De’Aaron Fox has often been criticized for the way he looks at the beginning of each year and why it takes him time to ramp things up. But not this year. The young star is having the best start of his career while also leading the Sacramento Kings and their historical offense on their journey to end their 16-year playoff drought.
The Kings are currently on a seven-game win streak and the number three seed in the West with a record of 10-6, and the league is starting to take notice.
Fox has always been a good player with a lot of potential. However, when you play for the Sacramento Kings, the basketball world tends to push you out of focus. I called him a star at the beginning of this post, but Fox has yet to break through and actually be named an All-Star. Even back in the 2020 season — when he averaged 25.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.5 steals — many people though he deserved it. But no. He plays for the Kings.
Aside for the team he plays for, there are a couple reasons Fox has yet to claim the sought after accolade. He’s never finished a season with a record of .500 or better and he hasn’t been a “complete” player. Yes he’s always been able to run and jump with the best of them, but for years, that was it. Fox could only score at one level, at the rim. But after a offseason where he made it clear how hard he worked to improve his game, we have seen a different Mr. Fox in 2022.
Though he is still a lethal weapon at the rim, Fox is now a legitimate threat at all three levels. He is averaging career highs in field goal percentage, three-point percentage and free throw percentage — 55.5 percent, 40.8 percecnt and 84.4 percent respectively. He also looks a lot more confident when shooting the ball and only shows hesitation when he see opportunity for a better shot elsewhere. His play this year has forced opposing defenders to guard him further out than in previous years while still having to stay ready for him to attack the rim. This has not only made him more dangerous on offense, but creates a lot more opportunity for his teammates.
But it’s not just his playing ability that’s improved. Fox has become the leader Sacramento has been missing for a long, long time. He has shown the level of accountability a team looks for in their leader and seems to be helping the rest of the team — as well as himself —learn from their mistakes very quickly.
"Learn a lesson, win a game." -De'Aaron Fox— James Ham (@James_HamNBA) November 21, 2022
This is Fox’s sixth season in the NBA. Though it may have taken longer than some of his peers, it looks as though he is now the player Sacramento drafted back in 2017. Hey, it took Giannis Antetokounmpo five years to become the 20 and 10 guy Milwaukee envisioned when they drafted him. Some players just take time to develop. Not to mention, the Kings didn’t necessarily make it easy on Fox to have a real chance to grow.
He is only 24 years old and is already one of the league’s better players. Now that he has a legitimate roster and competence in both the coaching staff and front office, I think Fox will only get better. Nothing will give an athlete confidence like consistency in the win column. This is the first time this year the leader of the beam team has won Player of The Week, but it won’t be the last time.