Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox took home the inaugural Jerry West Clutch Player of the Year award on Tuesday night (April 18), capping off a career season for the 25-year-old Kentucky product. He becomes the first King to win a major individual award since Tyreke Evans won Rookie of the Year in 2010.
The league leader in clutch scoring with 194 points, Fox got 91 of the 100 possible first-place votes to beat out the Heat‘s Jimmy Butler and the Bulls‘ DeMar DeRozan, who finished third and second in clutch scoring this season, respectively. Fox put up 25 points per game and shot a career-high 51.2% from the field this year to earn his first All-Star selection, leading the Kings to the third seed in the West and their first playoff appearance since 2006.
His late-game plays have also propelled the Kings to a 2-0 series lead over the defending-champion Warriors in their first-round playoff matchup. It’s the first time the Warriors have ever gone down 2-0 in the Steve Kerr era and Fox leads his team in points per game, averaging 31 over the first two contests.
“You can’t be afraid to fail,” Fox said on the TNT broadcast of the announcement. “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.”
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) November 5, 2022
Fox becomes the first winner of the Jerry West Award, named for the player who earned the moniker of “Mr. Clutch” during his career. The NBA announced in December that it was adding the clutch award and, like the other honors, was named after an NBA legend. Like most other awards, it is voted on by the media panel, but unlike other awards the field of candidates is first narrowed down by polling of NBA coaches.
Fox is the second major individual award winner to be announced this season, as Grizzlies center Jaren Jackson Jr. took home Defensive Player of the Year on Monday. The league will announce Coach of the Year on Wednesday — with Fox’s head coach Mike Brown likely to win — and Sixth Man of the Year on Thursday.
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