How many times this season did De’Aaron Fox save the Kings in the games’ final moments? We’ve grown accustomed to witness the Sacramento guard become a superstar right before the final buzzer goes off, and that’s why he’s worthy of being crowned this campaign’s Kia NBA Clutch Player of the Year.
One of his first clutch moments of the tournament came in a tie game in Orlando back in November 5, as the 25-year-old recieved the ball with only five seconds left to the clock. He took four dribbles and threw the ball into the air from just inside midcourt and boom: Sacramento won the match.
Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox is the recipient of the Jerry West Trophy as the 2022-23 Kia NBA Clutch Player of the Year.
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 18, 2023
Fox was selected by a panel of 100 writers and broadcasters who cover the NBA, as he was finally announced this Tuesday night as the inaugural winner of the award. The Heat’s Jimmy Butler came in second, as DeMar DeRozan from the Bulls was third.
“You can’t be afraid to fail,” Fox told the press as he was just announced the winner. “Obviously, you’re not going to make every shot, but my teammates, my coaches, they put me in position to succeed. So the least I can do is have confidence in myself to take good shots.”
Unbelievably, the point guard just became his franchise’s first individual awarded player ever since Tyreke Evans beat Stephen Curry to the Rookie of the Year title back in 2010. After waiting 13 long years for this accolade, they might not have to wait long for their next trophy, as Mike Brown is expected to earn the 2022/23 Kia NBA Coach of the Year today.
Fox recieved 91 out of the 100 first-place votes and 460 out of 500 possible points, as he led the league with an impressive 194 clutch points to his name. Butler on the other hand, just recieved one vote for the first place and 104 points in total. And finally, DeRozan ended with 80 points, only three ahead of New York’s Jalen Brunson, who ranked fourth.
Even though he was third in votes, the Bulls player was second in the NBA with 159 clutch points this campaign, as Butler led the league in third place with 151.
Fox has been a major contributor to Sacramento’s success this season
The young point guard has been vital for his team’s resurgence this season, as the Kings are currently leading the series 2-0 against the reigning champions Golden State in the Western Conference’s first-round matchup. As Sacramento reached the playoffs for the first time since 2006, Fox is averaging a team-best 31 points in these first two postseason contests.
Take a look at his highlights from these past two historic matches for the franchise:
“My teammates and my team put me in position to succeed,” Fox assured.
This Monday, Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. was announced as the defensive player of the year. Now we are awaiting the announcement for coach of the year which will be announced Wednesday and Sixth Man of the Year to be revealed on Thursday.
The rest of the schedule for announcing other league awards has not yet been disclosed, which includes MVP, most improved player and rookie of the year.