PG Kentucky De’Aaron Fox 6’4” 180 6’6” wingspan
Player Comparison: Rod Strickland/ Russell Westbrook
Why here: Fox will be the Kings best player immediately. He will have minutes and freedom to develop his game as he pleases, and should mesh well with the development of young surrounding perimeter talent in Buddy Hield and the peculiar interior skill set of Skal Labissiere. A common and sensible selection for rookie of the year, Fox will have lots of ups and downs. The Kings will go from having no PG on their roster to snagging one of the most promising from this years draft.
Strengths: Fox has one of the biggest ceilings of this draft class. His explosiveness is remarkable for the PG position… fiery first step… uncanny leaping ability off the dribble… staggering athleticism and speed. Elevates with gliding ease, especially in traffic. Loves dunking. Avoids hindering contact but has IQ for drawing fouls. Streaky dribbling arsenal… adept at splitting traps and turning defenders… extremely evasive ball handler… slithers more than creating space between defender off dribble. Impressive stop and go speed… nice hesitation moves, step through/over layups, spins in transition, elite euro step, etc. Smooth body control in air… often elevates early when thrashing, throwing defenders off kilter and allowing time to use his strong improvisation skills.
Convincing passer… frequently finds open man… makes high IQ passes… enjoys flashy passes if assist is assured (alleys/open threes)… splits small windows… great passing threat out of pick and roll… handles and passes well with both hands… collapses defenses with threat of dribble drive and often creates open three point or dunk assists while in the air headed to the rim.
Fox has good shooting mechanics (bends arm a tiny bit too much). Hasn’t shown prowess at three point range, but ability of shot creation at mid and short range is remarkable. Doesn’t need much space to get shot off… isn’t bothered when shooting off balance… does good job of setting feet and getting into rhythm before shooting… has shown clutch gene. The three will come with time. Has proven to have Westbrook-esque stop on dime midrange jumper in transition and off catch. Most three pointers come off the catch. Dependable floater game.
Shows great tools on defensive end. Has quick hands that result in lots of pickpockets. Anticipates well, especially off ball… plays passing lanes… picks up man sooner than most because of his lateral quickness and competitive edge.
Weaknesses: Needs to improve his consistency beyond the arch and finishing ability with his off hand at the rim. Sometimes becomes indecisive, especially in pick and roll situations. He depends more on athleticism and instincts on defensive end rather than IQ or positioning, often resulting in lapses of judgment, misreading of a play, or failure to hedge through screen/cover roll man. Often guards upright, using athleticism to overcompensate if he’s beaten, which is detrimental in pick and roll defense.
Similarly, on drive he depends on athleticism and scoring/passing ability rather than reading the defense, resulting in turnovers. Makes errant passes after leaving his feet, gets whistled for charges, and gets trapped in morass of defenders. Has yet to prove he can guard up beyond the 2 (often struggled with switches on SGs). Despite reasonable height and length for the position Fox is moderately gangly, and often gets bodied by bigger and bulkier guards or big men off switches.
Outlook: Fox has the tools to be a complete elite PG in the league. His weaknesses are amendable and can be accommodated with direction and practice. His strengths are eye popping and will hopefully help Sacramento reinvent its basketball identity. As the fastest player in the draft, Fox will bolster this teams transition first priorities, creating lots of open looks on the break for teammates. Being on the Kings will force him to create a jumpshot sooner than other teams, and he will be slotted to play loads of minutes. Sacramento will get back on track after parting ways with the polarizing figure that was Boogie Cousins.
Random Prediction: Signs with Nike– they make an eerie commercial with a fox hunting in the woods and it finishes with DeAaron dunking the ball. It’ll be in black and white. Finals MVP (2027).