Undoubtedly, the Knicks will expect big things from Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and Kemba Walker; Kevin Knox is interesting.
The Tampa, Florida native has been a disappointment since the Knicks selected him with a lottery pick in 2018. The brief optimism Knicks fans saw in college, and the summer league would vacate when they saw him in the regular season.
In his rookie year, he averaged 12.8 points per game in 75 games. However, for his career, Knox is averaging 8.5 points per game on 37% from the field and 35% from behind the arc. In this past year, he averaged just 3.4 points per game as he usually made appearances in low-leverage situations.
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau mentioned to the media that second-year players Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin were at the team’s practice facility in Tarrytown nearly every day, which made the already enamored fan base swoon yet again with these players.
Knox decided he wanted to go home to Florida to train and get ready to play with Quickley and Toppin in the Summer League.
After experiencing symptoms, Knox would test positive for COVID-19, which tabled his plans to head to Las Vegas.
“I was staying in Miami and I got sick,” Knox said. “I was down for a couple of weeks. It was difficult. I trained really hard to go to summer league, play again and actually get some runs and minutes. I got my body ready and COVID hit me.”
In late September, Knicks’ general manager announced the entire Knicks organization was fully vaccinated.
“I was out for 10 days, and then I was able to do some bike and push-ups,” Knox said. “I lost some weight. But I put it on pretty quick. But I’d never lost weight. The first week or two, I had trouble getting my wind back, but once I got it back, I kept pushing to get my conditioning right for camp.”
Knox will need to impress the coaching staff and front office in a hurry. Knox is among the last men off the bench as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.
He might’ve gotten on the wrong foot when he said the Summer League is “basically just organized pick-up.” That quote was quickly taken to task by Thibodeau, who fired back by saying Summer League is “different, the intensity of a game is a lot different than a pick-up game.”
Yet, entering camp, Knox feels optimistic.
”Right now, no one has really solidified minutes, solidified starters and bench players,” Knox said. “So it’s going into camp, going into the season with the right mindset that I really want to play this year. So I’m going to have to figure out a way to stay on the court and get minutes. So I’m really not worried about the trades and everything else. I’m just worried about getting in the rotation and being on the court.”
Well, what else is he going to say?
The truth is Knox found himself as a second-unit player in his rookie season, and by his sophomore season, he had regressed to being a rotation player in the back of the rotation on a bad team. This past season, his role did not change for a team that made the playoffs.
Yes, no one has solidified minutes yet, but we have an idea on who the starters will be, who the first men off the bench will be, and who will be the men who take the court in low-leverage situations. Plus, the Knicks improved their team this offseason.
Unless injuries happen to key players, I simply do not envision Kevin Knox getting enough minutes to perform at a high-caliber level and earn himself another contract.
By the end of all of this, we’ll remember Kevin Knox’s tenure as a Knickerbocker the same way we’ll remember Frank Ntilikina’s.
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