Popovich praise shines spotlight on underrated De’Aaron Fox trait

San Antonio Spurs v Sacramento Kings
San Antonio Spurs v Sacramento Kings / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

De’Aaron Fox is primarily known as an offensive player and scorer around the league, especially with people who don’t regularly watch the Kings. That perception is not unreasonable. 

Fox is one of the fastest guards in the league, the reigning Clutch Player of the Year, and ranks eleventh in scoring across the entire NBA. He is unquestionably a talented scorer. Averaging 26.8 points per game, he is having his best scoring season yet and has made huge strides as a three-point shooter. 

Shooting 37.6 percent on 7.8 three-point attempts per game, he has officially established himself as a true outside threat and three-level scorer. 55 games into the season, Fox has already recorded 19 games with at least 30 points, including 6 40-plus-point games. 

His reputation as an elite scorer is well deserved, but there is so much more to Fox’s game. Much like he improved as a shooter, he also made strides defensively. Many star guards in this league rely on their supporting cast to take care of the defense for them. Fox doesn’t do that (partly because he doesn’t have many good defenders around him). Instead, he works hard, competes, and doesn’t shy away from taking on some of the toughest matchups out there. 

Averaging 1.9 steals per game, Fox ranks fourth in the league in that category—third if you don’t count Marcus Smart, who has only played 20 games so far—and second in total steals with 92. That is still way off from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s 116 total steals, but a great number nonetheless. 

The Kings as a team are still only eighteenth in defensive rating and still have a long way to go. Most nights, Fox is doing his part, however, and last night was no exception. 

Greg Popovich praised Fox’s defensive effort after game against the Spurs

The Kings started the homestretch of the regular season with an important 127-122 win over the Spurs. San Antonio has only won 11 games so far, but the young team played hard and didn’t let the Kings get away with an easy win. 

They have a great young core and are coached by one of the best to ever do it. In a couple of years, they will be a real problem for the Kings as well as the rest of the Western Conference. Gregg Popovich was understandably proud of his young team and the effort they put in. 

He also gave some love to De’Aaron Fox’s defense, however, as he sealed the deal with a late block on Devin Vassell. 

“He’s a heck of a player. He plays hard on defense, too. He’s on the ball, he doesn’t just stand out there. He gets after it,” Popovich said after the game, shining a spotlight on a part of Fox’s game that doesn’t get much love outside the Kings’ community.