Any game in Texas is a chance for De’Aaron Fox to show off for family and friends who watched blossom into a high school phenom in the Houston area.
His career-high 26 points, which included making all six of his 3-pointers in Sunday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, was another example of that.
“I’m back in Texas,” Fox said of his performance. “My mom brought a whole crew of people that saw me play in high school. If you watch my high school highlights, I shot a lot.”
Fox made the last statement with a chuckle, because in spite of his shaky shooting percentages from 3-point range with Kentucky and to begin his NBA career, Fox has always said he was quite the outside shooter in high school.
That has to be proven in the NBA, but Fox’s confidence continues to grow and he’s more willing to shoot 3s. Fox is attempting 2.8 3-pointers per game in January, double the attempts in any other month this season.
The six made 3-pointers were a career high and quite the feat, considering Fox had only made no more than two in a game twice all season.
Fox put on his best shooting performance from beyond the arc while Dave Joerger missed most of the game. The Kings coach left the game in the first quarter due to feeling lightheaded after standing quickly to yell at officials on the court. An update on Joerger is expected Tuesday.
Joerger has implored Fox to be aggressive all season and lately he’s been putting that into action.
“We certainly want him to be aggressive,” Kings assistant coach Elston Turner said. “He has a top speed that a lot of guards don’t really have, so we want him to attack in the open court.”
Veteran guard George Hill has also encouraged Fox’s aggression, too. When Hill hasn’t played in games recently, he has seen things Fox can exploit.
“I’ve been telling him for the last couple of games from watching on the side,” Hill said. “ ... You’ve got to be more aggressive shooting your 3. If they go under, they disrespect you going under (the screen), you’ve got to shoot it, make or miss.”
Hill said if Fox shoots and begins to make more 3-pointers, it will force defenders to respect his perimeter shooting and open up opportunities to attack off the dribble.
That will take some time. Fox is shooting 36 percent from 3-point range, so defenses will still dare him to make 3s because the odds are he won’t repeat his San Antonio showing.
“I tell him no matter what, make or miss, just keep working on your shot,” Hill said.
After joking about his game being for the group there to see him, Fox said his showing against the Spurs was simply about being confident.
“One went in, two went in and everybody on the team had confidence in me,” Fox said. “Kept telling me to keep shooting the ball. All of them were really in rhythm.”