Why Kings’ Mike Brown is willing to put pressure on De’Aaron Fox to carry team

Whether De’Aaron Fox likes it or not, his new coach thinks that he’s “that guy.”

In an interview with NBC Sports California’s Kyle Draper, Kings head coach Mike Brown emphasized that the centerpiece of the team is Fox, who led the team in scoring at 23.2 points per game last season.

“It’s critical and he’s that guy, whether he likes it or not,” Brown said. “And I know for myself, I’m going to try to put a lot of pressure on him and hold him to that type of standard because he can do it.”

The impending pressure comes from Brown’s belief that Fox can live up to the hype.

“Now, if he couldn’t do it, that’d be a different conversation,” Brown said. “I know he can do it. I’ve seen him do it on a lot of different occasions throughout his career. Haven’t coached him while he’s doing it, but he’s more than capable. And if we’re to take that next step, he’s got to be great for us. Not most of the time, not sometimes, but all the time.”

Brown anointed Fox as the Kings’ best player, a notion that he’s comfortable with because of what he believes is essentially a shift in mindset around the NBA in a social media-dominant landscape.

“Everybody wants to be that guy where everybody wants to uplift themselves individually,” Brown said. “That’s not a bad thing. Back in the day, there was no ‘I’ in team. … [But] to a certain degree there is.”

Brown, who took the Kings job after serving as the Warriors’ assistant coach from 2016 to 2022, knows a bit about star players being selfless in order to win.

Related: Brown explains confidence in his ability to turn Kings around

But he believes there’s a way to combine ensuring that stars get their due, while also being a team player.

“It’s my job to help these guys understand that, yes, we want you to do what’s best for the team, but just as important, we want to do what’s best for you and your family,” Brown said. “Because you want your flowers too, not just on the court with us. You want your flowers off the court, your post-career, whatever it is. And so we have to make sure those things mesh.”

Brown will hope to find that formula with Fox as he attempts to turn the Kings’ franchise around.

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