De’Aaron Fox continues his defensive ascent with the Kings

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Clippers
Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Clippers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

As a former number five pick, hopes for De’Aaron Fox’s career were high. Last season, he officially burst on the scene, making his first All-Star game, leading the Kings back to the playoffs, and winning the first-ever Clutch Player of the Year award. 

Now, despite the Kings’ seating compared to last season and not making the All-Star squad, Fox is playing even better. His three-point shot has vastly improved, and he spent most of the season in the top ten of scoring across the league. 

He has already scored 30 or more points 20 times this season, including six 40-point games, and was huge in all of the Kings’ last three wins. And yet, some of his most impressive contributions have come on the defensive end. 

Fox continues to deliver defensively 

Fox is determined to be one of the top two-way guards in the league. He does not want to rely on role players to take care of the defense for him. He would rather battle with the likes of James Harden, Mike Conley, and Darius Garland at the point guard position. 

On a team lacking defense and physicality, his dedication to bother ballhandlers, pick their pockets, and lead with his chest has been crucial. All season long, Coach Mike Brown has been urging his team to fight over screen and just generally give opponents a hard time. 

Youngster Keegan Murray has answered the call well but it is Fox who is leading the change. If the best player on the team works both ends of the floor, others will follow. 

We have seen it, especially since the All-Star Break. Against the Spurs, the Kings did not play a great defensive game but got the win on a huge block from Fox. Last night in LA, the Kings responded with a much better defensive performance. 

The Kings were locked in, made things tough for the Clippers, and didn’t allow too many easy threes. Fox once again led the charge, collecting three steals and getting physical with James Harden. 

Harrison Barnes had some big praise for his teammate after the game. “I thought Fox set the tone defensively for us…One of his best defensive games all around that I’ve seen him play and I think everyone just fed off that,” he told reporters. 

Mike Brown was finally elated with his team’s defensive performance after months of pushing them to do everything they showed last night. 

“Tonight’s game will continue to give us belief that we can get it done behind the three-point line on defense, and if we do, with as talented as that group is…, the sky's the limit,” he praised his squad after the game. 

Fox knows that he is the catalyst and how important defense is to his team’s future success. As a result, he continues to make strides and is establishing himself as one of the best two-way guards in the NBA right now. 

Fox and the Kings still have quite some work to do to become a real playoff force, but the All-Star guard is definitely moving in the right direction, and hopefully, the rest of the team will follow.