Bryan and Charlie discuss the Knicks’ newest additions: forward Kevin Knox and center Mitchell Robinson, and preview the road ahead.
Bryan: The NBA Draft happened, and it turned out all of the Kevin Knox rumblings ended up being true.
New York selected him with the ninth overall pick, and general manager Scott Perry and president of basketball operations Steve Mills hope they’ve found another building block to join their young core. They also added an intriguing talent in the second round by the name of center Mitchell Robinson.
Typically, your after-the-draft pressers are a simple coronation celebrating new additions to the roster, but new Knicks head coach David Fizdale actually said some pretty noteworthy things about the direction of the team: 1) His approach is going to be what we wanted last year—it’s time to see what the kids on the roster can do; and 2) he wants to play lineups with more size on the wing and didn’t seem a huge fan of using Courtney Lee or Tim Hardaway Jr. at the three.
One other note I wanted to add is I felt really bad for Robinson on Friday. He was completely uncomfortable on the stage during his and Knox’s introductory presser. Perry had to jump in and expand on some answers for him. I think the Knicks organization screwed up putting him up there.
I’m not really worried about the presser. Handling oneself in those situations is a skill, and like anything else, he’ll pick it up with practice. Given the unconventional route he took to the NBA, it’s not terribly surprising that he needs some work in that department.
This might also be the last one he has to do for a while—it wouldn’t be very shocking if he winds up spending a good portion of next season in White Plains, where the media lights aren’t quite so bright.
I like the Knox pick—not because I feel qualified to judge him as a player at this point, but rather, because he seems to fit what team is selling as their new organizational philosophy. They’re going to be super young. They’re going to be long and athletic. Hopefully, that also means they’ll be a general pain in the butt on defense.
It will be interesting to see how this philosophy carries through to the other key decisions they’ll be making this summer. The next logical step would be to trade Lee, which would advance the youth movement and free up minutes for guys like Damyean Dotson.
I’m also intrigued by Allonzo Trier, who they’ve signed to a two-way contract for next season. I saw his name as a second-round prospect on a lot of mocks. Maybe he spends much of the season lighting up the Westchester County Center—or maybe he’s the next Knick in line to make the leap from G League to NBA.
Swinging this back to Knox and Robinson, the first time we’ll get to witness the rookies is in Las Vegas Summer League next weekend.
The things I want to observe out of Knox: an improved consistency with this three-point shot, better handles, pick-and-roll chops as both a ball handler and screen setter, more fluidity in his game, and an ability to explode in shorter areas. Defensively, everything he does needs work. These are the areas where growth has to happen, at least enough for Mills and Perry to not regret taking one of the Bridges.
As for Robinson—I just want to see him play. All I’ve taken in so far are a couple of highlight videos and workouts, but his athleticism jumps off the page. I just can’t wait to view what he’s capable of in a 5-on-5 setting.
Highlights of Mitchell Robinson at the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic pic.twitter.com/sRE7YEP5vj
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) June 24, 2018
Yeah, I’ve been watching that “dunks off one dribble from the opposite three-point line” clip on loop for days, but I caution you to temper your expectations.
It’s gratifying to see the team actually embrace concepts they’ve needed to embrace since Patrick Ewing left town—a true rebuild, a renewed focus on player development, and youth. Personally, I’m coming to grips with the fact that the guys joining the team this year aren’t THAT much older than one of my kids.
Sure, I’d love to see some flashes from Knox to justify all of the “he dominated in his workout” and “Calipari’s system held him back” narratives, but it’s clear their development is going to take time.
And if I’m being totally honest here, I’m almost more interested to see the newly-ripped Frank Ntilikina take the floor again.