De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings is playing the best basketball of his career. After a mediocre start to the season, the fourth-year point guard has found his stride, consistently putting up big numbers on the stat sheet while leading his team to gutsy victories over formidable opponents. His performance along with the short-lived resurgence of the Kings in the Western Conference standings have drawn some positive national attention to Sacramento.
The attention is nice and certainly long overdue, but it still may not be enough to get Fox into the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.
De’Aaron Fox has been one of the few bright spots for the Sacramento Kings. Does he deserve a shot at the All-Star Game this year?
While early returns on fan voting should typically be taken with a grain of salt, there are a couple of vote-getters that are making Fox’s absence on the list look foolish. Klay Thompson, who hasn’t played a single minute this season, was listed as the 10th and final Western Conference guard after the first round of voting two weeks ago. When the second round results were released last Thursday, Alex Caruso’s name stuck out like a sore thumb.
Luckily, the fan vote only counts for 50 percent of the final tally. Current players and media members, who are typically more logical and realistic with their votes, will make up the other half. De’Aaron Fox’s resume will undoubtedly be one that they will be taking a long look at.
Fox was decent for the first 13 games of the Kings’ season. His 18.8 points and 5.2 assist average was a slight regression from his numbers from the previous season, but certainly not terrible. The team started off with a surprising bang but faltered into becoming one of the worst defensive teams in NBA history through the first 15 games. The team went 2-8 over a 10-game stretch around the New Year.
Perhaps it can be attributed to the extra rest that the Kings gained when they had back-to-back contests rescheduled, but there was a noticeable shift in both team and individual performance in January and early February. Sacramento went 7-2 over a nine-game stretch, and Fox was the catalyst behind the turnaround. Since January 17th, the speedy point guard is averaging 28.9 points and 8.4 assists per game. His shooting numbers are some of the best he’s had in his four-year career, and he has shown the rare ability to take over games in the fourth quarter.
Speaking of late-game heroics, Fox has been one of the most impressive clutch performers this season. As of February 9th, he was leading the entire league in total points in clutch time, ahead of guys like LeBron James, James Harden, and Kevin Durant. On February 1st in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Kings were down by eight at the start of the fourth quarter. Fox scored 17 straight Sacramento points in the period and finished with 38 points and 12 assists. The Sacramento Kings won by nine.
Breaking through to make the All-Star team as a guard in the Western Conference is brutally difficult. Some of the game’s best players run the point for teams in the West including Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, and Luka Doncic. And just when you think that Fox might catch a break now that James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been shipped off to the East, up comers like Ja Morant and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are now putting up solid numbers.
An All-Star appearance for De’Aaron Fox is certainly a matter of “when” and not “if”, but he’ll have an uphill battle if he wants the honors this season.