The Substance Report is an official rankings that I thought was necessary to come up with to determine which players throughout the league are most valuable to their team. Each day, for the next week or so, there will be an article dedicated to a single player that demonstrates both his value to the league, but more importantly, the weight on his shoulders on his own team.
An example of the rhetorical questions to ask yourself throughout the readings of the ranking is something along the lines of, "What would the Warriors look like without Stephen Curry? How much worse off would they be as a team? Could they still win an NBA Championship if they just released him to the depths of a fiery hell? Would Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson's efficiency go up because they would have more shot opportunities with Steph out of the rotation?" and other important meditations similar to that nature.
This is what the rankings look like so far.
30. Lou "Two Girls and They Get Along Like I'm Lou Will" Williams
29. Domantas "Arvydas's Son" Sabonis
28. Montrezl "Holy Shit That Guy Tries Hard" Harrell
27. Mike "Never Leaving Memphis Because Cash Rules Everything Around Me C.R.E.A.M.!" Conley
26. Klay "Not Just Steph's Sidekick" Thompson
25. Trae "Ugliest Player in the League" Young
24. Ben "Kendall Jenner's Bae / Fresh Prince" Simmons
23. Nikola "Diet Jokic" Vucevic
22. Karl-Anthony "Who Was the Last Good Player With Two First Names?" Towns
21. Blake "Pray My Knees Will Be Okay Come April" Griffin
20. Devin "Should I Just Become a Point Guard?" Booker
19. Anthony "'I'll Tell On You To Rich Paul!' / AD" Davis
18. Russell "I Didn't Know a Professional Could Take Their Job Too Seriously / Why Not?" Westbrook
17. Joel "The Cameroonian Clown / The Process" Embiid
16. Bradley "Will Somebody Please Trade John Wall Already?" Beal
15. Donovan "Still Salty About His 2nd Place Spot In The ROTY Contest / Spida" Mitchell
14. Kemba "Can Do Cool Crossovers But May Never Win A Playoff Series" Walker
13. Luka "Thick and Slick / Halleluka" Dončić
12. Kawhi "Typically Silent, But Mostly Deadly / Klaw" Leonard
11. Kevin "Will Tell You He's Not Going To New York, But He's Probably Going To New York / KD" Durant
10. Stephen "How Does The Greatest Shooter Ever Not Have An Actual Usable Nickname Yet? / Chef" Curry
9. LeBron "Will Trade You In a Heartbeat / King" James
8. Rudy "Frenchman Who Looks Like He Can Lay Some Serious Pipe / The Steiffel Tower" Gobert
7. D'Angelo "Instagram Is My Second Profession / Loading" Russell
6. De'Aaron "Now You See Me, Now You're Admiring My Luscious Hair" Fox
He has speed. He has poise. He has the ability to lead. He looks like Goku from Dragon Ball Z. And he has the city of Sacramento riding his coattails. He is De'Aaron Fox, and he may be the best point guard in the league for the next decade sooner than later (not named D'Angelo Russell).
The sophomore stud out of the University of Kentucky took all of the necessary steps towards becoming a premiere point guard this season. He's a leader both vocally and by example, and has demonstrated that his work ethic is amongst the most impressive in the entire league.
One area of Fox's game that needed drastic improvement after his rookie season was his shooting ability, and De'Aaron showed the world that whatever improvements he needs to make, he will.
De'Aaron Fox Shooting Splits
2017-18: 41.2% FG, 30.7% 3PT, 43.6% 2PT, 44.1% EFG, 72.3% FT,
2018-19: 45.8% FG, 37.1% 3PT, 48.2% 2PT, 49.7% EFG, 72.7% FT
He improved his efficiency from literally every spot on the floor, and that's the kind of improvement that is vital for a young player's growth early in his career. Fox is as quick as they come in the NBA, and if he can continue to grow as a shooter then the rest of the league is crucially fucked.
There is no deserving way to define how unbelievably fast this man is, so here are a few metaphors that somewhat do his unparalleled speed justice:
- You know how when you're trying to get a squirt of ketchup out of the Heinz bottle, it's a little bit hesitant to come out, then it just spurts out like thirty times as much ketchup as you originally intended? Yeah, that overwhelming and surprising spill is essentially what De'Aaron Fox is like.
- Fox is like if you had a vehicle straight out the Star Wars universe and turned the turbo boost on, then that turbo boost had it's own turbo boost that it turned on. So you're basically just turbo-tripling.
- Remember Busta Rhymes's verse on Chris Brown's song "Look At Me Now" from 2011? Yup, De'Aaaron is THAT fast.
Okay, I'm done for now. I'll probably put some more in later. If you don't believe those metaphors above, then watch this video for yourself.
Fox isn't only a superb athlete with an intensity that is rarely paralleled amongst players his age, but he's also a very talented facilitator for a team that lives for getting up and down the floor as fast as humanly possible. He averaged a cool 7.3 assists per game in his second season (in comparison to only 4.4 APG as a rookie), and hardly allowed that to influence his turnover rate (only 2.8 this season opposed to 2.4 as a rookie).
It's not surprising that the other players on the Kings roster absolutely adore playing alongside this revolutionary guard. Once he gets the outlet pass following a rebound, he is already near half court thanks to his long strides and precise handle.
The future of the Sacramento Kings is in De'Aaaron's hands, and for the first time in nearly two decades: The Kings have hope.