Fox Making Case for this Season’s MIP

The sophomore guard is in a league of his own for this season’s prestigious award.
by Tracee Jay
Social Media Producer

Players with diverse skillsets, ages and talents have all been a part of the NBA's Most Improved Player award’s history.

From perennial All-Stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Love, to Jalen Rose and former Kings forward Zach Randolph, it goes to show there isn’t one way to earn the honor.

While many roads have led to MIP, it probably helps to have a breakout season – enter De’Aaron Fox.

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Sophomore’s don’t typically win this award, as they're expected to grow from their rookie season - only 7 second-year players have ever earned the award - and only two (Gilbert Arenas and Monta Ellis) have done it within the past 25 years.

No. 5 has made statistical improvements in nearly every major category and is looking to be the eighth sophomore to take home the title.

According to Kevin O’Connor from The Ringer, Fox has made one of the most significant year-to-year jumps of all time.

“He’s [De’Aaron] hitting 64 percent of his shots around the rim, and attempting two free throws for every five shots—both significant improvements from his rookie season,” says O'Connor.

De’Aaron’s plus-minus has also taken a leap.

Advanced metrics show Fox’s real plus-minus was minus-4.3 as a rookie to plus-2.2 as a sophomore, and box plus-minus jumped from minus-4.4 to plus-1.0.

“He’s gone from a terribly inefficient, negative overall player as a rookie to an improving scorer, reliable playmaker, and competitive defender while [potentially] leading the Kings to their first winning season since 2005-06,” remarks O’Connor.

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In March, Swipa is averaging 19.4 ppg, 7.6 assists and four rebounds a game – setting the tone for an improving squad still fighting for playoff contention.

The Kentucky product is turning the sophomore slump into a sophomore surge, and with 16 games to play, can still add to his stellar second season in the Association.

For a full list of Fox's competition for MIP, check out The Ringer's breakdown.

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