Phoenix Suns Draft Watch: De’Aaron Fox

Feb 4, 2017; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators forward Justin Leon (23) fouls Kentucky Wildcats guard De'Aaron Fox (0) during the first half at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 4, 2017; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators forward Justin Leon (23) fouls Kentucky Wildcats guard De'Aaron Fox (0) during the first half at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The draft watch continues this week with the second Kentucky player we have previewed: De’Aaron Fox.

In our Mock Draft 1.0 we project Fox to the Sacramento Kings with the 7th overall pick.

Player Comparison

The freshman point guard out of Kentucky is compared by to current Atlanta Hawks misfit guard Dennis Schroeder. Fox’s recent claim to draft stardom is his huge splash in the NCAA tournament when he dropped 39 points in 36 minutes all over Lonzo Ball’s lackluster defense.

Fox is compared to Schroeder because of their similar style of play. Both are high energy, explosive, jerky players. We can’t compare statistics because Schroeder came over from Europe, but there’s no doubt that a comparison would show how much this similarity is purely on style, not physicality or preparedness. Fox is a much larger player at 6’4″ which is 3-4″ taller and weighs in at 190lbs, a solid 20 pounds larger than Schroeder’s slender 170lbs.

Statistically, Fox compares more favorably to another former Kentucky point guard: John Wall. Wall is also 6’4″ and was 194lbs in college. Wall averaged 17 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals a game as a freshman. Fox’s stats are almost eerily similar with his averages of 17 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal during his freshman year. Both shot similar percentages, but Fox put up his numbers with better teammates and in 5 less minutes per game.

Why the Suns Would Want Him

Live Feed

2017 NBA re-Draft: De'Aaron Fox landing spot, Kings selection
2017 NBA re-Draft: De'Aaron Fox landing spot, Kings selection /

A Royal Pain

  • The 2017 NBA draft ruined Portland’s best shot at a title with Damian LillardRip City Project
  • Redrafting the 2017 NBA Draft: Which teams fix their mistakes?FanSided
  • How the Denver Nuggets handed the Utah Jazz a contending coreThe J-Notes
  • Detroit Pistons history: Re-drafting the 2017 NBA DraftPistonPowered
  • New York Knicks 2017 Re-Draft: NYC lands a cornerstone Big ManDaily Knicks
  • Eric Bledsoe is not the Suns long-term answer at point guard. The team needs a player who can be the starting point guard to partner with Booker, Chriss, and Bender. Fox will struggle early on to be the primary ball handler and his streaky shooting will drive fans crazy. However, Booker is developing as a ball handler and can give Fox time to grow into that role and work on his shot. You can see how well Wall and Bradley Beal play together in Washington. Phoenix could have a similar dynamic with Fox and Booker.

    Unlike Ball who clearly got exploited for his horrific defense during the tournament, Fox can really defend well against elite competition. His energy, aggression, and speed give him the ability to be a premier defender. Not only did Fox post 39 against Ball, but he held the top-pick to 10 points. That defense would be critical with Booker being one of the worst backcourt defenders in the NBA.

    The question is why would the Suns want him given their draft status? If they pick top-three, Fox should be not be a serious consideration. If they fall to the fifth spot, Fox might make a lot more sense. The reason Phoenix might look at Fox is that Minnesota, Philadelphia, or New York might decide that having Bledsoe and a future first, or some other combination of trade assets, is a better return than drafting Fox themselves.

    If the Suns could retain a top-three pick and swing a deal for Fox, fans should rejoice. Having a lineup of Fox, Booker, Jackson (presuming the Suns can draft him in thr top-3), Chriss, and TBD at center is the kind of core that can win championships in 3-5 years. It’s unlikely to happen, but with Vlade Divac and Phil Jackson on the other end of the negotiating table, anything is possible.

    Why the Suns Would Not Want Him

    Fox is a raw prospect. His three-point shooting is a horrid 25% (although that would fit in perfectly with this current Suns team). He struggles to finish around the rim and ends up taking far too many floaters and other mid-range shots when he’s athletically capable of finishing at the rim. What was most impressive about his 39 point game was that is that he did it without making a single three-point shot. That’s fun to watch, but in the NBA that’ll get you the Tony Parker/Rickey Rubio/Rajon Rondo treatment where defenses just clog the lanes and dare you to make one from deep.

    If the Suns ended up picking at the fifth spot and Fox was a viable option they could easily be persuaded off by a soft trade market for Bledsoe and Knight. There’s no reason to run four deep with Kentucky point guards if you can’t get much return for the two you’d like to get rid of.

    Next: Draft Watch: Should the Suns Draft Malik Monk


    De’Aaron Fox is a raw prospect, but he’s a raw prospect with a sky high ceiling and a development window that mirrors the Suns existing core. The idea of pairing him on a fastbreak with Chriss on the wing and Booker tailing behind is the kind of basketball you pay to watch. Finding Fox is all about having him in the right draft position. The young man has produced better against power conferences than he has against high and mid-majors. He’s a gamer and there’s no way to teach that. The Suns would be lucky to have him, but only if he comes at the right draft spot. If the Suns can find a way to turn Bledsoe and change into Fox, they’ll have had a great draft night.