De'Aaron Fox was nervous, but he still scored 18 points
The Kings had one technical foul called over the last 25 games of last season, on Georgios Papagiannis in a game against the Phoenix Suns.
Papagiannis picked up his first technical foul of summer league Friday night with 4:19 left in the second quarter for a shove to Phoenix forward Josh Jackson after a play in which Malachi Richardson was fouled and landed hard on the floor.
So don’t tell Papagiannis that he’s supposed to take it easy because it’s summer league. He might not play a lot in the regular season, but when he does play, he’ll be physical and won’t allow his teammates to get pushed around.
Probably the happiest person about Papagiannis’ edgy play was Richardson, who made sure to give his big man props.
“I think teammates love it,” said Kings summer league coach Jason March. “You always want your big fella to have your back.”
Papagiannis went scoreless but had 11 rebounds in the Kings’ 89-85 loss at Thomas & Mack Center to open summer league play in Las Vegas.
Fox got loose
The Kings know De’Aaron Fox is fast and can get to the rim. And it was a treat to watch how the point guard was able to get to the rim and finish, showing just how crafty he can be in scoring 18 points, which tied fellow rookie Justin Jackson for the team high.
Fox’s left-handed moves were especially impressive as he showed he’s capable of finishing above bigger players by putting the ball high off the glass.
“I was really comfortable out there,” Fox said. “Nothing really came as a surprise to me, the way they played, the way they defended, I feel like I was really ready. People gave me really good advice coming in and I went out prepared.”
March said the Kings will do more to put Fox in position to attack as summer league progresses.
“He showed he can get in the paint whenever he wants,” March said. “We didn’t put him in any as many pick-and-rolls as I probably will going forward but there was a little bit of a strategy with that. We wanted him to execute offense and run some plays and some sets.”
Taking it slow with Giles
The Kings said after drafting Harry Giles they had no concerns about his knees, but he was held out of Friday’s game.
Giles tore each ACL while in high school and struggled to work his way back from arthroscopic surgery in October, the second operation on his left knee.
The Kings selected Giles 20th overall in last month’s draft, but he was considered a top-10 talent before the knee injuries.
“Harry had a great minicamp,” March said. “I think what we’re going to do with him, it’s just going to be a process and we’re going to be really smart about it. Just take it nice and slow. Like I said, he had a great camp. I don’t know if he’s going to go or not but he’s working his butt off, I can tell you that. It’s just part of the process with him; we’re going to be smart.”