Point guard De’Aaron Fox is one of the fastest players we’ve ever seen with a basketball in his hands in a Kentucky uniform. If not for John Wall, that honor would without question be Fox’s. With that speed and athleticism, Fox brings length, providing unlimited optimism for NBA scouts. There’s just one problem: his jump shot.
Sam Vecenie profiled Fox’s shooting ailment for Vice Sports. Because it’s Vice, there are plenty of incomprehensible metrics used to describe how good he’s been, especially with short range floaters, followed by how terrible he’s shot the basketball this season.
Even with a small sample size, the numbers tell the story. Fox is eight-for-48 from three-point range this season, good for just 16.7 percent. Out of 2,032 Division I basketball players to take at least 25 catch-and-shoot jumpers this season, Fox currently ranks second-to-last, with an effective field-goal percentage of 13.8. He isn’t much better off the dribble, ranking in the 13th percentile nationally with a 24.5 effective field-goal percentage.
As bad as he’s been, most scouts don’t believe it’s a long-term problem. It’s not something you’d tinker with just a month before the NCAA Tournament, but it seems to be a relatively simple fix.
When he shoots, Fox gets good elevation, has fine balance, puts arc on the ball, and doesn’t lack confidence. His biggest problem is mechanical: the upper half of his body has too much motion going on, and much of that is inconsistent.
“[His shot] needs a lot of work,” said an NBA executive. “He constantly changes his release point. There’s a lot going on in that motion, including a thing where sometimes he brings the ball back to the left side of his head. Someone’s just gotta help him get it to consistent.”
Even if Fox can’t create the perfect fix for his jump shot, there’s a future for him in the NBA thanks to John Wall. Shooting is now placed at a premium for all NBA guards, but the former Cat has paved a path, proving you don’t need unlimited to range to create offense.