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Gentry: De’Aaron Fox has a ‘newfound energy’ since his return from injury

Swipa has been on a tear in his return to action.

Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s been one week since the Sacramento Kings made the decision that De’Aaron Fox would be the undeniable face of the franchise, acquiring Damontis Sabonis in a blockbuster trade for sophomore Tyrese Haliburton. Despite the trade rumors that swelled surround Fox during this season, reading between the lines was easy for fans and players alike.

Never subtle, Fox’s body language screamed defeat early in the season, as his scoring slump was noted by the national discourse surrounding the Kings in the fresh weeks following Luke Walton’s exit. He was visibly discouraged, quiet and unlike any form of himself we had seen in the last five season.

Enter the brutal loss to the Detroit Pistons on January 19th. That loss was a catalyst for a depressing phase of Kings basketball, losing five straight on the road to a cast of East Coast characters, all of which seemed to end in a brutal beating with a shaken fanbase. Notably, Fox did not play on that trip. In fact, he missed the following week of action when the team returned to Sacramento as he worked through an ankle injury that had plagued him in the month prior.

Last Tuesday, Fox returned to the lineup emphatically. Since the Kings acquired Sabonis, Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb, Fox has averaged 27 points on nearly 50% from the field. The Kings have split 2-2 since their blockbuster trade, but all signs point to Fox returning to his vintage style of play. Attacking the rim, getting to the free throw line and blowing by his defenders with ease.

It’s all the things we loved from Swipa in his near All-Star campaign last February, and according to Alvin Gentry, it’s on and off the court.

“[De’Aaron] has found a newfound energy.” Gentry told reporters ahead of Sacramento’s contest in Brooklyn on Monday night.

Building chemistry with this new running mate in Sabonis will be integral to finding success this late in the season. With the spring in his step, Fox has the opportunity to steer Sacramento in the right direction bring his highly effective play and visibly different level of effort in this final quarter of regular season contests.