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De’Aaron Fox says he’s ‘playing stronger’ and getting to spots easier

Fox is bulking up and studying film of Chris Paul in the pick and roll  

Kimani Okearah

Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox has made getting stronger a priority this offseason. Being able to deal with NBA screens, defend and get to the spots he wants to on the floor demands he bulk up.

The lightning-quick Fox, who is heading into his second season, isn’t one to shy away from contact and believes he can be one of the best two-way players in the league someday. Getting as strong as possible without losing his quickness is part of that.

Kings assistant coach Larry Lewis, who is leading the team in the California Classic and NBA Summer League, said Monday that physicality is something Fox has zeroed in on.

“After finishing last season, a player can look up and say, ‘OK, the NBA is about this, this and that – I need this if I’m going do what I need to do,’ and I think part of it was him realizing that he had to get in the weight room,” Lewis said. “Since our last game … he didn’t waste any time, I think he got right down to business. He is more physical than I have seen him … He’s not going to sit back and take punches, he’d rather give them.”

Fox, who finished with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists Monday against the Los Angeles Lakers, said he has added six to seven pounds so far. He was able to get into the lane with ease against the Lakers (granted it was a Summer League Lakers squad), and finish around the basket displaying some of the added strength he has been able to put on so far this offseason. He looked like a guy who is too talented to be in Summer League, and that is a good thing, but he is taking the opportunity to add to his game.

“I feel like I’m playing stronger, getting to my spot a lot easier and that’s what the offseason is for – to better yourself,” Fox said. “Try to not allow people to go under screens, that’s why I shot a lot of threes today. Summer League is where you work on your game – that‘s what I’m doing. I get to the basket at the blink of an eye. When the game was close, I stopped shooting threes and I got to the basket and shot layups when I wanted to.”

In addition to strength, Fox said he has put a lot of work into pick and roll offense, something the coaching staff has been emphasizing over the last week leading up to Summer League. Along with practice, Fox has been watching a lot of Chris Paul film, particularly how he has navigated the pick and roll throughout his career, going back and watching games from when Paul was in New Orleans, Los Angeles and now Houston.

“Just speed the game up entirely, we’re seeing it in Summer League, but that’s something that we’re going to try to bring over into the regular season,” Fox said.

Shooting is something else Fox will need to continue to work on as well. In his 30 minutes against the Lakers, he was 9-15 from the field, but 1-6 from three.