New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox was criticized for having an inconsistent motor at Kentucky. He’s working to address that concern.
The New York Knicks have tasked Scott Perry and David Fizdale with changing the culture. It’s a long-awaited development, as the Knicks have sacrificed blue collar role players and rugged defense for big names and isolation offense for the better part of 17 seasons.
One of the players who will be trusted to help facilitate the change is incoming rookie and former Kentucky Wildcats star Kevin Knox.
New York selected Knox at No. 9 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. It was a leap of faith, as Knox has the potential to become a perennial All-Star, but faces concerns about his defensive inconsistency and relatively erratic motor.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Knox heard the criticism about his energy and has been working on his conditioning to keep his motor high.
"“Yeah, I heard that all the time,’’ Knox said of his motor. “I just kept playing. People are going to talk all the time, criticize you. I listened to my parents, listened to my coaches. They said the same thing. I kind of got better at [it]. I worked on my conditioning a lot this summer as far as getting in extra sprints, so I keep my motor up the whole game. You’re going to get tired at some point during the game. It’s good we got a lot of guys that if I have to sub myself out so I can be on the court 100 percent playing with full energy.”"
Motor concerns are as concerning as any, but it’s refreshing to know that Knox hears the concerns and is working to address them.
Knox flashed star potential in college, where he averaged 19.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.9 three-point field goals made per 40 minutes. When dialed in, he could attack a set defense, work with or without the ball, and even defend well.
Coupled with his 6’9″ frame, near 7’0″ wingspan, and 9’0″ standing reach, it was easy to see why the Knicks were interested.
The issues, however, were with how Knox wore his emotions on his face and didn’t always give a concerted effort on the defensive end of the floor.
The famous story that tells all about the value of conditioning is how Dennis Rodman would spend 30 minutes on a stationary bike—after games. Knox may not be going that far just yet, but the fact he understands how important his conditioning is proves how engaged he is.
If Knox proves that he’s more committed on the court than the critics suggest, then the Knicks will have made a win of a selection at No. 9 overall.
With Summer League yet to begin for the New York Knicks, Kevin Knox is already turning heads.