The Future of Sac isn’t Fox

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Updated: October 26, 2021
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A constant debate occurs at the end of the season when All-NBA votes are being tallied, and that is the value of point per game by a player on a losing franchise. 25+ points used to be a benchmark of success and almost guarantee a guard a spot slotted in at the very least 3 team all-league…but we saw last year plenty of big-time bucket getters left off the list. Now, a part of this has to do with the fact that the top-tier talent is possibly in the biggest surplus it has ever been. That is one perspective as to why several players are being left off All-NBA despite their remarkable raw numbers. The other ideology however is that the game has changed, and with the influx of scoring, somebody on a bad team is going to collect the points…but it doesn’t always translate into production that produces W’s.

De’Aaron Fox averaged a clean 25 for the Kings last season and yet, Sacramento finished 12th in the West above Minnesota and the tanking OKC and Houston tandem. No one who follows the league thinks that Fox isn’t a good player, his athleticism jumps off the screen and he has been deemed the fast player in the league. The problem is he can’t shoot or cover anyone on the defensive end…and we have seen how guards of this nature usually underperform in the playoffs. As is everything in the NBA these days, it is a question of value and fit. Is Fox an above-average guard? Of course…but is he worth the max contract that Sacramento signed him to? Probably not.

Now if Fox was all they had there would be an argument to build around him with 2-way wings who can space the floor. However, Sacramento lucked themselves into two excellent picks in the last two years, both of which ended up being 2-way guards. The obvious point is, if there is a market for Fox as a max player and can be traded for a wing or forward at his caliber, the Kings already have their two starting guards in Tyrese Haliburton and rookie Davion Mitchell.

Trade 1:

It is quite ironic that this is now a hard sell today in October 2021 because 365 days ago, it would’ve needed to be Fox plus 4 first and swaps to even get Philly at the table to consider a Simmons trade for De’Aron. Well as everyone who covers the NBA knows all too well times have changed. Simmon’s stock somehow is even lower than it was the week before and has now been sidelined with mental health issues and lower back pain. It has been reported that the Kings have stated that Fox in a deal is a non-starter and as they keep trying to package Buddy Hield who no one particular wants to pay for. But this was all before they could see what Davion Mitchell really is.

The fact of the matter is, even if Ben Simmons never takes another shot outside of 9 feet, he’s still better than De’Aaron Fox probably ever will be. And with Sacramento so thirsty to get to playoffs, even though they should already know if they squeak in, they will be annihilated by a top seed, Simmons is their best bet to get there. He’s an exceptional regular-season player, and the trio of Halliburton, Mitchell, and Simmons could end up being a top 10 defense, instead of the worst defense in the league they were last year. I am quite confused actually what Sacramento thinks Fox does better than Simmons besides shoot which Fox does not do well anyways. Simmons is more devastating in transition and at the basket, he’s a better facilitator, and as is well known,

For Philly, they have reportedly asked for Fox so I assume they would be interested. I doubt they would want to add a first in as a sweetener and probably would expect 1 in return instead, however, they would get their “All-Star Caliber” player for Simmons. I personally do not like the fit of bringing in a non-shooting guard to pair with my All-NBA center, however, things are getting thick in the weeds in Philadelphia.

Trade 2

This was an option brought up by Athletic Alchemy on The Hezi podcast and was one I hadn’t considered but it is intriguing. It is unclear how either franchise would feel about what assets would need to be attached to whom in order to execute the deal, however, it is quite clear that the B.I fit next Zion is leaving much to be desired. Putting a non-shooting defensive liability next to Zion does not appear to be the best option, but the Pelicans are in a desperate place where they need to try something new. On paper, Marvin Bagley would be an excellent fit next to Zion and create a dynamic frontcourt. However, due to his constant injuries, his actual on-court production has been close to zero. Possibly New Orleans would need to send one of their 5-10 million dollar contracts since they will have to sign Bagley in restricted free agency, however, the 11 million he makes should be about what he gets in his new contract.

For Sacramento, the starting lineup of Haliburton, Mitchell, Ingram, Barnes, and Richaun Holmes is wicked. It is not a contender yet, but it is a dangerous team to match up against in the first round of the playoffs. Considering the hypothetical offer sheets that would be sent to New Orleans for Ingram if he were made available Sacramento would probably need to add 2 draft picks in order to trump the other offers.

 Conclusion

 At least based upon the reports of discussions between Philly and Sac, the Kings overvalue Fox and because of this, it is unlikely he is ever moved. However, the pairing of sophomore Tyrese Haliburton and freshmen Davion Mitchell is a match made in heaven. If Sacramento is able to identify what is best for the future of their franchise, they should at the very least consider what they could get in return for Fox. Specifically, the opportunity to steal Simmons away at the price tag he could currently go for has to be explored. It is possible that Morey is still asking for the world for Simmons and if that is the case the idea can be thrown in the dust bin, but desperation is an odd drug that can make fools of us all.

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