With the 2017 NBA Draft approaching, point guard De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky seems like a surefire top-10 pick. Looking at his game, it is easy to see why. He averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game in his lone season at UK.
Weight: 187 lbs
Position: Point Guard
College: University of Kentucky
Strengths: Defense, Athleticism, Leadership, Finishing around the rim
Fox was without a doubt one of the premiere athletes in college this past season. His athleticism was on full display throughout the entire season, as he became a force in the open court. It became nearly impossible to stop Fox when he had a full head of steam. There might not be another player in this year’s draft that has his speed on the court. Fox’s athleticism is one of the main reasons so many teams are willing to take him so high in the draft.
Arguably better than his athleticism is his defense. Fox, himself stated, he takes a lot of pride on the defensive side of the ball. This is what separated him from the rest of the players in this year’s draft class. Every player in the draft can score in some way or form, but not many can stop the opponent from scoring as well. Fox’s defense is going to be very valuable on the next level, as he will be defending star guards such as Steph Curry, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook, nearly every night.
Coach John Calipari gave De’Aaron Fox the keys to the team this past season, and Fox took advantage. Fox knew it was his team, and took full control and was the leader of the team. Since Kentucky is full of one-and-done freshman, it’s important that one of them becomes a leader, and Fox was that guy. He constantly rose up in big games and set a great example for his teammates. Fox is a great teammate, and is very emotional and engaged as well. You could see this in Fox after Kentucky lost to North Carolina in the elite 8, where him and teammate Bam Adebayo were tearing up in the locker room.
Even though Fox isn’t considered a shooter, he does have the tools to finish around the rim. He has always been really effective at using floaters to get the ball above the big man without having to pull up for a mid-range jumper. His elite athleticism also allows him to get up and use contact to finish inside. Fox’s ability to finish at the basket is really important, as he’ll have to do that against some of the best rim-protectors in the world once he’s in the NBA.
Weaknesses: Shooting, Strength, Consistency
The main knock everyone uses on De’Aaron Fox is his jump-shot. He shot 24% from deep at Kentucky, which makes people question how he will fare in the NBA where the ability to shoot is extremely valuable. Fox’s mechanics look really good, and his shot definitely is fixable. He claimed he had an off-year at Kentucky, and should be a solid shooter in the NBA. His recent workout with the Sixers shows otherwise, where he struggled from deep.
Although he is 6’4 with a 6’6 wingspan, Fox has a very narrow frame. Fox will definitely have to get a bit stronger for the next level, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem at all. He was able to get by in college being extremely skinny, but it’s hard to see that translating to the NBA.
Consistency is something most prospects struggle with coming out of college, so it’s no surprise that Fox struggled with his consistency as well. He had many monstrous games this year, and would always show up when it mattered most, but then some games he could be nonexistent. With more work, and more focus on the next level, this shouldn’t be a problem.
NBA Player Comparison: John Wall
John Wall is an easy comparison to make for Fox. Both went to Kentucky, both are elite defenders, and both struggled with their jump-shot coming out of college. This is a best-case-scenario for Fox, but it’s definitely possible he could reach this. Fox has all the tools to become the next John Wall, only time will tell if he reaches his full potential.
Most Likely Destination: #5 to the Sacramento Kings
Fox is highly unlikely to go to the top-3, and it doesn’t make sense for the Phoenix Suns to take him at 4. So, the Sacramento Kings make the most sense. Sacramento has coveted Fox and are in desperate need of a point guard to turn the franchise around. Fox fits that mold, and is also interested in becoming a King, as well. It seems near impossible Fox would fall out of the top-5.