The Golden State Warriors had their hands full with the Sacramento Kings on Saturday evening, needing every bit of 48 minutes to escape with a one-point victory. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson carried the day for the reigning champs, combining for 75 points, but after the final buzzer, Durant put a spotlight on a member of the opposition, even on the heels of an inefficient night for that individual.
James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area brings word from Durant, who heaped significant praise on Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox despite a performance in which he made only 3 of 14 shots on the way to nine points and nine assists.
“If you hand the ball over to De’Aaron Fox, he will change your franchise,” Durant said. “That is the type of player he is, no-nonsense, come to work type of player. He is going to play for his teammates. He didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, but you can tell he dictates the pace and he made Quinn (Cook) work all night.”
Fox has been tremendous this season but this kind of statement from Durant brings even more validation. The 20-year-old is perhaps the biggest reason for Sacramento’s strong team performance this season, as Fox is averaging 17.7 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game in his second NBA season.
While this wasn’t the best night at the office for the former Kentucky star, Durant went on to say that the Kings have a “nice team” and, perhaps more importantly, that Sacramento is “going to be really good in the future.” It is certainly worth pointing out that other members of Sacramento’s young core, headlined by Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein, have performed quite well this season, and there are signs of life from 2018 lottery pick Marvin Bagley III. Still, everything seems to begin with Fox and, on a night that centered around individual brilliance from Thompson and Durant, Fox received a big-time stamp of approval.