Former NBA great Chauncey Billups said former Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox has the most upside of any NBA rookie and is a lot more prepared for the pro game than he was, during an interview Tuesday to promote Billups’ upcoming series on ESPN2.
Billups, an NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons, five-time all-star and now analyst with ESPN, spoke with local reporters alongside the Sacremento Kings rookie in videos posted by the Kings Twitter account and Cowbellkingdom.com.
“I love his game, but I’m always (about) more than the basketball game, just his personality ... he’s a very smart young man, great manners,” Billups said. “Those are things I look at. I tell you what, you guys are lucky to have him.”
Fox was chosen as the fifth overall pick by the Kings in the 2017 NBA Draft after helping lead Kentucky to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and earning All-SEC honors. Billups was asked whether Fox could win NBA rookie of the year over the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Markelle Fultz, who were drafted ahead of him.
“It’s going to be tough. That rookie class is steep,” Billups said. “He’s going to be compared to these guys not just this year, but his entire career. I will say he has the best upside of all these guys. It’s going to be up to him.”
As for advice he might offer, Billups said Fox was already doing the right things.
“I’ll be honest, he’s a lot better than I was as a rookie,” Billups said. “I think he’s ready for the NBA. I wasn’t ready. I was a high draft pick, but my game wasn’t ready.”
Billups said his series on NBA rookies will begin airing on Oct. 12.