Things are just not clicking right now for the Knicks’ 2018 first-round draft pick Kevin Knox.
After an average first year in the NBA whereby he averaged around 12 points per game on almost 29 minutes per night, things have only gotten worse for the small forward out of Kentucky in his sophomore season.
With the addition of the gritty Marcus Morris in free agency, Knox has been resigned to coming almost exclusively off the bench. With his minutes dwindling, the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft has hardly been able to boost his scoring with the second Knicks unit. His current season average is now just 7.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in roughly 19.6 minutes on court. That’s rough, especially for a guy who effectively taken as the ninth-best player in the nation out of college.
So far in January he has averaged 16.8 minutes, scored on average just 3.8 points per game, and has knocked down a total of just nine out of 35 shots taken, a disappointing 25.7% field goal percentage.
Since November 8th, he has only managed to put up 11 points or more on two occasions, both at home against the Milwaukee Bucks (19) and the Atlanta Hawks (17). Out of the 38 games he has played in this season, he’s only managed double figures (10+) on 12 occasions.
This may come across like a serious Kevin Knox ‘bashing session’, but this doesn’t come down to whether he’s an NBA-calibre player or not, it’s down to whether he feels comfortable in his roll on the team. Kevin Knox is not RJ Barrett, and even college scouts would tell you that there is a lot more upside to Barrett’s game. Despite there even being some trepidations about RJ, he’s still managing the obscene workload of 31.4 minutes per night for a rookie and still averaging more points, boards and assists than Knox did in his debut season in the league.
There is no shame in taking a step back at his fragile age of just 20 years old, and re-calibrating in a less stressful environment like the G-League. Kadeem Allen is a shining example of a young player finding his way back into big-league reckoning through the NBA’s developmental platform after he averaged 16-7-3 (points, rebounds, assists) with the Westchester Knicks in the 2018-2019 season. This season, Ignas Brazdeikis is down there dropping almost 20 points a night while shooting 48% from the field.
The NBA season is long, 82 games to be precise. Given the fact that the Knicks are running nine, ten, sometimes even eleven guys out there a night, giving Knox a fortnight off to play three or four games up in Westchester can’t hurt the team that badly. We’re not talking a play-off-chasing Knicks here, we’re talking about a team that failed to land a big free agent, and their best bet of improving is through the draft.
Putting Knox out there while giving Brazdeikis a shot at a few bench minutes for the Knicks in the meantime would keep New York ticking over in terms of both developing young talent and filling out roster minutes while giving young Kevin some pressure-free game-time to put up big numbers and find that shot we all know he can make.