Rookie of the Month you say? After an incredible month from the Knicks prized 19 year old rookie in which he averaged 17.1 points and 6 boards, Kevin Knox was named the Eastern Conference rookie of the month for December
Now you may be surprised based on what was being said about Knox just a month or so ago by those ‘anonymous scouts.’ They called him soft and said he was lost out on the court. To be a 19 year old basketball player in New York City, sheesh.
Not only has Knox been stellar since being put into the starting lineup, but he was contributing off the bench before that. Sometimes people fail to realize just what an adjustment being a rookie is, especially in the media whirlwind that is New York. After his play in the summer league, many expected Kevin to take the court by storm when the season began. But as we all know, that didn’t exactly happen, as the competition in an NBA game is much higher than any summer league. Regardless, his efforts in the summer gave Knicks fans everywhere hope that the kid would turn out to be special.
After scoring a modest 10 points in his NBA debut vs the Hawks, Knox followed that up with a 17 point, 6 rebound outing in Brooklyn. It was quite an encouraging performance in just his second NBA game. However, the next game against Boston, he sprained his ankle, causing him to miss the next 7 games. That halt in momentum really affected him upon his return, as he had to regain his rhythm. As coach Fizdale said at the time, this is the NBA and injuries happen, but it’s all a learning experience and watching from the sidelines for a bit can help you learn the pro game a little bit and help it slow down for you. Based off of Knox’s recent performances, including 11 straight games in which he’s scored in double figures, the game as certainly slowed down for him.
Knox has shown not only to be a gifted half-court player with his sweet jumper and mix of floaters and getting to the rim, but a menace in transition. At 6’9″ he’s very difficult to slow down in the open court and has started to figure out how to take it to the rim without flailing as much or forcing the issue. He’s certainly lived up to his draft position as the 9th overall pick and if the draft were redone, he’d have a case to be made to have been picked top 5.
Kevin Knox is exactly where he should be in his Knicks career and has shown a steady improvement that could potentially see him finish in the top 3 in Rookie of the Year voting. Coach Fizdale stuck up for his rookie after those ‘anonymous scouts’ criticized him and now we are seeing Knox grow into a fantastic player. His handling of the media and pressure of him being a lottery pick have been impressive. He’s anything but soft.