Sabonis’ Impact in Sacramento:
Domantas Sabonis has also had an immense impact on the Sacramento Kings and his teammates, mainly De’Aaron Fox. Following the trade, many people in sports media and social media said the Kings should’ve kept Haliburton and traded Fox instead, noting that Haliburton showed more potential and is 3 years younger than Fox with a higher possible ceiling as well. While all that is up for debate, one thing that isn’t is how this trade has helped De’Aaron Fox blossom into a legit playoff-level star and has also made NBA media notice what the Sacramento Kings are doing.
While Fox’s numbers didn’t take a huge leap as Myles Turner’s did after the trade (he is posting a career-high in FG% at 50.6%), it’s how he’s getting those points that matters. While he’s still a fantastic scorer at 24.4 points per game, good for 20th in the league, the main attraction of the Kings’ offense has been the Fox/Sabonis pick and roll. With Sabonis being dubbed “an Ox” by Fox shortly after the trade, he has lived up to that name with his great strength and deceptive athleticism, being one of the top screen setters in the league, ranking second in screen assists per game with 5.6 and first in total screen assists with a whopping 295, 16 more than second-place Ivica Zubac. “The Fox and the Ox” as Mark Jones dubbed them have turned into a very exciting duo for Kings fans to get excited for and for league pass owners to check out every once in a while.
In addition to Fox, Sabonis’ presence has also opened up the floor a lot for the 3-point shooters on the Kings to flourish, with the Kings having 5 players on the team shooting above 35% from 3 (minimum 1 made 3 per game). Rookie Keegan Murray’s even leading all rookies in 3PT% with 42% on the season (minimum 100 attempts) and is currently 10th in the league in that field. In addition to Murray, the Kings can also rely on the sweet shooting of Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes, Terence Davis, Trey Lyles, and even Sabonis can occasionally step behind the arc and make one, with him shooting a career-high 35.4% from 3 (on 65 attempts however).
With all these shooters and the superb passing ability of Sabonis, kicking out to the open man whenever possible, the Sacramento Kings, dubbed the “Beam Team” are finally on the rise, and are a team you can expect to see in the playoffs for the next few years. Light the beam, Kings fans.