NBA: Reacting to ESPN’s ‘Top 25 players under 25’ list

Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /
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NBA Sacramento Kings De’Aaron Fox (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

NBA players over-ranked by ESPN

De’Aaron Fox (#6)

De’Aaron Fox enjoyed somewhat of a breakout season as a sophomore, as the Sacramento Kings ran their way to the nine-seed before Luke Walton spoiled the party. Two years later, Fox has made another mini-leap (at least according to the national media), capturing two Player of the Week honors and leading his team to a couple random hot streaks.

In the past 40 games, he’s averaging over 26 points on 48/33/72 shooting.

That said, I believe he still has too many holes in his game to be the best or even second-best player on a good team. While the jumper is vastly improved, opponents still scoot under screens with Fox; he doesn’t carry much off-ball gravity. You’d like the free-throw percentage to be a few ticks higher.

As Zach Lowe and others have noted, the defense is a big problem. I also don’t think he’s a very good passer, at least not right now. Fox hasn’t displayed a high level of craft in pick-and-roll, often hunting his own shot instead of dissecting a defense.

It’s not the end of the world –  nobody can keep him out of the paint – but you’d like to see fewer plays like this where opportunities go by the wayside.