Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox entered health and safety protocol Thursday afternoon, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Kings are already without interim coach Alvin Gentry and Marvin Bagley III whom they lost Wednesday.
Earlier today, the Kings were forced to cancel practice and close down their facility in midst of “growing concerns” the outbreak could lead to the postponement of future games. As COVID continues to wreak havoc across the NBA, as well as other major sports leagues, Sacramento is the latest franchise to take a hit.
Missing a coach is bad, but not impossible to work around. Missing a franchise player, as well as key role players, not so much. It is also still unknown how many other people on the team and staff will enter the protocol as well.
The scary part of this, besides everyone’s health, the Kings already struggle to compete when they are at full strength. This already accursed season may have somehow gotten worse.
In the event of no other key players entering the health and safety protocol, this will be an important moment in the careers of both Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell.
For Haliburton, he now steps into the role of the leader and primary ball handler. Many fans have high hopes Haliburton can turn into one of the league’s premiere guards. Unlike the other two rookie guards that were his fellow Rookie of the Year finalists, Lamelo Ball and Anthony Edwards, Haliburton has not been able to elevate his game in his sophomore season. With Fox out, this is the perfect moment for him to prove his value and show what he is capable of when he’s quarterbacking the offense.
Davion Mitchell on picking up his first NBA start: pic.twitter.com/2ViapM9eaT— James Ham (@James_HamNBA) December 16, 2021
For Mitchell, this also a great opportunity to show prove his worth. He earned his first career NBA start last night against the Wizards and will likely have the chance to stay in that role until Fox returns.
Having already proved himself defensively, the Kings will now look to see if Mitchell can increase his offense to help make up for the loss of Fox.
Though Sacramento is missing key pieces, many other teams are as well. If they want to make the best of the current situation, role players will have to step it up and allow the Kings to take advantage of other crippled teams.