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2020-21 Kings Season Preview: De’Aaron Fox

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Could this be the season De’Aaron Fox finally puts it all together?

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our 2020 Kings Season Preview series, where we’ll be looking ahead to what this season will bring for every member of this Sacramento roster and pondering both best and worst-case scenarios. Today, let’s continue with De’Aaron Fox.

How did he get here?

The Kings drafted De’Aaron Fox with the No. 5 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Since then, he’s been the face of the franchise in spite of the fact that they’ve had a higher draft pick since then. Fox signed a five-year, $163 million max contract extension with the Kings in November.

What is his best-case scenario for 2020-21?

De’Aaron Fox took a pretty substantial leap in his third season with the Kings, averaging 21.1 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field, both of which were career-highs for him. And yet, he still has so much room to grow on both ends of the floor.

The most obvious area Fox can improve in his 3-point shooting. Fox shot a disappointing 29.2 percent from behind the arc last season, a 7.9 percent drop-off from last season, albeit on 0.7 more attempts. If Fox can improve his 3-point shooting this season, he will have no problem averaging over 20 points per game again this season.

However, even more important than Fox’s 3-point shooting is his defense. The Kings were 6.4 points better on defense per 100 possessions with Fox on the bench last season, according to Cleaning the Glass. That can be partially be attributed to the units Fox played with last season, but it also has a lot with his own abilities, or lack thereof.

Fox has the physical tools to be an elite defender at the point guard position; can he finally put them all together this season?

What is his worst-case scenario?

The Kings want to play fast this season and the preseason was a sign of that. That will likely lead to more easy baskets for Fox, but it could also lead to him having heavier legs on the defensive end. Again, it’s not Fox’s offense that’s hurting the Kings right now; it’s his defense.

If Fox can’t hold his own the defensive end, the Kings will have to do their best to hide him going forward, and they can’t do that with the personnel they have right now. In other words, if the Kings are going to be half decent this season, Fox needs to make a hug leap on that end.