De'Aaron Fox: Clutch

Opinions on the progression of De'Aaron Fox differ. But one thing is non-debatable: the kid is clutch.

In February of 2008, Mike Bibby was traded to the Atlanta Hawks after he spent seven solid seasons as the point guard of the Sacramento Kings.

Sacramento has been looking for a replacement ever since. Many have tried: Beno Udrih, Luther Head, Jimmer Fredette, Aaron Brooks, Isaiah Thomas, and Darren Collison, to name a few. Some were good scorers. Others were veteran leaders and good locker room guys. One of them was Jimmer Fredette. None of them had the one trait that Mike Bibby possessed that made him so special to Kings fans: Clutch.

Enter De’Aaron Fox.

We all knew the specifics of his scouting report. He has blazing, game-changing speed, and is an explosive leaper and all-around athlete. He is “a jump shot away” from becoming a potential all-star, and is a pretty good finisher at the rim. What we didn’t know was that he hated to lose, especially in close games.

November 9th - 76ers @ Kings

The legend of De’Aaron Fox’s clutch gene began in the waning seconds of the 11th game of his career, a home contest against the 76ers. Fox was having one of the worst shooting nights of his young career, going 2 for 11 over the first 47 minutes of the game. He scored four points in the final minute and assisted on the Kings only other three points. His dagger from 20 feet sealed the victory for the Sacramento and was our first glimpse at Fox’s ability to close a game.

January 25th - Kings @ Heat

Fox and the Kings visited Miami on their yearly Florida road trip, and found themselves down by 12 points with just over six minutes to play. Though Buddy Hield was the catalyst behind the comeback, it was De’Aaron Fox’s game-winning put-back dunk that made every highlight reel in the nation, and will likely be Fox's top play of his rookie season. 

March 1st - Nets @ Kings

In the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Kings hosted the Brooklyn Nets in a battle of tanking teams. It was Sacramento who would give up the late fourth-quarter lead this time, as the Nets battled back from a seven-point deficit and took a two-point lead with six seconds remaining. Fox ended up with the ball on the wing with three seconds left, blew past Spencer Dinwiddie, and put up a baseline running floater that tied the game at the buzzer and sent it to overtime. The Kings won 116-111.

March 14th - Heat @ Kings

No opponent knows De’Aaron Fox’s killer instinct like the Miami Heat. In the second of the two meetings between the teams, Fox ended up being the hero yet again. After blowing a 16-point fourth quarter lead, the Kings found themselves down by two with three seconds on the clock. Coach Dave Joerger designed a play strictly for Fox, a simple isolation blow-by and drive to the basket. De’Aaron flew by Goran Dragic and threw up an off-balance, leaning, fall away layup that left his hand a fraction of a second before the red light turned on. It was the second game-tying buzzer beater in as many weeks and the second dagger in the heart of the Miami Heat. The Kings went on to win the game in OT and swept the Heat for the first time since ’01-’02.

March 16 - Kings @ Warriors

The Kings were looking to win in Oakland for the second time this season, and things looked promising when the Warriors injury report listed three of their four all-stars out. Through his first 21 minutes of play, De’Aaron Fox was 0-6 from the field and had 0 points. With four minutes left in the game, Fox was on the bench and in danger of being held scoreless for the first time in his career. Joerger subbed Fox in with 3:43 left in a tie game, 85-85. A non-factor for a full minute, Fox turned it on with 2:40 left. He scored six straight points for the Kings, giving them a three-point lead with just under a minute to play. A handful of Buddy Hield free throws and a dunk by Willie Cauley-Stein put the game away for Sacramento, but it was again De’Aaron Fox who provided the late game heroics after overcoming his early game woes.

De’Aaron Fox has hit a game winning/tying shot once in every 16 games he has played in. His shooting percentage in the first three-quarters of games is .402, but raises to .470 in the fourth. There is still plenty of Fox’s game that he has yet to exhibit, attributes that we’ve yet to see. During his rookie year, however, we have gotten a sneak peek at his clutch gene, which is just another reason to be excited about De’Aaron Fox.

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