Kevin Huerter

Kings' Huerter describes differences between Fox and Young

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De’Aaron Fox and Trae Young showcase different qualities on the floor, and Kevin Huerter, having played with both guards, knows that better than anyone.

Talking to Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner on the latest episode of the "Point Forward" podcast, the Kings guard shared his first-hand opinion of two of the NBA’s most prominent point guards from a skills standpoint.

And not all between the two All-Stars is contrasting.

“Both guys’ ability to just take over the game is, I think, very similar,” Huerter told Iguodala and Turner. “Just elite scorers at the point guard position are very similar.” 

Huerter recognized that Young, who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks on the same night as him in 2018, is a generational force offensively who can change the outcome of any game.

“I think, for as much hate as Trae gets, Trae goes into every game and every team double teams him,” the 25-year-old added. “Every team runs guys at him. He’s a guy that you have to pick up right when he gets over half-court. 

“Our playoff run was in large part due to the attention that he got, allowing other guys to get their open looks, open shots to get going. A lot of that started and ended with Trae. And so, he’s an absolute menace on offense. The guy that can take over your game, and a guy that can break scouting reports, similarly to De’Aaron when I got here.” 

Fox, on the other hand, offers a different edge to his game, which hit a career-high during Huerter’s first season in Sacramento.

“De’Aaron won the Clutch Player of the Year Award last year,” Huerter said. “All that does to me solidifies his ability to get a shot whenever he needs to. You go to fourth quarters, and, you guys know how this works, the last six minutes of the fourth quarter, when it’s time to win, you put the ball in your best player's hands and you say, ‘Here, we’re going to get you one switch. It’s five out. Go get us a bucket without needing us to draw a play.’ 

“So that Clutch Player of the Year, him being able to average 12, 13 points in the fourth quarter is his ability to, ‘De’Aaron, here’s the ball. Here’s a one-on-one matchup. Go score.’ He just did that time and time again last year and has the ability to do it this year.”

Averaging 26.9 points from the floor while adding 5.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists, Fox is surpassing the numbers that earned him not only the Clutch Player of the Year Award but an NBA All-Star selection in 2023, cementing his place in Huerter’s pecking order.

“He’s really unbelievable,” Huerter said. “For me, he’s a top-three point guard in this league for sure. I think defensively, when he’s locked in and wants to be.

 “His hands and his ability to get steals and back tip it when he’s guarding the ball or pressure the ball when he’s on. I know it’s impossible to do as an NBA player, as an All-Star for 48 minutes of the game. 

“But he can just snap his fingers, and he’s the biggest flip-the-switch player in this league. When he wants to guard and he wants to put effort on that side of the ball and really lock someone up, like he’s unbelievable.” 

Currently, Fox and Young might be some of the best at the guard position, although distinct qualities are responsible for each’s rise to NBA stardom.

“And so, I think that’s the biggest difference: his ability to be elite two ways on the ball,” Huerter added. “For Trae, he’s elite, elite on one side of the ball. And on the other side, I think a lot of it is just effort and what he is going to do game by game. De’Aaron is the true head of the snake.”

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