Guard Malik Monk of the Sacramento Kings wasn’t shocked. Coach of the Kings, Mike Brown, was also aware that it would go in. Chicago Bulls supporters inside the United Center could be heard yelling an impatient “No!” after All-Star player De’Aaron Fox lifted above Ayo Dosunmu for a potential game-winning 3-pointer on Wednesday night. This is probably because they had already seen the movie.
Fox hit a three-pointer with four seconds remaining with the score knotted at 114 each to lead Sacramento to their 41st victory of the year and give the Kings their first record of.500 or higher since 2006.
Sacramento Kings guard Malik Monk wasn’t surprised. Mike Brown, the Kings’ coach, was also aware that it would succeed. An anxious “No!” could be heard coming from Chicago Bulls fans inside the United Center on Wednesday night as All-Star player De’Aaron Fox raised over Ayo Dosunmu for a potential game-winning 3-pointer. They had likely previously watched the film, which explains their behavior.
With the score tied at 114 each, Fox’s three-pointer with four seconds left gave Sacramento its 41st win of the season and gave the Kings their first record of.500 or higher since 2006.
Monk, who had a terrific view of Fox’s 3-pointer as he patiently waited to see what his old University of Kentucky teammate would do in the corner of the court, wasn’t at all startled by Fox’s most recent clutch performance.
Monk said after the game, “I’m going to keep saying it guy, I’m not surprised. “Because I’ve known him for a while, I am aware of his intentions. I had the most faith in him. Fox just being Fox.”
“Just Fox being Fox,” is a familiar response from Kings players and coaches who have witnessed Fox’s crucial efforts up close and personal all season long. Fox currently holds the NBA record for most clutch points, which are those made in the final five minutes of a game when the score is within five points. The remarkable element, though, is not that Fox tops that category, but rather how far ahead of everyone else in that statistic he is.
When Brown took over as Sacramento’s head coach this past summer, he wasn’t prepared for Fox’s clutchness, which has become standard among Kings players and coaches at this stage in the season.
Brown stated, “It was one of the things that I didn’t know how he would be consistently in the clutch when I got the job.
But, since seeing it play out, Brown has vocally advocated for Fox to be named to an All-NBA squad and has referred to him as the league’s most clutch player.
Fox should most definitely be considered for the All-NBA teams, but we’ll have to wait and see how they come together. Fox, though, is a lock to earn the first Jerry West Clutch Player of the Year award due to his domination in the crucial moments. No one has ever been as reliable towards the conclusion of games as he has been, and what’s even more amazing is the variety of ways he’s scoring these points.
As Fox is regarded as the league’s quickest guard, he can easily slip by any opponent that stands in his way thanks to his lightning-fast speed. When that occurs, he has excellent control around the rim and finishes at a 78% rate, which is not just a career-high but also the greatest percentage for a guard this season. Throughout the course of his career, his mid-range game has steadily improved to the point where he’s now making 50% of those attempts, which places him in the 91st percentile. The one questionable aspect of his offensive game is how well he makes 3-pointers, but so far in March, he’s been shooting 37% from beyond the arc.
Ironically, Fox has struggled shooting 3-pointers, yet two of his game-winning jumpers this season have done so, including the one against the Bulls. The other was a carefree 35-foot attempt made in November when against the Orlando Magic.
Fox is equipped with the attacking tools necessary to destroy almost any defense. Yet there are also many players in the league with strong offensive repertoires who haven’t demonstrated the same level of lethality as Fox when the game is on the line. So what sets him apart from the competition? Brown will focus on Fox’s qualities that cannot be captured by a single statistic as well as his basketball knowledge if you question him about it.
“His presence, composure, demeanor, whatever you want to call it, has just been outstanding down the stretch of games, especially one possession games,” Brown said of his All-Star guard. “To no one’s detriment, but I simply had the impression that the shot was going in as he walked into that three. And that has nothing to do with me since all we did was order everyone to move out of the way. He just oozes confidence during that phase of the game and has proven play after play that he is capable of carrying out his assignment.”
With the trend of Fox making all of his game-winning shots on the road this season, there is undoubtedly some importance behind that. Fox praises his teammates and coaches for giving him the confidence he needed in such situations.
If someone has ever asked me whether I’d rather hit a game-winning home run or a road game-winner, I’d always respond, “I’d much rather do it on the road,” Fox said. “But, that’s just the way I am as a person. I’d rather hush the audience than let it kind of grow heated. calm, not raucous. I enjoy doing it while driving.”
Fox has been the reason Sacramento has the sixth-best clutch victory %, whether they are playing at home or on the road. The league should already have Fox’s name engraved on the Clutch Player of the Year trophy, even if other individual honors might not be decided until the final game of the regular season. Opposing teams had better pray Fox doesn’t have the ball in his hands with the game on the line if he can continue this domination into the playoffs.