The Kings went 4-0 this week as De’Aaron Fox led the team past the Pelicans and then three contenders: the Celtics, the Nuggets, and the Clippers.
For his efforts, Fox is a first-time winner of the Western Conference Player of the Week. He beat out Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Ingram, LeBron James, and Donovan Mitchell (all former All-Stars, mind you) for the distinction. This is the first time a King has been honored since Demarcus Cousins in January 2017. Cousins was of course traded three weeks later.
Fox, however, just inked a max extension to remain in Sacramento for five years after this one and the early returns are outstanding. The fourth-year guard averaged 31.0 points and 8.8 assists per game over the past week. He shot 65.8 percent at the rim and 37.9 percent from 3-point range while launching 7.3 attempts per game. He even canned 76 percent of his free throws, a meaningful step forward considering his free-throw percentage has dipped for the second straight season.
The POTW cases for Fox and Giannis ... pic.twitter.com/isxT3pqdQl— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 8, 2021
It wasn’t just the numbers. Fox absolutely took control this week and elevated his performance as the games went on. The Kings were down 10 points in the fourth quarter to New Orleans and then Fox outscored the Pelicans by himself the rest of the way. He hit a step-back jumper against the Celtics with under a minute remaining to ice the game, and then took it to Kawhi Leonard and Ivica Zubac repeatedly in Los Angeles, scoring 24 points in the paint.
Maybe the Kings were the beneficiary of teams missing their secondary stars this week, but good teams seize those opportunities and take advantage. And with the way Fox was playing, who’s to say that anyone could have kept him from getting to his spots at full strength? As Reggie Jackson of the Clippers put it, Fox is playing at “Bugatti speed”. He’s reached a new level and is the deserved recipient of the player of the week designation.