup point guard role when the Kings signed Joseph.
The Fox-less Kings will be at home tonight hosting a 4-6 Trailblazer team. This is important game for Sacramento for several reasons.
First, the Kings have to capitalize against a struggling Portland team.
A team who has just added another star after appearing in the Western Conference Finals last season is never expected to start off the season with a losing record, but here they are. Portland just snapped their losing streak and is dead set on getting back up to par with their potential. The Kings cannot be the team to let that happen. Their toughness and willingness needs to be palpable, and Sacramento has to take advantage of Portland’s troubles and deliver them another loss at the Golden 1 Center.
Portland is not a bad team in any sense of the term — everything is taking some time to get into gear. The Kings are, supposedly, not a bad team anymore. Now is the time to prove that Sacramento has improved, because the team has not been terribly convincing thusfar. It’s time for them to stop losing to “good” teams and using it as an excuse for their losses.
This is a new era of basketball in Sacramento and the team has enough talent to make the postseason. “Good” team or not, it’s time to start expecting wins regardless.
Lastly, tonight will be an opportunity for Walton to fiddle with the lineup in order to maximize potential during Fox’s absence.
De’Aaron Fox leaves a huge hole in the lineup and of course, he will not be replaced easily. The Kings’ new head coach will need to work a little magic to maximize potential while his point guard is sidelined; maybe in the process expanding and highlighting the depth of the team to make the group more cohesive down the road.
Even though the Kings faced another big blow last night, it’s not enough to give up hope in early November. There is talent up and down this roster, it just needs to be showcased. Tonight is the perfect night for that.
Look for Sacramento to make a statement tonight against a solid Portland Trailblazers team.