De’Aaron Fox finished last season with his first All-Star appearance (as an injury replacement for Stephen Curry), his first All-NBA selection, and the inaugural NBA Clutch Player of the Year award. He put together an amazing season, leading the Kings back to the playoffs after years of losing.
This season, he is playing even better, though. Due to an ankle injury, Fox has only played seven games so far. Over those seven games, he is averaging 31.9 points, shooting 50.6 percent on field goals and 41.7 percent from three, 4.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.9 steals in 31.9 minutes per contest.
He has been on a tear, scoring over 30 points, including a 43-point performance against the Spurs, in four games and over 25 points twice. His play is making all the difference for the Kings this season.
With him on the court, they just play with a different energy and pace. He can score pretty much at will and receives so much defensive attention that it creates easy shots for his teammates.
In the seven games he has played so far, the Kings never scored less than 114 points. Without him, they only eclipsed the 110-point mark once, proving how crucial Fox is to the Kings’ success.
He leads the team in points, field goal attempts, three-point attempts and percentage (if we leave out Jordan Ford’s 50%), free throw attempts, and steals. He is the best player on a top-five team in the West. All this points towards a top MVP candidate.
Because he hasn’t played enough games yet, however, he was not included in the NBA’s latest MVP power rankings.
Fox could break into the top of the MVP ladder soon
The latest list featured Nikola Jokic at number one, followed by Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to round out the top five.
Following at six to ten are Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Tyrese Maxey, Bam Adebayo, and Domantas Sabonis. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, and Donovan Mitchell were also mentioned.
With what he is averaging right now, Fox is right there with the top five. He ties Joel Embiid for the top scorer of that group as well as the league, ranks third in assists, and trails only Gilgeous-Alexander in steals. He is becoming a true two-way player, affecting the game in every aspect.
All these guys have played at least 13 games, however, so Fox still has some work to do to keep up this kind of production over a longer stretch. The way he’s been playing doesn’t suggest that he’s going to slow down anytime soon, though.
He just dropped 30 points on incredibly efficient shooting, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals without a single turnover, outplaying Luka Doncic and his Mavericks.
Fox is making a real case to be included in the MVP power rankings once he hits the right number of games played. Besides that, he definitely shouldn’t be just an injury replacement at the All-Star game in Indiana.
He is one of the top guards in the West on both ends of the floor and one of the best clutch players once again, not just a third-string option. As of now, Fox ranks second in fourth-quarter scoring behind only LeBron James. The numbers he is putting up all across the board should not be ignored.
Mike Brown sees Fox as a possible MVP candidate
After the Kings’ 129-113 win over the Mavericks, Coach Mike Brown had high praise for his star point guard.
“He’s a two-way player, he guarded multiple guys tonight…and he was phenomenal. But that’s who he’s supposed to be, and we need to get that every single night from Fox for 48 minutes, and that’s his mindset. Once he’s there, now he’s MVP because nobody, nobody, can mess with that man. He’s that talented,” he told reporters.
Winning an MVP award in the NBA is tough, especially when you have to compete with some of the best bigs the game has ever seen, and Fox probably won’t win it this season.
The Kings are not prominent enough just yet, and other candidates might have even better cases. He can enter the conversation, however.