De'Aaron Fox-Domantas Sabonis duo exceeded Monte McNair's expectations

McNair says Fox-Domas duo already surpassed his expectations originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis became one of the NBA's elite pairings during the 2022-23 NBA season, leading the Kings to their first playoff appearance in 16 seasons.

However, Kings general manager Monte McNair initially didn't know how the tandem would turn out when he controversially traded rising star Tyrese Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers for Sabonis, an All-Star center, last season.

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"We do a lot of planning and forecasting of what it's going to look like," McNair told reporters Wednesday. "We talked about it when we initially traded for Domas. Until it comes together, you're not sure exactly what it's going to look like.

"But those two guys have just surpassed expectations, both individually and with each other."

Fox and Sabonis surely surpassed any expectations McNair or anyone placed on the duo.

In their first full year together, both Fox and Sabonis made the All-Star team for the first and third time, respectively. More importantly, the tandem helped bring playoff basketball to a city that had been missing out for an NBA-record 17 years.


For his part, Fox was the winner of the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year award, beating out Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan and others. Sabonis, on the other hand, likely will nab an All-NBA selection after leading the league in rebounding and having the second-most triple-doubles (14) this season behind Nikola Jokić (29)

With the tandem working in harmony, McNair said it was "great" to see Fox and Sabonis' teammates enjoying their own success because of it.

"Those two guys not only are great individually and make the game easier for others, but guys love to play with them," McNair continued. "Their unselfishness, their ability to make teammates better, their personalities -- all those things give us a chance to be pretty special."

RELATED: McNair pinpoints Kings' biggest priority going into offseason

As the Kings look to build on a successful season behind their two All-Stars, all eyes now turn to McNair, the 2022-23 Executive of the Year, and what he will do in the offseason to bolster a team looking to be a championship contender.

Though with Fox and Sabonis leading the way, McNair's job might be slightly easier, now that Sacramento has a foundation to stand on.