Sacramento Kings

De’Aaron Fox has been named a finalist for the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award

Meet De’Aaron Fox: the Kings’ 21-year-old point guard

De'Aaron Fox joined the Sacramento Kings in 2017 after one season of college basketball in Kentucky. He is in his second season as a point guard for the Kings.
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De'Aaron Fox joined the Sacramento Kings in 2017 after one season of college basketball in Kentucky. He is in his second season as a point guard for the Kings.

Following a breakout sophomore season, Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox has been named a finalist for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.

The NBA announced the finalists for the award on Friday. The other finalists are Toronto Raptors power forward Pascal Siakam and Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell.

The winner will be announced June 24 at the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar in Los Angeles. Finalists were selected by a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

Fox improved in virtually every statistical category this season, averaging 17.3 points, 7.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals. He averaged 11.6 points, 4.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals as a rookie after the Kings selected him with the fifth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Fox’s shooting improved dramatically this season. His shooting percentage jumped from 41.2 percent to 45.8 percent and his 3-point shooting improved from 30.7 percent to 37.1 percent. His free-throw percentage was only up slightly, but he showed significant improvement in his ability to get to the line, attempting 5.1 free throws per game after averaging 2.7 attempts as a rookie.

Siakam is widely viewed as the favorite to win the award. He came into the league as the 27th pick in the 2016 draft and started just five games in 2017-18 before flourishing in his third season. Siakam started 79 games during the regular season, averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists for a Raptors team that is facing the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Russell and Fox could be in a very close race for second place. Russell averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds for the Nets. His scoring improved from 15.5 points per game in 2017-18. His 3-point shooting went up from 32.4 percent to 36.9 percent.

Russell had a memorable game in a 123-121 victory over the Kings on March 19 at Golden 1 Center. He scored 27 of his career-high 44 points in the fourth quarter to help the Nets overcome a 25-point deficit. Fox had 27 points and nine assists in that game.

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