In what is probably a death blow to the Sacramento Kings‘ playoff hopes for the 2021 season, star guard and team leader De’Aaron Fox is ruled out for up to the next two weeks, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Kings guard De’Aaron Fox is expected to miss at least 10-to-14 days due to health and safety protocols, sources tell me and @sam_amick. Sacramento is currently three games out of play-in 10th seed.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 24, 2021
To expand on this news, Fox is projected to miss around six games, which will all be against Western Conference opponents.
These games won’t be against pushovers either. Sacramento will face the Utah Jazz, the Golden State Warriors and a white-hot Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks twice, and a Los Angeles Lakers team with, most likely, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. This will all be without Fox, who is their leading scorer by almost ten points.
Fox, who is averaging 25.2 points, 7.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game, is by far the Kings’ most productive player. No one else on the roster has proven to be able to carry a playoff-caliber offense on their own. Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes are the next two presumably up to bat, but each comes with his own glaring weakness.
Instead, Fox’s absence will be a golden opportunity for rookie Tyrese Haliburton to develop and grow as the de facto team leader. His rookie campaign is arguably the second-best of the 2020 class behind only Lamelo Ball, and it’s a close shave to boot.
It’s unlikely that Haliburton alone will be able to tread water without De’Aaron Fox opposite him. At the very least, however, this will be a valuable growing experience for both him and the team.