New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox is already being utilized differently than when he was playing for Kentucky. Knox explained the key difference.
Coming out of college, the knock against New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox was that he didn’t impose his will against said level of competition. He admittedly played for a deep and balanced Kentucky Wildcats team, but his role was defined in a somewhat restrictive manner.
Summer League can only tell us so much about a player, but the Knicks are already utilizing Knox in a more flexible capacity—and he’s taking notice.
Knox has been described as the prototypical small-ball 4, due in large part to his unique combination of size, length, athleticism, and skill. It’s also a comment about his lack of an elite perimeter skill, but the Knicks have already put him in a position to address that concern.
According to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, Knox explained the difference between how the Knicks utilized him at Summer League and how he played under John Calipari.
"“Kentucky, I really ran the baseline,” he said. “Here they got me playing a lot up top, being able to make different reads, get to the basket.”"
That stylistic detail could go a long way towards enabling Knox to turn his versatility into a consistent ability to create in the modern NBA.
Knox has issues that he’ll need to address in the coming months and years, including a shaky left hand and a somewhat erratic jump shot. The foundation is in place for All-Star glory, however, as he’s an explosive athlete with a prototypical frame and a high basketball IQ.
Knox has also displayed the ability to shoot the lights out when in rhythm, and has the potential to be a legitimately elite finisher in transition.
In order for Knox to improve upon his weaknesses and highlight his strengths, however, the coaching staff will need to allow him to play through his inconsistencies.
At Summer League, Knox was given the ultimate green light to take the ball at the top of the key and dictate the direction of the offense. The results hit both ends of the spectrum, but the truth remains that he was empowered on offense.
If the Knicks continue to allow Knox to create for himself and others from the top of the key, they’ll put him in a position to realize his true potential.
Kevin Knox will need to put the work in, but the New York Knicks are already giving him the opportunity to be successful.