Scott Perry and New York have their newest addition: Kevin Knox, a fluid jump shooter from Kentucky and only 18 years young.
#Knoxtape season has officially arrived.
With the ninth overall pick in the 2018 Draft, the New York Knicks scooped up Kevin Knox, a dynamic 6’9″ wing from the University of Kentucky. The Knicks were seriously impressed by Knox’s private workouts earlier this week, and the hype surrounding the forward continued to build up until draft day. Now, with the ceremonial donning of the draft day flat-brim, Knox is a Knick.
Knox’s talents are a great fit for a team in dire need of dynamic play and scoring on the wing. The Knick’s dearth of wing talent has hurt the team over the past few seasons, particularly, when it pertained to the deep ball. Last season, the Knicks ranked second-to-last in the league in three-pointers attempted and made, and in the bottom 10 in opponent three-point percentage. Knox won’t be an immediate help on the defensive end, but he’s shown that he can thrive offensively along the wing, showcasing a great deal of fluidity and a knack for shooting off screens. At 6’9″, Knox has the height to match up with almost anyone at the three, something that the undersized Tim Hardaway Jr. couldn’t bring to the table last season.
The Knicks’ front office hinted pre-draft that they were looking to fill the team’s lack of talent on the wing, (we still love you Lance Thomas), but Scott Perry also didn’t rule out the possibility of drafting another point guard. With Trae Young and Collin Sexton off of the board, the Knicks were left with a simple decision in Knox.
While the team’s decision to draft Knox over both Bridges brothers wasn’t quite as clear-cut, it did make a lot of sense in regards to the direction of this team. With the addition of the 18-year-old Knox, the third-youngest player in this year’s draft, the so-called youth movement in which Scott Perry has alluded to is finally in full swing. For a team rebuilding their identity from the ground up, an intelligent young player like Knox is a great fit.
Knox certainly has the length and youth the Knicks are after but will have to seriously step up his game on the defensive end—as well as his overall intensity and focus—to reach his full potential. In college, Kevin was prone to mental lapses and occasionally faded in and out of games. With Kristaps as the established focal point of the Knick’s offense, Knox won’t have to be the alpha, but he will have to be locked in for every minute he’s on the court if he wants to contribute. Thankfully, Knox has shown a penchant for smart cuts and off-ball movement, even when his isn’t dominating the scoreboard. Fans should be excited to see how he slots into David Fizdale’s young team.
By drafting a young prospect with undeniable potential, but a few holes in his game, the Knicks are showing a great deal of confidence in Fizdale and his coaching staff. Knox has the physical tools to be a competent defender—but doesn’t yet fit the defense-first archetype the Knicks have extolled as of late. What the former Kentucky man does bring to the table—dynamism and scoring from the wing—have convinced the Knicks to overlook his defensive shortcomings. There were big names on the board at nine and the Knicks went with Knox. The team’s confidence in their own scouting evaluations, as well as their wise decision to draft a position of need, are signs that the Knicks are looking towards the future with a sense of purpose and determination. That should give the fans (even the booers) something to feel good about.