An intriguing coincidence occurred in the basketball world on the second weekend in December. On Sunday, Dec. 9, Knicks rookie, Kevin Knox ingrained himself in history alongside The King, LeBron James.
With 26 points and 15 boards, Knox became the second youngest player to ever record a double-double with 25+ points and 15+ rebounds since LeBron accomplished the feat. The 19-year-old waited 21 games to post a double-double, but it was certainly worth the wait.
The next night, James teased Knicks fan worldwide by alluding to the fact he considered playing in the Garden for the New York Knicks.
Don’t release the Knox/LeBron comparisons just yet; Knox still has a lot to prove and much more to work on before he is even in the conversation alongside the kid from Akron.
Either way, the ex-Kentucky No. 9 draft pick was certainly impressive in the loss to the Hornets Sunday night.
Knox shot 10-25 from the floor. A high volume of shots proves the neophyte does not shy away from shooting. However, Knox will learn how much responsibility he needs to take up on a game-to-game basis, and tailor his shots accordingly.
His length helps him finish at the rim, but adding a few pounds to his frame will help him finish through contact instead of avoiding bodies with floaters from the lane. This will lead to more opportunities from the free-throw line.
Knox was 2-2 from the line in his 26 point performance. He averages 2.2 FTA per game and his most FTAs were 10 in mid-November. Those attempts will increase with his strength, confidence, and IQ.
From deep, Knox certainly impressed, shooting 50% from the arc on 4-8 shooting. He is shooting .341% from 3 this season, the same percentage he shot at Kentucky. Continuing to fire away will help Knox learn his shot at the NBA level and I expect him to hover around the 35% mark in his career, with the potential to have some .40s sprinkled in there. The league average 3 point percentage is .351.
All together, Knox’s potential is sky high and the Knicks obviously realize his enormous upside as they used their top-10 draft pick on him.
His success, along with the other young players on the roster will continue to increase throughout the season, especially when Head Coach David Fizdale sets the youngsters free like he did on Saturday, Dec. 8 against the Nets and against the Hornets.
The Ntilikina, Dotson, Knox, Trier, Robinson lineup against the Nets closed a 3rd quarter deficit that had been more than 20. Unfortunately, the comeback was too much and the kids were unable to push through for the win. Dotson exploded for 12 second half points thanks to a flurry of consecutive buckets after checking into the game. Ntilikina added 7.
Against the Hornets, that young lineup (excluding Treir who was out with a hamstring injury) impressed again. Ntilikina had 18 points, Knox obviously had the 26, and Dotson put up 12. Robinson, who has struggled to score, had 6 points.
As for Mitchell Robinson, he has been improving defensively, but has been lacking on the defensive boards. He actually averages more offensive rebounds (2.2) than defensive rebounds (1.9).
An encouraging mark is his 9.3 block percentage that leads the league, proving he has already established himself as one of the NBA’s best shot blockers. His shot-blocking ability around the rim is impressive, but he can be overzealous at times, resulting in early foul trouble. That is something he certainly struggled with while in the starting lineup earlier in the season.
All in all, this campaign is for development and Robinson fits Fizdale’s defensive mold very well. Don’t forget about Porzingis and how his return could open up opportunities for Robinson to score with defenses concentrated on containing the Unicorn.
On the whole, Knicks fans will binge performances like the one Knox had against Charlotte. His dazzling skill is intoxicating (hence, In-Knox-icating) and gives a tremendous amount of hope to the future of New York’s basketball franchise.
Featured Image: New York Post