The NBA Draft inches closer and the Dallas Mavericks are weighing their options for their pick from the 9 spot. Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox is on the team’s radar, but chances are they won’t have a chance to select him. Fox’s draft stock has risen over the last few weeks, with many believing he’s a lock to go in the top 3. Should the Mavericks decide that they want Fox, they would need to figure out a way to trade picks with one of the teams selecting at the top of the draft.
Fox’s elite athleticism and speed is a major reason why so many teams are becoming more interested in the Wildcat. He’s an explosive offensive player and can use his speed to get around defenders. With those abilities and his 6’3” frame, he has all the physical tools to be a successful point guard at the next level. However, like most players his age, Fox needs to add weight or risk getting pushed around by stronger players.
He’s a playmaker who can attack at different speeds. Fox sometimes dribbles himself into trouble, and his middling 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio is far from ideal. But he has an obvious feel for the game and is capable of getting his teammates points. He’s strong on the defensive end, too. Fox’s supporters like to mention his matchup with top prospect Lonzo Ball. The two matched up last season and Fox held Ball to 5-for-12 shooting with six turnovers.
Fox plays a position of need for Dallas, as it’s no secret that the Mavericks are looking to upgrade their point guard position. The guards on the roster lack the passing and playmaking abilities that can make coach Rick Carlisle’s offense really fly. But aside from his size and athleticism, how does he fit the pieces already in Dallas?
Thanks to Rajon Rondo’s catastrophic stint with the Mavericks, it’s abundantly clear that Dallas needs a point guard who can shoot. Without one, their pick-and-roll heavy offense loses its effectiveness as defenders play the point guard for drives and don’t bother honoring the jump shot. Fox’s big weakness is his jump shot. According to Synergy Sports, Fox shot a miserable 28% in the half-court, and 19% from three. Even worse, he shot 24% on jump shots coming from a half-court pick-and-roll. Players can fix their jumpers once they reach the NBA. Whether or not Fox is one of them is perhaps the biggest question he’s facing.
Despite his weaknesses and red flags concerning his fit in the Mavericks’ offense, Fox is still an intriguing prospect. His elite athleticism can’t be ignored, and he has the type of defensive disposition coaches like Carlisle tend to favor. However, unless he dramatically falls on draft night, the Mavericks may never need to make a decision about him.
Jeff Mapua is new to Twitter but a veteran to smart basketball opinions. Follow him at @JeffMapua!
© 2017 WFAA-TV