De'Aaron Fox is the winner of the 2022-23 Jerry West Clutch Player of the Year award, the NBA announced on Tuesday. Fox is the first winner of the award, which was introduced this season alongside a revamp of the trophies for all of the NBA's other major awards. Fox is the first King to win a major individual award since Tyreke Evans, who won the 2010 Rookie of the Year award. However, Kings coach Mike Brown is expected to win Coach of the Year when the winner is announced on Wednesday.
Fox was the obvious choice for this award. He led the NBA by scoring 194 total points in the clutch, which the NBA defines as any game in which the score is within five points with five minutes or less remaining on the clock. Second-place DeMar DeRozan finished a full 35 points behind Fox with 159 points in clutch situations. Despite his higher volume, Fox was also incredibly efficient in clutch situations, shooting 52.7% from the floor in the clutch this season. That is better than the 14 highest clutch scorers of the season.
More importantly, Fox led the Kings to a 22-17 clutch record. Without him, they almost certainly would've finished below .500 in those situations, and every win in the ultra congested Western Conference was critical. Sacramento finished only five games ahead of the No. 7 seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the standings.
Because of Fox's clutch brilliance, however, the Kings reached the playoffs for the first time in 17 years this season. His first two games there were perhaps his most clutch of the season. Fox currently leads all postseason scorers with 13 clutch points, and the Kings are up 2-0 on the Golden State Warriors in the first round.
The Kings waited 17 years for a clutch star to carry them into the postseason. Fox delivered this season, and the NBA recognized him as the most clutch player in the league.