There’s this trick in entertainment to build tension: Nothing. Create space, fill it with nothing, then people start to expect something. All of the tension is in the waiting and, oftentimes, the longer the wait, the more exciting the release.

Seventeen years ought to do the trick for Sacramento Kings fans. And if the crowd at Golden 1 Center after two Kings wins over the Golden State Warriors is any indication, they’ve waited plenty long enough. And while it hasn’t been 17 years for De’Aaron Fox, it has been his entire NBA life. Six seasons in, Sacramento’s All-Star point guard is finally getting his first taste of playoff basketball. And now, he’s having his moment.

Flash back to Fox’s introductory press conference moments after the Kings selected him with the fifth pick in 2017. A reporter asked about Sacramento’s playoff drought. At that point, Fox was the Kings’ highest pick since Tyreke Evans was selected with the fourth pick in 2009. It’s not an overstatement to say that from his first moments in the league he was viewed as the franchise’s potential savior.

Are you gonna be the guy to give this Kings team direction?

“I want to come in and be able to affect the game right away,” Fox said. “A lot of people say I can be a franchise changer, and that’s what I really want to be.”

Several turns, steps back, fired coaches, controversial trades and losses later, Fox and the Kings have a 2-0 series lead over the dynasty-echoing Warriors in large part due to Fox’s masterclass performance.

After putting up 38 points in Sacramento’s Game 1 win, Fox finished with 24 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, and nine assists in Monday’s Game 2. It was announced this week that Fox won the league’s inaugural Clutch Player award and he’s showing why on this playoff stage. When Golden State cut the deficit to three midway through the fourth quarter of Game 2, Fox responded by scoring nine points and dishing three assists in the final 6:55 to bury the defending champs.

The Warriors have thrown bodies at him, and Fox has sped by each one like hapless bananas on a Mario Kart track.

Give him too much runway and watch him blow past you without much interference. 

Deny the rim by packing the paint, and he’ll use his best-in-class breaks for a stop-and-pop pull-up jumper. 

When the Warriors put defensive specialist Gary Payton II on him, he muscles his way into his spots and hits a tough baseline jumper. 

Every shot was punctuated with the cheers of Kings fans that have watched Fox grow, and are now watching him lead this team to the kinds of wins they haven’t experienced in nearly two decades.

Fox has outplayed Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. He’s fully harnessed his natural gifts – honing his jump shot to keep up with his turbo speed – and is deploying them one devastating basket after another. 

In some ways, this feels a bit like Curry’s 2014 coming-out party when a young, sixth-seeded Warriors team pushed Chris Paul’s No. 3 seed Clippers to seven games in the first round.

This doesn’t mean the Kings are a year away from winning a championship, or on the doorstep of a dynasty, but it does mean they are finally headed in the right direction. 

It’s been just two games. The next two for the Warriors are at home and you know they have a counter punch coming. This could easily be tied 2-2 going back to Sacramento.

But for a Kings team that wasn’t given much of a chance to knock off the Warriors, that they’ve captured the imagination of the NBA-watching community and are in position to potentially win this series is a keystone moment for this long-beleaguered franchise and the star around whom everything is built. If Fox can keep playing like this, a series win is in reach.

The wait is over, the spotlight is here, and De’Aaron Fox is making the most of it.