Through roughly three months of action in the 2022-23 NBA season, the Sacramento Kings find themselves at 24-18 and the fourth seed in the Western Conference. They’ve won four games in a row and are on pace to not only make the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06, but host a series for the first time since 2003-04.
The foundation of Sacramento’s resurgence is its third-ranked offense, spearheaded by De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, both of whom tout legitimate All-Star candidacies. Surrounding those three are a bevy of versatile off-ball scorers and shooters, namely Kevin Huerter, Keegan Murray, Harrison Barnes, and Malik Monk.
The Kings run a dribble handoff-heavy attack predicated on Sabonis’ craft and strength, and Fox’s blistering speed and touch. The duo recently appeared on ESPN’s “NBA Today” to explain one of the team’s most popular actions, dubbed “Pistol 5.” Fox led the breakdown and together, they highlighted how multifaceted the action is, given their complementary skill-sets and how well the floor is spaced around them.
this was awesome.
Fox and Sabonis walking the NBA Today crew through their “pistol 5” action. really illustrates to us the multiplicity and versatility of the offense.
these two running their two man game while surrounded by knockdown shooters bends defenses like crazy. pic.twitter.com/gxWsx1quYH
— J r u e (@thatl0calguy) January 17, 2023
Because Fox and Sabonis are such divergent stars in terms of physical profile and skill-set, their assignments don’t typically overlap. The list of defenders who can credibly guard both is quite short. If opponents switch the action, a mismatch has likely been created, meaning help will presumably come from someone guarding one of Sacramento’s accomplished outside shooters. As Fox and Sabonis made evident, it a tough dynamic for any defense to navigate and illuminates why the Kings’ offense has led to so much team-wide success thus far.