The Los Angeles Lakers worked out Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox on Tuesday morning at their training facility in preparation for the 2017 NBA draft. Although the actual workout was closed to the media, Fox spoke with plenty of reporters following his NBA workout.
From why he thinks he’s the best point guard in this draft to a particular similarity he believes he has with Magic Johnson, check out our full video above and a transcription of the interview below.
How did the workout go?
I felt like it went well, shot the ball well, showed I could play point guard, get up and down the court, try to show even if I was fatigued, that I could fight through it.
Any surprises for you with the drills?
No, not really, it’s basketball, not too many things that could be a surprise. As long as I came out here, I was prepared for it and I feel like I attacked the workout today.
Did you get any assurance from the Lakers that if you were available they would take you?
I haven’t gotten assurances from anyone, you never know what can happen on draft night.
You already met with the Lakers at the combine, what did you learn from the Lakers that you didn’t already know?
Just the people that I didn’t know where they wanted to head in the future. Actually my brother is a Lakers fan so I know the history of the Lakers I grew up watching the whole NBA so I know the history of a lot of teams.
What do you hope they took away from you today that they didn’t know?
That I can shoot the ball well, and that I stay in the gym, I’ve always been a gym rat and I’ve always been working on my shot and that I’m a fighter even if I’m tired and have my hands on my knees, you’re still going to get the most out of me.
Did your brother say anything about you coming in today?
Nah, he’s kind of taking it more from a business aspect too, not more of a fan, he’s still a Lakers fan but he’s looking at it more as a business kind of like I am right now
How much do you think you were able to show your shot today?
A lot, you’re out here by yourself, you don’t get the contests that you get in the game or in practice, but you get the reps and see how you’re doing and things like that?
What separates you from the top point guards in this draft?
I feel like I just attack everyone, no matter who’s in front of you, no matter if it’s defense, offensive rebounding, every aspect of the game, I just feel like I attack it.
There’s all this talk about Fultz or Ball being at the top of this draft, does that ever become a source of motivation?
Umm, I mean yeah you could say that about anybody but right now I’m just worried about myself, I’m not really worried about those guys.
Do you think there’s parts of your game that may be under-appreciated?
I think there are, but at the end of the day we’re all going to play basketball, we’re all going to get drafted, no matter what, so you know we’ll be playing you just want to see the NBA career, college is over, so I kind of just really put that behind me.
Anything you want to prove to the Lakers that they might not know about you, that you want to show you can do?
Just today like mostly the shooting, they pretty much know I can play point guard, have mid range game floaters, I can defend, just go in and prove the things people don’t think I can do but at the end of the day I’m going to have to perform in games, what happens at a workout doesn’t really matter.
Was there something you found out about the NBA level that you didn’t know before?
The pick and roll is different, the physicality. You can watch the game up close, and even in the workout, it was more physical than college was. But, I feel like I didn’t really have a difficult transition from high school to college. I know the transition from college to the NBA is a lot more difficult but I feel like there’s nothing that I can’t really handle, a lot of guys have done it before me.
How much have you been working on your shooting? Does that seem to be the one knock on you that seems to need to be improved?
Of course, when someone says something is a weakness you want to try to turn it into a strength. If there’s anything, it’s really my body and shooting, that’s what I’ve been working on this summer.
Did you have a chance to get dinner with Magic or any of the guys today?
We’re actually going to do lunch today. But I mean I’ve talked to him at the combine and today we’re going to sit down and get to know each other a little bit more. They saw me workout and just try to enjoy my time here.
I know you’ve been asked plenty about your game against Lonzo Ball (in the Sweet 16) but how much do you think, if at all, it should get taken into consideration with where you get drafted?
It doesn’t matter, like I said it’s college, we put that behind us. Kyrie was the number 1 pick, Isaiah Thomas was the last pick and you see how that worked out they’re both playing extremely high level basketball, so that doesn’t really matter, college doesn’t matter at this point.
You’ve gotten a lot of acclaim for what you can do on the defensive side and obviously the Lakers are a team that could use that. Did the Lakers bring that up in your workout?
Not today, we’re just seeing what I can do, we didn’t talk about strengths too much. They’re trying to see the weakness and try to take that and make it my strength.
But do you think that is a leg up you have over other point guards is your defense?
Yeah but, I just take that into I’m extremely competitive and I want to beat my guy offensively and defensively so that’s like I said attacking the game in all different ways.
When you had that meeting with Magic (and others in Lakers organization) at the pre-draft combine, it was him talking about that killer instinct that really stood out to you, was there something else about Magic that stood out?
Just his smile, but when it’s time to get down to business, Magic can really get down to business and I see a lot of that in me. A lot of people always see my smiling off the court, sometimes in warm-ups, you see me smiling, but in the game, it’s about business and that’s one thing we both have in common.
The league has become a point guard centric league, how do you think you can fit into that and how do you think it’s going to be difficult, challenging for you at times?
If I keep developing I just want to be one of those elite point guards, like you said the league, every night you’re playing against a top point guard, even some of the worst teams have some of the best point guards and he’s usually the best player on the team, especially in this division, you have Chris Paul, if you come here you have D’Angelo Russell, you got Steph (Curry) and you go to Phoenix and you’ve get Eric (Bledsoe), Brandon (Knight) and guys like that, you know how the point guards are in this league, so day in and day out you’ve got to bring your A game or that person is going to come at you all the time
So you’ve done your homework as to who’s in the league and how good they are?
I mean as a fan, you really know what it’s about but going into college I really started to look at the NBA more closely and what really happened, even before I was looking at it that way, you turn on any game and you can really watch a point guard matchup.
Would you rather do 3-on-3 or are you happy with 1-0, 2-2 type thing?
I’d do either/or, 3-on-3 I’m just extremely competitive, I’d be fine with it, but I’ve been doing 1-0 workouts so just attacking it no matter what, even if you’re doing 1-0. At some point you’re going to play in the summer league or preseason, so you’re going to get those guys anyone, you’re going to catch everybody.
What would you tell the Lakers if they ask you, tell us why we should draft you?
Just that I’m an extreme competitor, a good locker room guy and never really bump heads with anybody and just someone that can try to lead from the day I step in, try to earn the respect from the guys. You’re going to be one of the youngest players on the team, but if you can earn the older guys respect that helps in a long way.
How did you approach leadership at Kentucky and how do you apply that here or wherever you might get drafted?
At Kentucky, I was one of the youngest guys on the team, so I actually didn’t step into the role until like two or two and a half months into the season, cause I came in and didn’t really know what I was doing and I was letting the other guys do it and just kind of going along and once I really got my groove, coach Cal was like, ‘This is your team,’ and that’s why I feel like towards the end of the season, I was playing my best basketball because all of my coaches and even my teammates had the confidence in me to lead them and when your teammates and your coach have that confidence in you, then you should have the ultimate confidence boost.
What did Coach Cal tell you about the next level?
That it’s going to be extremely tough, that there’s no boys in this league and that it’s all grown men. That you’ve got to come in here and fight for spots, you can be the best player on the team but people are always going to come at you, on your team and on other teams it really gets the best out of you, especially if you’re extremely competitive.