Former Kentucky Wildcats guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander opened up on what makes former teammate and current New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox special.
New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox is the latest in the long line of NBA prospects who played for the Kentucky Wildcats at the collegiate level. It’s a program that focuses a vast majority of its resources on helping players make the transition to the next level.
While it’s still early in his development process, Knox is looking the part of the next success story to emerge from the University of Kentucky.
Knox was the headlining recruit in a class that featured two lottery picks: He and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Gilgeous-Alexander was selected at No. 11 overall by the Charlotte Hornets, which ultimately sent him to the Los Angeles Clippers.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Gilgeous-Alexander offered an evaluation of Knox and how his game should translate to the NBA.
"“It’s the same Kevin I saw day-in and day-out, but with the NBA spacing and better players around him,” Gilgeous-Alexander told The Post at Thomas & Mack Center. “It’s only making him better. I expected this from Kevin. I knew he was a really big talent and things like this were going to happen to him.“Kevin has the ultimate potential. You see it at summer league. He can play multiple positions. I think his game fits today’s NBA.”"
Gilgeous-Alexander’s words offer a vital reminder of a truth that’s often overlooked: Some players fit better in the NBA than in college.
Knox’s style of play is perfect for the pace-and-space approach that’s taking center stage in the modern NBA. He’ll be able to slow things down as his fundamentals come along, but his current skill set should flourish in the open court.
Knox has the speed and explosive leaping ability to weave through transition and get to the rim for finishes of both a power and finesse nature.
He’s also displayed potential as a spot up shooter, which offers reason to believe that he’ll be an even greater fit in the new NBA.
Knox will be surrounded by players who are certainly capable of alleviating pressure on both ends of the floor. That includes veteran scorers Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter, defensive specialists Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson, and playmakers Trey Burke and Emmanuel Mudiay.
Regardless of whom Knox is placed in a lineup with, he’ll be able to go through the ebbs and flows of the game in a system that better fits his skill set and physical profile.
Much as there are players who fit better at the collegiate level, there are those whose game is more appropriate for the NBA.
New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox appears to fit the latter description.