Crazy Like a Fox

Once the laughing stock of the NBA, the Sacramento Kings now look like a professional basketball team on the rise again.

It started with a new Golden1 Center arena in downtown Sacramento, followed by a bold divestiture in shares of the often misunderstood center DeMarcus Cousins, and cunningly, topped off with the 2017 drafting of point guard De’Aaron Fox.

Let’s all get used to saying that name — De’Aaron Fox. Altogether now — De’Aaron Fox. Great job everyone!

Now, lean in and listen closely. Everyone drafted before De’Aaron —save for perhaps Jayson Tatum — will be considered as the Sam Bowie to Michael Jordan, the Greg Odom to Kevin Durant, and the Ricky Rubio to Stephen Curry. They simply won’t live up to their draft status, while De’Aaron Fox will emerge as the guy that got away. Period. Vlade Divac’s mark on the Sacramento Kings will forever be linked to drafting De’Aaron Fox with the 2017 pick.

Similar to the 2003 NBA draft class of LeBron, Carmelo, Bosh and Wade, the 2017 class will go down in history as one to savor. There is another similarity here that perhaps only the Sacramento Kings were wise enough to spot — De’Aaron Fox is to this draft as Dwayne Wade was to the 2003 draft. He’s ready for the moment RIGHT NOW and capable of carrying a team on his shoulders. De’Aaron will be the one to succeed first, he’s the one with the killer instinct, and the one with the most balanced skill set.

The comparison to Dwayne Wade doesn’t end with the overall selection as the number five pick, but extends to De’Aaron’s quickness and athleticism that is possessed by few others at the position. He’s neither a pass-first or shoot-first guard — De’Aaron simply takes what the defense gives him and makes the right play. Yet, he’s astute enough to create his own shot, as well as take one step to get to the rim and make defender’s pay the iron price. Like all of the rookies in his class, with a bit more bulk on his frame, De’Aaron will eventually become a force to be reckoned with.

Even smarter by the Sacramento Kings is that they chose a young player that’s happy to be the face of their organization, and brought in savvy veteran leadership to surround his development in both Vince Carter and Zach Randolph. While everyone’s focused on the slick passing skills of the buzzy Lonzo Ball, De’Aaron’s operating under the radar like a lethal gas waiting to catch the league off guard.

It’s time to crank up the cowbells again, because not only are the Sacramento Kings silently the most canny team behind the purple curtain, but they’re also crazy like a Fox.

(This article was originally published on July 17, 2017)