National Basketball Association

De'Aaron Fox's ascension has the Sacramento Kings in playoff contention

February 8

There is a new king of the court in Sacramento, and he's making his presence felt nightly across the NBA.

De'Aaron Fox has been one of the NBA's best-kept secrets since he was selected with the No. 5 overall pick by the Sacramento Kings in the 2017 NBA draft, but his play lately has him on the verge of becoming a household name.

The Kings' speedy point guard has increased his productivity each season of his career, peaking this year by playing 33 minutes per game, scoring 23 points per game and shooting 48% from the field.

Fox's steady improvement has the Kings tied with the Golden State Warriors for eighth in the Western Conference, with a record of 12-11.

The Kings have won four in a row and seven of their past eight games — and those wins haven't just come against the NBA's bottom-feeders. The Kings have beaten the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers in their past three games, thanks to Fox's dominant play, including a 36-point outing Sunday against the Clips.

Through his first three seasons, Fox's growth as a player went largely unnoticed, thanks to his squad's lack of wins.

Now, his play has turned a young Kings team into a playoff contender, and the individual accolades are starting to roll in, with Fox named the Western Conference Player of the Week.

The recognition for the fourth-year guard might not end there.

Fox is sixth among NBA point guards in scoring this season, productivity that has him in the middle of conversations about potential All-Star selections, as detailed by James Ham of NBC Sports.

"Over his last 10 games, Fox is averaging 26.2 points and 7.7 assists per game. He’s shooting 48.5% from the field over that stretch and a much improved 38.2% from 3-point range.

"These are elite numbers, although he needs to continue at a similar pace if he wants to be considered for the All-Star team. He also needs to get the Kings back over the .500 mark and in playoff contention to help bolster his case."

Well, Fox has done just that, carrying the Kings to a winning record while making his name as a franchise player and putting himself in the company of one of the greatest point guards to play in Sacramento.

The Kings have a shot to make the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons, the longest active playoff drought in the NBA. 

If Fox can continue his elevated play, he could become a first-time All-Star and experience his first taste of the postseason.

But he might not be entirely thrilled about it.

"I’m going to be brutally honest: I think it’s stupid," he said. "If we have to wear masks and do all this for a regular game, what’s the point of bringing the All-Star Game back?"

We'll have to wait and see.


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