Sacramento Kings superstar Domantas Sabonis was one of 7 reserves selected for the 2023 NBA All-Star game on Thursday. His co-star, De’Aaron Fox, was not.
Let’s start with the big man, who will make his third career appearance in the game in a few weeks in Salt Lake City. Sabonis is having the best season of his career, connecting everything the Kings do on offense with his passing, bone-crushing screens and brute-force scoring.
In 48 games this season, Sabonis is averaging 18.8 points, 12.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists. He’s been exceptional, and the engine who has helped the Kings get to their current 29-21 record.
Without a doubt, he deserved a spot and was likely going to get one, given the dearth of deserving frontcourt talent in the west.
Fox, on the other, faced a much tougher path in a Western Conference loaded with guard talent. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Ja Morant shoe-ins to make it in the two guard spots, Fox’s best chance was to make it as a wild card.
The two names who made it over Fox that will be the most frustrating for Kings fans are Paul George and Jaren Jackson Jr. While both are great two-way players, Fox has had a great season in his own right and has been on the court healthy much more often than both George and Jackson.
Although he fell short, Fox has unquestionably had an All-Star-caliber season, both stats-wise and team success-wise. Fox is averaging 24.3 points, and doing it efficiently on 50.6% shooting from the field.
Even the TNT crew of Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson picked Fox on their ballots, for what it’s worth.
Fox could still make it if one of the names selected for the game ends up getting injured or doesn’t play in the game for whatever reason. Either way, here’s hoping Fox uses this snub as motivation for the rest of the season.