Fox, Sabonis react to zero Sacramento Kings making the All-Star team

Feb 7, 2024, 4:06 PM

Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings talks to teammate De'Aaron Fox #5 during the game agai...

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 29: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings talks to teammate De'Aaron Fox #5 during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Golden 1 Center on October 29, 2023 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Only two top-9 seeded Western Conference teams do not have a single All-Star on their roster: the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings.

Last season, both De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis were named to the team, Yet despite improved numbers from both, they were left off in 2024.

Having won six of their last eight, Sacramento’s record has notably improved since coaches were required to submit their ballots, but the stellar duo have excelled all season long.

After Wednesday morning’s shootaround, before their matchup with the Detroit Pistons that night, they both spoke with reporters about being left off the team.

“It’s a tough talent pool,” Sabonis said. “The best players are there. Obviously, it would have been an honor and a privilege to be there with everyone, but you just keep working hard, and, for me, the main goal is to win a championship with this team.”

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Fox was more surprised by Sabonis not being named to the team than himself. “I think in every MVP tracker, (Sabonis is) in the top 10,” he said. “I think he’s the only guy in the top 10 of an MVP tracker that’s not an All-Star. That’s definitely more surprising.”

“We’re nine games over .500 right now — sitting in fifth — I think top-10 in the NBA, and you have a guy that’s almost averaging a triple-double,” Fox continued. “I don’t know how they look at that and think it’s okay.”

Take a look at Sabonis’s numbers and team record compared to some of the players who made the list:

  • Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings (29-20): 19.7 points, 13.1 rebounds, 8.2 assists on 61.9/43.4/68.9
  • Karl Anthony-Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (35-16): 22.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists on 51.7/43.7/87.4
  • Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers (27-25): 24.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.6 assists on 52.1/39.0/72.7
  • Paul George, LA Clippers (34-15): 22.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists on 46.1/41.2/90.8

Sabonis is first in the NBA in double-doubles (45) and tied for first in triple-doubles (15) with reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. Not to mention, his 13.1 rebounds lead the association as well. Impressive, typically All-Star caliber production, and he loses out on money in the process.

Last season, due to making All-Star and All-NBA, Sabonis was awarded $2.6 million from incentives included in his contract. Not making the initial All-Star selection denies the big man $1.3 million this season, although All-NBA is still in play. Fox does not have the same incentives in his contract.

“(Sabonis is) a guy who’s losing out on money who should one-thousand percent be there,” he said.

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The Timberwolves, Clippers, Suns, and Lakers all have two players on the team, while the Sacramento Kings have no representation. In Fox’s case, he’s the only player in the top 10 in scoring not to be named to the list — now that Trae Young has been named as an injury replacement.

Here are Fox’s numbers compared to those who made the team:

  • De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings (29-20): 27.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds on 46.9/37.8/72.1
  • Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (22-25): 28.1 points, 5.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds on 46.0/41.0/93.2
  • Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (30-21): 27.9 points, 7.1 assists, 4.7 rebounds on 50.2/38.6/86.9
  • Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves (35-16): 25.9 points, 5.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds on 46.6/39.4/83.8
  • Paul George, LA Clippers (34-15): 22.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists on 46.1/41.2/90.8

Sabonis was surprised neither made it but said, “Fox deserved it. He’s been leading this team. He’s been doing it night in and night out.”

“He’s the head of the snake,” he continued. “Sometimes that happens, but that’s not what we play for. We’re here playing for the Kings, for the city, and our ultimate goal is a lot larger than that.”

There’s no denying that Fox has not only repeated his success from last year but also continued to build upon it. His dramatic improvements as a three-point shooter and defender, averaging the fifth most steals per game (1.8), are undeniable.

The challenging part of these conversations is always who they should have been selected instead of. While Curry’s counting numbers are slightly better than Fox’s, the Kings own a significantly better record than the Warriors.

The opposite is true when comparing Sacramento’s duo to Paul George. While their individual stats may be more impressive, the Clippers are often viewed as one of the best teams in the league.

Sabonis has a numbers advantage on Anthony-Towns, but the Wolves have been sitting atop the West most of the season. The Lakers are currently projected to be a low-seeded play-in team, but Davis’s resume is apparent.

Either could still make the team via injury replacement — as Fox did last season — but if not, they will be able to enjoy some time off during the All-Star break. Fox joked about avoiding the cold weather in Indiana, but getting the entire Sacramento Kings roster time to rest and reset could be valuable.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

  • Wednesday, February 7th – Sacramento Kings vs. Detroit Pistons – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, February 9th – Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, February 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 12:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, February 13th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, February 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Denver Nuggets – 6:00 PM PST
  • NBA All-Star break – February 15-21

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