If there was any doubt about the value of De'Aaron Fox to the Sacramento Kings, the last three games have answered it.
Fox is out with a “moderate” ankle sprain suffered against the Lakers on Oct. 30 — a game where he returned to play after the injury and scored 37 in a Sacramento win — and the team has gone 0-3 since he sat down, losing those games by a combined 44 points. Two of those losses were to the rebuilding Houston Rockets.
De'Aaron Fox appeared to injure his ankle on this play pic.twitter.com/LdiryKeh6h
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) October 30, 2023
Fox has been officially listed as out for Wednesday when Sacramento hosts the Portland Trail Blazers (who will be without Scoot Henderson due to an ankle sprain and Anfernee Simons with a thumb injury).
Fox, who made his first All-NBA team last season, is averaging 31.3 points and six rebounds a game this season, and more importantly, the Kings have been 24.5 points per 100 possessions better with Fox on the court. Combine that with Domantas Sabonis getting off to a slow start — 15.8 points per game with a 57.6 true shooting percentage (down from 19.1 and 66.8% last season) — and the Kings offense has dropped to 20th in the NBA. It is no longer covering up the team's bottom 10 defense.
There is no timeline for Fox's return, but it can't be soon enough for a team looking to make a step forward after a breakout last season.