Face palm emojis for everyone.
Kings guard De’Aaron Fox tweeted the face palm emoji Monday after finding out Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball would miss Monday’s Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center.
Fox joked that he was “hacked” but said the tweet, which he deleted, was all in fun.
“Y’all ran with it faster than I would run a 40, so I did it,” Fox said.
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Added Fox: “I like to play with y’all ... I know what y’all do. It made a story, didn’t it?”
It did, with fans saying Ball, the No. 2 pick in last month’s draft, was afraid of Fox, who went fifth.
It did, but by the end of the night, there were enough emojis to go around. Fox said he hurt his ankle in the Kings’ 95-92 loss, but said it’s nothing serious and he understands why Ball sat out.
“When I tweaked my ankle, Coach took me out and said the same thing,” Fox said. “No one’s ducking anybody. We’re still going to play each other. We’re both in the NBA for a reason.”
So the unnecessarily hyped match up between Fox and Ball didn’t happen Monday night, and that’s OK.
It’s actually for the better.
This new Kings culture is supposed to be about building up the team, not the individual. That’s something cited as a mistake of previous regimes with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins and supposedly a reason why the franchise remains stuck in rebuilding mode.
In both cases, neither player begged to be propped up, but found themselves on billboards and the focus of public relations campaigns.
So what better opportunity than Monday to put the focus on the team and improving?
The result is of no consequence, rather a reminder that this time of the year isn’t about hype, it’s about improvement.
There will be plenty of time for Fox and Ball to duel in games that matter.
Still, Fox was asked if he was looking forward to the next chance he and Ball could face each other, which is Oct. 8 in Las Vegas for a preseason game.
“I guess,” Fox said. “You all know the schedule better than I do.”
Georgios Papagiannis has been praised for his improved physical condition in his second season and the Kings aren’t expressing any public concern about his play.
Papagiannis played 15 minutes Monday and did not score for the second time in three Summer League games. Earlier in the day, Kings coach Dave Joerger said Papagiannis, the 13th overall pick in last year’s draft, was progressing well.
“Papa looks great, his body looks great, he’s done a lot of work, but he still has a long ways to go,” Joerger said. “So to judge him right then and there (isn’t fair). And that’s the overriding theme of Summer League: Nobody is ever as good as they look or as bad as they look.”
Buddy Hield had the kind of offensive explosion the Kings hope will be a common occurrence, scoring 16 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. He shot 4 of 8 in the period after going 2 for 8 in the first three quarters.
“It’s not tough (to keep shooting),” Hield said. “This is what I do, this is why I’m here, to shoot and score the ball so you can’t even worry about that. Everybody knows I can score the ball.”