With a budding young team and Porzingis’ health up in the air, new draft picks Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson could be plugged into rotation minutes under Coach Fizdale from the start.
After the selection of Kevin Knox, the New York boos rained down in a big way on Thursday night. Many fans wanted to see the Knicks select Mikal Bridges or Michael Porter Jr., and as all of us know, New York fans are not the type to shy away from expressing their displeasure.
Kudos to Knox for handling the situation very professionally and saying all of the right things. I like this kid already. Additionally, having a star teammate who experienced the same type of ridicule on draft night in Kristaps Porzingis—who can provide Knox with some advice, is a very underrated and promising aspect of this whole draft process. KP quickly turned those draft night boos into extraordinary cheers, and he reassured the young 18-year-old he has the platform and opportunity to do the same from day one.
Video: via SNY
Win-Win Situation For Knox
After taking a step back and analyzing the Knicks’ roster going into next season, there is no reason to believe that Knox won’t have the opportunity to contribute immediately. With Kristaps out until at least December, the door is open for the former Kentucky Wildcat to have the ball in his hands and show the league his tremendous ability.
Knox is known primarily for his fluidity in scoring the rock from both inside and outside. He is an excellent finisher at the rim and is on the brink of being considered a very good shooter. Defensively, he is a proven competitor who uses his reach to get into the passing lane and block a good amount of shots. Ironically, both of those aforementioned skill sets are aspects of the game that Kristaps is good at as well, and with him being out, the Knicks are going to be looking for someone to pick up the load on offense and also be a presence defensively. Enter Kevin Knox.
The reason why I say this is a win-win situation for Kevin Knox is because if he does take the bull by the horns, bursts onto the scene and plays tremendous basketball, all of those boos will immediately turn into standing ovations and presumably, everyone who ripped the Knicks for the pick will flip the switch and treat him like royalty. He has the chance to win over a massive fan base in the most dedicated sports city in the country just by being himself and playing his game. If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.
Legend Maker pic.twitter.com/8BVrP3d6Fg
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) June 22, 2018
On the flip side, let’s say he does struggle and maybe his transition doesn’t go as smoothly as he would’ve anticipated—at least he has the gift of youth working in his favor. We sort of saw this when Frank Ntilikina struggled last year, and many members of the fan base and media attributed his struggles to the fact that he was an 18-year-old unpolished project. We have to remember that Knox is one of the youngest players drafted and has a ton of learning and developing to do. Even if he doesn’t play well as a rookie, I think there are a lot of built-in reasons or excuses that can justify Knox’s potential struggles, something that bodes well for his first-year development.
His age, a less-than-spectacular supporting cast, a brand-new offensive system, and his role on a historically dysfunctional franchise, are all things that could divert attention away from his struggles and take the pressure off of him so to speak. At least, for now.
There are going to be big shoes to fill in terms of making up for the lost production of KP, but I am confident Knox and his size 18 feet will be able to provide us Knicks fans with some quality ball in year one. And if he doesn’t? No worries, the kid has all of the potential in the world, and New York is still years away from building a contender, anyway.
There is an enormous amount of unknown surrounding Mitchell Robinson. After taking a year off from basketball and training for the draft, he was kind of a head-scratching second-round selection for the Knicks. It is concerning that he doesn’t have much of a body of work to back up the idea of selecting him as high as they did, but supposedly his athleticism and skill set are something the Knicks found irresistible.
Despite much skepticism surrounding the pick, Robinson’s Willie Cauley-Stein/Hassan Whiteside–esque style of play allows him an opportunity to contribute this season with no steep expectations. With Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn unsure about their returns to the Knicks and the fact that Joakim Noah is essentially useless, opens up the door for Robinson to get minutes and make a name for himself as a potential nice complementary piece down low.
Anticipate Robinson to take his talents to the Westchester County Center at first just to get used to the physicality of a basketball game, especially since he hasn’t been exposed to such a setting in over a year. I fully expect him to be on the roster sooner, rather than later, and fit in well with David Fizdale’s up and down, pace and space system.