After the best statistical season of his career, Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox hasn’t been able to be stay consistent so far this year.
Last season Fox was able to show his true value as an offensive nightmare for opposing defenses. He averaged 25.2 points and 7.2 assists per game while also shooting almost 48% from the field and 32% from behind the arc. He also averaged career highs in field goals, threes, and free throws made per game with 9.1, 1.8, and 5.2.
This season, Fox is averaging numbers similar to his third season. He’s putting up 21.3 points and 5 assists per game while shooting 45% from the field and a mere 26% from beyond the arc. And yes, the field goals, threes, and free throw numbers have dropped as well.
But it isn’t just the numbers that look worse. It’s how he looks on the court. The once fiery energetic speedster has looked less aggressive as he tries to help lead the team and set up others for scoring opportunities.
Should the Kings still gameplan to have Fox to be the primary facilitator, or does the next step in his development involve him playing off-ball? If the last few weeks under Alvin Gentry are telling, it’s the latter.
The Kings have simplified De'Aaron Fox's responsibilities from primary creator to primary scorer, and that's really helped him as of late.— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) December 18, 2021
Last 12 games: 23.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals on 59.4% TS. Averaged 7.2 assists last year. Beneficial role change. pic.twitter.com/LtHzL8T8ww
Fox is a scoring machine. It’s what he does best. Despite having a lackluster jumpshot, his athleticism and craftiness allow him to be nightmare in the paint.
Since the other starting guard for the Kings, Tyrese Haliburton, has proven his ability to facilitate the ball well, the Kings could make a change similar to what the Brooklyn Nets did last season.
The way Tyrese Haliburton has worked his floater to disguise his lobs is so fun to watch pic.twitter.com/Djis2Rxi68— Mark Schindler (@MSchindlerNBA) December 1, 2021
When James Harden, a proven playmaker, joined the Nets their offense looked weird at first since pure scorer Kyrie Irving was still the primary playmaker. However, the team quickly remedied their slump by switching the role responsibilities of their guards. With Harden at the one and Irving at the two, each player was now able to play at their strengths and help make their offense one of, if not, the best offense in the NBA.
If the Kings permanently make Haliburton to the main playmaker, it would allow Fox to focus on what he does best: go get a bucket.
In their last game against the Grizzlies, Fox was among the Kings players that were unable to play due to being placed in the league’s health and safety protocol. In this game, Haliburton led the team with 21 points and 10 assists in their 124-105 loss. He was the only Kings’ player with more than 4 assists.
Once the Kings are healthy again, it will only give Haliburton better weapons to give the ball to. It will also take some pressure off of Fox and continue to let him play better.