A couple months ago, the New York Knicks selected Kevin Knox seventh overall in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Per usual, the New York media (and Knicks fans everywhere) were skeptical of the pick. After all, the season before, the Knicks selected point guard Frank Ntilikina right before the Dallas Mavericks took Dennis Smith Jr.
After one season, Smith looks like he could eventually become an All-Star while Ntilikina barely earned playing time and has a questionable future due to how far behind he is in his development.
Of course Ntilikina could end up being a better overall player than Smith someday, but Knicks fans are sick and tired of losing and are begging to be proven wrong when it comes to criticizing any move the organization makes. They were with Kristaps Porzingis and might be once again by Knox.
Knox immediately made a statement to his doubters by putting up 21.3 points per game in Summer League action, even before he turned 19 years old on August 11. Therefore, he flipped the script pretty quickly and the Knicks future consisting of him and Porzingis (among others) is beginning to look brighter.
Although Porzingis might miss the entire upcoming season due to a torn ACL, it’s exciting to think about how he and Knox would fit in alongside each other on the court.
“I could see us running a lot of pick and rolls together,” Knox said, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Me ballhandling, him setting the picks, him coming off it and making the reads. It’s definitely something I can see, and it can really work, too.”
That hypothesis is indicative of his overall observation about the NBA.
“The spacing is so much different in the NBA,” Knox said. “… There’s more spacing, more 1-on-1. I got more space to do work — something I didn’t get to show at Kentucky. Maybe I’ll have a different role in the NBA than college. I’m glad I got to show my repertoire and do more and show more.”
He indicated that the Knicks want to move him around and feature him in different areas on the offensive end of the floor.
“They want me to be versatile, stay aggressive, do different actions, learning how to move without the basketball. They saw a lot in summer league, but we’ll be playing against better players now and I’m trying to get more consistent and better at getting to spots and making shots from there,” Knox explained.
Overall, Knox made one thing clear: he’s all about winning, not individual accolades.
“I’m pretty confident I can be one of the top rookies,” Knox said. “But one of my goals this year is just to win in New York. I’m not really worried about winning the rookie award. I just want to win as a team, take road games, play some of the top teams and beat them to make the playoffs. Ultimately I want to win. That’s my main focus as my rookie year.”
That should make Knicks fans smile.
The rookie should be thrust into a major role immediately and could absolutely be a name to watch in the Rookie of the Year race, whether he makes it a goal of his or not.