New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox has yet to prove anything on the court, but he’s already displaying the competitiveness to be a factor at the next level.
When the New York Knicks selected Kevin Knox, I found myself tracing the steps that led Scott Perry to hid decision. In doing so, a name kept ringing in my head, no matter how hard I tried to shake it: Donovan Mitchell.
While Knox doesn’t play the same position or style as Mitchell, the pre-draft process that the two orchestrated was eerily similar.
In 2017, Mitchell made waves in the NBA Draft community by declining private workouts in favor of a group setting. Knox did the same in 2018, and much like Mitchell, obliterated the lottery-caliber competition that he was matched up against.
It’s a small similarity in the grand scheme of things, but it was an early sign of what made Mitchell so unstoppable as a rookie: Mental toughness.
Both players possess impressive physical tools, but that only goes so far in the NBA. What’s required of players who become stars is a measure of mental fortitude that separates the special from the intriguing—and Knox continues to display the necessary traits.
"“That’s been my guy growing up,’’ Knox said. “I‘ve watched film on him playing all the Finals. But now that I’m in the NBA. It’s competitive now. So I’m really looking forward to playing against him.’’"
Knox will quickly learn that it isn’t very fun to play against Durant and the Warriors, but his willingness to take on the challenge is refreshing.
Knox has been willing to accept challenges since the moment he surfaced on the radar. That includes the fact that he chose to play for the Kentucky Wildcats, which flood their gym with high-level recruits who are all jostling for NBA Draft position.
There’s something admirable about wanting to be the big man on campus, as well, but Knox proved that he was willing and able to sacrifice on a deep team in 2017-18.
More importantly: Knox joined a program that could’ve left him overshadowed and underrated, only to rise to the occasion and separate himself from his peers.
There are admittedly some who view John Calipari’s Wildcats as a guaranteed path to the NBA. Knox is of a different mentality, however, as he was more intrigued by the prospect of practicing with and against pro-level competition on a daily basis.
Iron sharpens iron, as the old saying goes, and Knox has consistently proven that he doesn’t want to take the easy road to success.
Regardless of what transpires on the court, Kevin Knox could be a driving force behind the culture shift for the New York Knicks.