The Knicks have to pick up the pieces following Kevin Knox’s scary, albeit minimized, ankle injury following Sunday’s Celtics game. Let’s look at who could pick it up for the squad.
With about a minute left in the first quarter against the Celtics Saturday night, New York Knicks fans’ heart rates and blood alcohol content levels began to skyrocket. Kevin Knox was pushing the ball up court when he was fouled by Terry Rozier and turned his ankle. His reaction spooked Knicks fans—the rookie was writhing on the ground and couldn’t put any weight on his on his left leg as he was carried off the Madison Square Garden floor.
There was a collective sigh of relief when the x-rays came back negative, fortunately. Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, there’s a timetable of between two and four weeks. This sucks, yes, but it could have been worse than a month.
Knox only notched four minutes against the Celtics before going down, but he was coming off a great showing in Brooklyn: 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including hitting 3-of-4 threes and recording six rebounds. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait to see if that was just a glimpse of things to come, or if this is who he is already.
Knicks head coach David Fizdale is going to have to make some adjustments without Knox and the versatility he provides. The team, which played Boston closer than they had any real right to, will suffer without Kevin in the rotation, but necessity is the mother of innovation.
For instance, Damyean Dotson played 22 minutes after back to back DNPs to open the season. He scored 10 points on 50 percent shooting with two threes, two steals, two assists, and two rebounds, and was plus-seven. Dotson, who was drafted in the second round last year, will have a chance to earn a place in the rotation.
It’s unclear why he wasn’t already getting all of Ron Baker’s minutes, but he’ll have an opportunity now, as will Lance Thomas and Mario Hezonja if they don’t start playing better. Conversely, this would be a very good time for either of them to start contributing more.
Allonzo Trier and Mitchell Robinson will also likely see more minutes, assuming his nagging ankle injury doesn’t hold the latter out. Fizdale may experiment a bit, too. It’s commendable that he’s allowed Noah Vonleh to bring the ball up. Without Knox as a secondary playmaker, do we see more Point Vonleh?
Vonleh collects the board and starts the break: pic.twitter.com/oYK1QOXWQ9
— TKW Clips (@TKWClips) October 22, 2018
Without Knox to play a small-ball 4, how often will Fizdale play Robinson and Kanter? In other words, let’s get weird. The team lost Knox’s defensive versatility, but Robinson’s rim protection and Kanter’s rebounding prowess could make for a strong back line.
Unfortunately, it’s harder to mix-and-match some more shooting into the lineups. While he was inconsistent, the threat of Knox getting hot forced teams to guard him out on the perimeter even on off nights. Maybe Luke Kornet gets some run as a spot up shooter, but most teams will shift their focus to keeping Burke, Hardaway, and Trier out of the paint, unless guys like Lance, Mario, and Dotson can be counted on to knock down shots consistently.
There are some tough games coming up on the schedule and—although it’s unlikely that Knox would be able to swing some of these games, as they just don’t have the talent to match up with some of these teams—it still hurts that he’ll be on the sideline. We’ll have to wait to see him match up against Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant.
Is there any silver lining? Maybe you’ve seen this clip circulating on Twitter.
Kevin Knox Movement Strategy
*Hip adduction, internal rotation & knee valgus bilaterally at change in direction-speed
?Hip range of motion CAN be advantageous,however repetitive patterns of such can lend 2poor ground reaction force mapping & subsequent injury@bballbreakdown pic.twitter.com/u4ljcyXR1t
— BBiomechanics (@BBiomechanics) October 18, 2018
As good as he is, Knox still has awful footwork. It’s worked for him so far, but could be bad for his knees. Now Knox and the Knicks have a few extra weeks to examine his mechanics.
That may have been the darkest silver lining ever.
Hopefully Knox returns within the initial time frame, and this doesn’t linger, so he’s back to his old self by the time he’s out there again. But is it also too much to ask for Puma to step up their ankle support like Under Armour did for Steph?