Stein proclaims Fox ‘has to be' an All-NBA player this season


Kings guard De’Aaron Fox is a first-time NBA All-Star, the clear frontrunner for the league’s new Clutch Player of the Year Award and leading Sacramento to a historic 2022-23 season. But that might not be all. 

On the latest episode of the “#ThisLeague UNCUT” podcast, NBA correspondent Marc Stein and Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes discussed who should make one of the three All-NBA teams, and Fox’s name was brought up a few times. 

“De’Aaron Fox has to be an All-NBA player with the way Sacramento is, the season they’ve had, and the clutch play he’s delivered,” Stein said. 

Haynes, meanwhile, isn’t so sure. 

While he acknowledged and applauded Fox’s efforts this season and made it clear that the point guard is deserving of the nod, Haynes isn’t as confident as Stein is that Fox will make it. 

Part of Haynes’ hesitation to go all in on Fox is due to the ridiculous amount of guard competition in today’s NBA. We’ve seen stars like Donovan Mitchell have historic 71-point outbursts only to be matched a few weeks later by Damian Lillard. 

But with so much talent across the NBA, there’s only room for six guards.

A few players appear to be no-brainers, like Luka Doncic, Mitchell, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jaylen Brown. And then the tricky part is picking and choosing the remaining two with about a dozen worthy options.

Kyrie Irving. Anthony Edwards. Jrue Holiday. James Harden. Trae Young. Ja Morant. Tyrese Haliburton. Jalen Brunson. 

Lillard’s been putting up incredible numbers, but the Portland Trail Blazers are 13th in the West with a 31-38 record (as of March 17). 

Then there are the players like Steph Curry and Devin Booker, who both are recording outrageous numbers this season, but have missed nearly half the season due to injury. Does that, or should that, take away from a spot on one of the All-NBA teams? 

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It’s a complicated calculation that comes down to more than just talent and stats. 

“Everyone does it different," Stein said. "To me, because [the Kings are] winning so much more than expected ... Yes, injuries in the West have factored in, but his great play has directly led to winning. So that is a factor to me.

"And that's why I think it would be disappointing if Fox isn’t on there. Is there room for Fox and [Domantas] Sabonis? Do the Kings deserve two All-NBA guys? If they finish second in the West, I would say yes." 

It’s not a perfect system, by any means, but if Fox doesn't make any All-NBA team, that would prove just that. 

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