Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar with. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube.
De’Aaron Fox – PG – Kentucky-Freshman
Weight: 171 lbs
Projected: 4 (CPP Big Board) 5 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: Kentucky has made its name by getting top level recruits and showcasing them for one year before they depart to make millions in the NBA. Every year the lights shine on these freshman as they play in all the marquee games, receive tons of publicity, and because John Calipari hypes them up. Last season, Kentucky was led by a dominant backcourt led by two stellar freshmen who played with different styles but complimented each other nicely. We have already broken down half of that backcourt with our NBA Breakdown of Malik Monk, now we will take a look at his running mate that has shot up draft boards as quickly as he sprints up the floor. De’Aaron Fox came to Lexington with just as much fanfare as Monk but was quickly overshadowed when Monk almost hung a 50-burger on the National Champion Tar Heels. As the season went along, Monk cooled off and started sharing the scoring reigns with Fox. Monk is more of a deliberate driver that plays off his jumper but Fox is a straight driver that can beat any opponent with pure speed. Fox has risen on draft boards since the NCAA Tournament where he outdueled fellow Top 10 pick Lonzo Ball. Fox seems a lock to go in the top 7 with the Lakers and 76ers even looking at him for the top 3.
Strengths: SPEED! De’Aaron Fox has made a name for himself with his speed. He is fast and quick with his drives to the rim, to transition game, and his defense against opposing point guards. Fox can fly up and down the court with the ball in his hands which reminded many NBA Scouts of former Kentucky point guard John Wall. Once Fox came into his own on the offensive end there was no stopping him as he averaged over 16 points a game. He will still be one of the quicker players on the court once he steps up the NBA next year which will help him do damage in transition. Defense will be a calling card for Fox as he is a great on ball defender that can guard either guard spot and has the potential to be an elite defender at the next level. Fox is so young and athletic that teams will dream about him developing the way John Wall did.
Weaknesses: Fox is a little more risky than some of the other players at the top of draft boards. He put up some impressive point totals but his scoring was inconsistent at times. Some games Fox just did not have it and didn’t do much on the offensive end of the floor. Fox did not display great vision or ability to set up teammates in his year at Kentucky as he only averaged 3 assists per game. That stat may seem average but with Fox having the ball in his hands and the ability to throw up lobs to the talented big men it is disappointing. Fox should’ve had 3 assists a game solely on lobs and other assists to Monk on drive and dishes.
The other major weakness in Fox’s game is his shooting. No one could stop him driving to the hoop so Fox was not forced to pull up or take jump shots but the NBA will be a different animal. Fox only shot 30% from deep at Kentucky while NBA scouts like guards to be around 37%-40%. Fox will need to spend significant time on his outside and mid range jumper in order to keep defenses guessing. If Fox can only drive with his left hand he will be stopped going to the rim and left alone when behind the three point line.
Comparison: John Wall
I showed my hand earlier with the John Wall comparison but it is scary how similar they are. Wall was a speedster and unstoppable driver during his year at Kentucky and the Wizards selected him hoping that his jumper and surrounding offensive game would develop and it has. The team that selects Fox will have the same hope as he grows and develops. Wall was the number one pick because he showed a better ability to pass and find his teammates in the right spot. Wall showed his stuff during the playoffs this season and is now considered the best point guard in the East. Fox will have a long way to go to get to where John Wall is now but their starting points are extremely similar. College fans should hope that Fox gets put into a good situation where he can reach that potential.
Be sure to check out our other Top 30 Breakdowns and NBA Draft Charts: