Sacramento Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox will withdraw from Team USA to focus on the Kings’ push for the playoffs this season, league sources told THEREWXNZ Sports senior NBA insider Chris Haynes.
Also exiting the roster this week were Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker and Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, who were dealing with ankle and thumb injuries respectively.
Fox had a breakout season last year, averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 assists per game with a .544 true shooting percentage for the upstart Kings.
Fox had shown promise, but few minutes
Even though Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker is supposed to be the leader of Team USA, losing Fox is still a tough blow for the squad. Fox was reportedly a “standout” during his work on the U.S. Select Team and garnered praise from multiple teammates.
Despite that promise, Fox only played six minutes during Team USA’s friendly against Spain on Friday. That was the lowest total of any U.S. player who saw the court.
It was instead San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White who saw more minutes behind Walker, which perhaps isn’t surprising considering the team is coached by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Fox will now refocus on the Kings, who could be in playoff contention after finishing in ninth place in the Western Conference last season at 39-43. Fox’s growth would be a major factor in any progress the team makes in a still-stacked West.
Team USA roster down to 13
With Fox out, Team USA’s roster has nearly reached the 12-man size it needs for the World Cup. Where it proceeds likely depends on Celtics guard Marcus Smart’s recovery from a calf issue. Currently left on the team are:
While that’s not exactly the dream team, it’s still as large a collection of NBA talent as you’re going to see in the World Cup. The team is led by a pair of All-Stars in Walker and Mitchell, who are supported by a plethora of strong role players.