If there were any hopes of the Kings making the play-in, those have been shattered.
Per reporting from Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, De’Aaron Fox will miss the next 10-to-14 days because of the health and safety protocols. Even if Fox returns at the earliest date possible, he will miss the next five games. Fourteen days would keep Fox out of eight games. The Kings only have 13 contests left.
The timeline does appear that Fox tested positive for the coronavirus, as contact tracing would keep him out for about a week. We wish Fox all the best and hope for a speedy recovery.
At the moment, Sacramento is already five games out of the tenth seed for the play-in. Getting in would have been a monumental ask, and will be nearly impossible without the team’s best player available.
However, the Kings could make up some ground in the other direction. They are 2.5 games behind the Cavaliers in the lottery standings, and it stands to reason that they won’t be collecting any wins in Fox’s absence. Meanwhile, Cleveland has three games against Washington as well as matchups against Toronto and Orlando coming up.
This would be a useful opportunity to get Tyrese Haliburton back into the starting lineup so that he can finish his rookie season on a high note after slumping in his demotion to the second unit. The Kings should also use this time to start to see what they have in their other rookies, who have barely played at the NBA level this year.