De’Aaron Fox won the NBA’s inaugural Clutch Player of Year Award after a historic year of game-winners and huge plays in the 4th quarter.
The former Kentucky Wildcats star became the latest player to win an NBA award. The decision wasn’t too difficult. Fox got 91 of 100 first-place votes and tallied 460 of a possible 500 votes.
Other first-place votes went to Steph Curry (2), Donovan Mitchell (1), Jalen Brunson (1), Jimmy Butler (1), Joel Embiid (1), Kyrie Irving (1), Luka Doncic (1), and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (1).
Butler finished second in the voting, followed by DeMar DeRozan in third place.
Fox, who averaged just short of a career-high in points per game (25.2), had a wildly efficient year from the field. During the regular season, Fox shot 51.2% from the floor, the highest percentage of any guard in the NBA who also averaged at least 15 PPG.
The efficiency didn’t take a hit when it mattered, either. Fox led the NBA in clutch scoring with 194 points. He shot 52.9% in the clutch, the best percentage of anyone with at least 100 shot attempts.
The award was given out on TNT’s broadcast Tuesday night.
“You can’t be afraid to fail,” Fox said. “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.”
Fox and the Kings are up 2-0 in a first-round seven-game series with the Golden State Warriors. Should they complete the series, the Kings would advance in the NBA Playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Fox played a huge part in that. In the 4th quarter of Sacramento’s game 1 win, Fox had 15 points and 1 assist.
As Fox is focused on completing the opening round series win, we look back at some of his most clutch moments from the 2022-23 NBA regular season.
5. Fox with some dynamite on TNT
The Kings only play one home game against the New York Knicks each season, but De’Aaron Fox sure made this year’s count.
With Sacramento up 115-113 and the game clock under a minute, Fox dribbled down the clock patiently, waiting for a chance to attack.
With about 6 seconds left on the shot clock and 30 seconds left in the game, Fox made a nasty crossover move than left Josh Hart off balance.
He then finished through contact, putting the Kings up 4 points.
That bucket was one of many in the 4th quarter for Fox, who put on a show for people watching the game on TV on TNT. Fox had 23 points in the game, with 15 of them coming in the 4th quarter. He also sunk a free throw with 13.1 seconds left, to give the Kings a 120-115 lead, completely icing the game in their favor.
4. De’Aaron drives to down Utah
Facing a Western Conference rival, De’Aaron Fox saw an opportunity to make his mark late in the game.
The Kings and Jazz were tied at 115 in the closing second of the 4th quarter. Once again, Fox paced the final seconds, still dribbling the ball outside the perimeter with 4 seconds left on the clock.
That’s when Fox burst to his left, driving on Lauri Markkanen and finishing with his right hand with just 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock.
It gave the Kings a 117-115 victory, one of three game-winners on the season for the former Kentucky superstar.
3. Fox takes over against Houston
Not all clutch moments have to be a game-winning step-back three. Some of them can include multiple huge shots.
So was the case with De’Aaron Fox against the Houston Rockets.
Locked in a tight battle on the road, Fox decided to take matters into his own hands. With one minute to go and down five points, Fox stole the ball from Jalen Green and slammed it in for two points.
On the next possession, Fox rattled in a floater to pull the Kings within one point with just over 40 seconds to play.
Then, on a jump ball with 0.8 seconds left, Fox got fouled on a three-point attempt out of an out-of-bounds play. He sunk all three free throws and gave the Kings the 130-128 win.
Ice in his veins.
2. He called game!
De’Aaron Fox is HIM.
Against the Chicago Bulls tied at 114, Fox pulled up and buried a contested three-pointer against two Bulls defenders.
It gave him 32 points in the game and 15 in the 4th quarter.
And if that wasn’t enough, Fox made a steal on Zach Lavine with 0.7 seconds left to stop any chance at a late Chicago heave.
1. De’Aaron range at the buzzer
Sometimes, all you need to do is give the ball to De’Aaron Fox and get out of the way.
That was true against the Orlando Magic.
With no timeouts and 5 seconds left in overtime, Fox calmly dribbled up the court and pulled up from just inside halfcourt, on the Magic logo.
And as cool as can be, he drained it, to break the 123-123 tie and give Sacramento the win.
In 2023, no one was as clutch as De’Aaron Fox.