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Report: Kings’ De’Aaron Fox withdrawing from Team USA to focus on the upcoming NBA season

De'Aaron Fox, Kings

Despite participating in Team USA camp and looking like a finalist to make the final roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Sacramento Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox is withdrawing his name from the roster, according to NBA Insider Chris Haynes:

Fox had initially been named to the USA Select Team, but seemed increasingly likely to make the Senior Team given the number of players that had been forced to withdraw, a list that most recently included Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker.

Instead, Fox will turn his attention to the 2019-20 NBA season as he hopes to lead the Kings to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.

After a fairly steady rookie season, Fox made a big leap in his sophomore season, starting in all 81 games that he appeared in while averaging 17.3 points, 7.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. Fox also made tremendous strides in his ability to shoot from the perimeter, making over 37 percent of his three-point tries while averaging an extra attempt per game.

The Kings were in the playoff picture at the All-Star break in February, but injuries to key players like Marvin Bagley III saw them slowly fade out of contention. General manager Vlade Divac then made the surprising decision to fire head coach Dave Joerger even though Joerger led the Kings to 12 more wins than the year prior.

Ultimately, Divac felt that Joerger was not allowing the young core to play with enough freedom, despite the Kings ranking ninth in the NBA in scoring.

Fox will once again be crucial to Sacramento’s success this season, and the Kings will need him to play at an All-Star level if they hope to make the playoffs in a crowded Western Conference.