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Dallas Mavericks Tourney Watch: De’Aaron Fox

Mar 4, 2017; College Station, TX, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard De'Aaron Fox (0) smiles during warm ups before a game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Reed Arena. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2017; College Station, TX, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard De'Aaron Fox (0) smiles during warm ups before a game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Reed Arena. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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March has arrived, and the stakes are high. In addition to playing for a championship, many prospects are trying to show out on the biggest stage for NBA scouts. Today we will be looking at Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox. 

Coming out of high school, De’Aaron Fox was the top ranked point guard among all the major rankings. However, in college competition like Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz have leaped ahead, making Fox on a slight back-burner in the national discussion.

This may cause him to slip into the Mavs drafting range, provided he doesn’t lead Kentucky on a rampage through the tournament.

Fox is a 6’4″, 187 lb point guard from Katy, TX. He is long, athletic, and a very smart player with excellent court vision and passing ability. Based on current mock drafts, Fox is projected to go before the Mavs pick, but as everyone knows, anything can happen between now and the draft that may cause him to fall or the Mavs to rise.

Strengths

His point guard intangibles are excellent. He makes quick, accurate reads in transition and off of screens. He identifies mismatches and attacks them accordingly. He is very fast in transition but knows when to control the tempo of the game. He is tall for a point guard and uses his length well in pressure and half court defense.

Draft Express has Fox as their 5th ranked prospect, and had this to say about him.

"Fox’s size, athleticism, passing and defense gives him a great platform to build off as a NBA prospect, even if scouts will want to see him progress with his skill-level to project him as a top-flight point guard long-term. – Source: http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/De-Aaron-Fox-72510/ ©DraftExpress"

While he is not an elite scorer, he has found ways to put the ball in the hoop at Kentucky, and according to ESPN player stats he averages 16.1 points per game on 47% shooting. He also averages 4.8 assists per game.

Weaknesses

While he is quick and an excellent athlete, Fox has a relatively weaker lower body and struggles defending physical guards that can get him off his line. NBA guards like Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul will take advantage of him and use their physicality to draw fouls and abuse him defensively. However most players get a lot stronger in the NBA and Fox is still really young.

According to Draft Express, the biggest concern teams seem to be having about him is his jumper.

"As a shooter, Fox does not have bad mechanics, but struggles to translate that to game settings at the moment. His release isn’t lightning quick and he doesn’t create a great deal of separation from defenders. He will have to work very hard to continue to round out this part of his game. – Source: http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/De-Aaron-Fox-72510/ ©DraftExpress"

While his mid-range game has potency at times, his mechanics are loose and his touch comes and goes. He barely attempts one three per game and its usually off. While he was an excellent scorer in high school, his shooting touch hasn’t translated into college and will be an issue in every game in the NBA.

If he can fix his mechanics and start being a consistent threat from distance, it will make him much more attractive to teams in the lottery. His shot is what separates him from Ricky Rubio and Elfrid Payton, other point guards that have historically struggled to shoot.

Fit with the Mavs

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Fox is a crafty ball-handler and canny passer that would fit well in any NBA team. That being said, his jumper and defense will need to improve for Carlisle to fully trust him. We already had a Kentucky point guard that couldn’t shoot or play defense before and we all remember what happened there don’t we?

We definitely have a huge need at point guard that needs to be addressed this draft. Everybody loves Yogi, but unless he makes (another) big leap he won’t help us much. Fox would be a legitimate long-term solution at point guard, and his pass first style would create easy opportunities for Curry, Barnes, and Wes when Dirk retires.

Next: Mavs Tourney Watch: Harry Giles

Kentucky faces Northern Kentucky tonight at 8:40 pm. Assuming the expected result occurs, they will play the winner of Dayton and Wichita State next. Keep an eye on Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo as well, as they are both first round level picks that could be in range.

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