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Sixers look to rebound in Sacramento

Sixers vs. Kings preview!

Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Sixers have dropped six of their last seven games amidst a West Coast trip. In terms of who’s been on their schedule, it’s been a brutal draw, given that Joel Embiid remains out, due to health and safety protocols. There are no easy wins when it comes to this undermanned Sixers team, but facing the Sacramento Kings tonight might be exactly what the squad needs to bounce back and tread water in the Eastern Conference standings.

At 6-11, the Kings sit 21st in net rating (minus-1.5 points per 100 possessions). They’re coming in limping more than the Sixers themselves, having lost seven of their last eight in their own right.

Here are three noteworthy points ahead of tonight’s tipoff:

- De’Aaron Fox has a weird connection to the Sixers. During the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery, an infamous pick swap acquired by Sam Hinkie allowed the Sixers to hop from fifth to third in the draft order. They leapt over the Kings, who fell to fifth. The Sixers used the third pick and a future 2018 first-round pick to move up and acquire Markelle Fultz. With the fifth pick, Sacramento selected Fox.

Fultz and Fox’s respective careers went in wildly different directions from that moment forward. Fox has felt like a budding star in this league, turning in a strong age-23 season in which he dropped over 25 points per game with a career-high true shooting percentage of 56.5. With the constant talk of Ben Simmons trades this past offseason, Fox felt like a dream target for the Sixers. I love the dude. Kentucky guards just have a fire to them.

Fox’s 2022 campaign couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. He’s shooting just 41.9 percent from the field and a putrid 24.3 percent from deep on 4.4 threes per game. His rate stats are the worst they’ve been since his rookie season.

This all means he’ll drop 35-6-9 tonight.

- The last two weeks or so have been, uh, rough for Sixers big man Andre Drummond. In his last eight games (seven starts), he has a plus-minus of -51. He’s never had the deftest touch around the rim, but his true shooting percentage dropping below 49 percent is way below his career number (53.8 percent). He looked like a G League player against Rudy Gobert. He started off stellar in a reserve role behind Embiid, but he’s been a little over his head as of late in this increased capacity.

Are we due for a revenge game from former Sixer and current King Richaun Holmes against a struggling Drummond? I think Drummond settles down tonight and gets back to his earlier form.

- Will I ever stop talking about Tyrese Maxey? The answer is no.

In 17 games this year (all starts), Maxey is averaging 18.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 42.1 on threes. Despite the team’s 9-8 record, Maxey remains a force that makes the Sixers a must-watch event for Philly fans right now.

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