Sacramento Kings rookie De’Aaron Fox has now played two games since missing a few of weeks with a partial tear of the right quadriceps muscle. The injury gave him time to sit back and reflect on how he can help his team.
Following the Kings 106-98 win over the Denver Nuggets Saturday, Fox told reporters he knows he shouldn’t just be focused on scoring when he gets into the lane because teams will catch on to that. So, he has been trying to balance that by taking shots and kicking the ball out. Being aggressive in the half court, not just in transition, is another point of emphasis.
With George Hill and Frank Mason both out on Saturday, Fox posted 18 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal in extended minutes (35) against the Nuggets. He admitted to getting slightly fatigued as he is trying to get his wind back after the time off from the injury, but fought through that. The 18-point performance follows up a 17-point production night in the Kings previous game against the Charlotte Hornets. It is the first time Fox put up more than 15 points in back to back games since the first week of the season.
The speedy guard took a few minutes to chat with Sactown Royalty about his injury, the grind of the NBA and more.
How difficult was that injury for you? It is the first time in the NBA you have had to deal with an extended absence like that.
It’s hard just not playing, but for myself that injury probably helped me. Just being able to sit there and watch and see what my team needed, and for myself, sitting there I was just thinking, ‘someone needs to make the game easy for others.’ I feel like at the end of last game, we got blown out that game, but I felt like I did that, and I feel like this entire game today, I felt like I made it easier for my teammates.
Did it give you more time to sort of look at tape and analyze things?
It didn’t even have to be the tape – it was just from watching. When you are able to watch a full game and not be able to play, you really just start to think, the mental aspect of the game. That’s really what I was thinking. Of course, it hurts not being able to play, not being able to go out there with those guys, but at the end of the day, I feel like that helped me.
How is the grind of the NBA? Obviously, it is different than college and it is day after day. Is it getting to you at all?
Honestly, right now it’s just like what happened in college – I played well at the beginning of the year, then I kind of hit that slump and didn’t play well, and now it is picking up. So, thinking of it just like I did at Kentucky, we’re all going to go through those bumps in the road, I’m just trying to pick up my play right now.
What do you think of the direction of the team right now with this group of young guys and how you all are developing?
It’s coming along. It’s something that we need to start seeing the progress now, and I feel like today was a good step in that direction, but for us we have to develop that consistency.
Does playing extended minutes give you a comfortable level out there?
Even when I was playing shorter minutes, I should be more aggressive. I should know that I’m going to get that break and when I come in, I just need to be aggressive. With these extended minutes it just comes into conditioning and being able to do that.