Sacramento Kings

Kings’ Fox doesn’t pass up his chance in Rising Stars but sacrificed one of his strengths

Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox didn’t look for his shot much in the Rising Stars game Friday night at Spectrum Center, but he certainly knew how to find his teammates.

Fox dished out a game-high 16 assists — in just 22 minutes of playing time — to help the U.S. Team defeat the World Team 161-144. Fox passed up open shots and breakaway dunks throughout the contest, opting to share with his friends instead.

Fox said he was trying to break the Rising Stars assist record of 22, set by Washington Wizards star John Wall in 2011.

“I was trying to break John’s record and get everybody involved, and ultimately just trying to win the game,” Fox said. “When you’re in a game like this and the ball is moving, that team is most likely the one that’s going to win.”

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma was named MVP after scoring 35 points. Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons led the World Team with 28 points.

Fox recorded four assists in the first period and kept dishing them out, sometimes in spectacular fashion. Fox was out in front in transition in the second quarter when, instead of throwing down a highlight-reel dunk, he chose to bounce the ball high into the air for trailing Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins, who wowed the crowd with a sensational jam.

Later, Fox threw a similar bounce pass to Kings teammate Marvin Bagley III. Fox used his blazing speed to run down a long lead pass and bounced it backward at a difficult angle as his momentum carried him out of bounds. Bagley took care of the rest, elevating for an emphatic dunk to give the U.S. Team a 107-99 lead.

“That’s Fox,” Bagley said. “He was telling us before the game he was going to pass to us. He had some great passes, too.”

Fox attempted only three shots and scored two points.

Bogdanovic had 15 points for the World Team, making 5 of 11 from 3-point range. He also had six assists and five rebounds.

“I was like, ‘I hope he doesn’t get hot, because that wouldn’t be good for us,’” Fox said.

Bagley had 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in his first Rising Stars game for the U.S. Team, including a show-stopping 360-degree dunk late in the fourth quarter. That one came off an unofficial assist from Bogdanovic, who went rogue in the game’s final moments to get one of his real teammates a breakaway basket.

Bagley had another highlight-reel play early in the second quarter when he grabbed a rebound and threw down a two-handed windmill dunk.

Fox didn’t hesitate when asked which of Bagley’s dunks he enjoyed the most.

“Definitely the windmill,” he said. “I’ve seen the 360 before, so the two-handed windmill was cool.”

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Jason Anderson is an award-winning sportswriter for The Sacramento Bee. He started his journalism career at The Bee more than 20 years ago and returned to cover the Sacramento Kings in September 2018.