The New York Knicks provided the basketball world with a pleasant surprise in Summer League standout Kevin Knox. Knox’s father was as surprised as anyone.
The New York Knicks have provided fans with a new reason for excitement. After spending the 2017-18 season pondering how effective Kristaps Porzingis could be with an athletic frontcourt complement, the Knicks drafted Kevin Knox at No. 9 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft.
While Knox has yet to prove himself against an NBA-caliber level of competition, his performances at Summer League have set the basketball world ablaze.
Those who didn’t watch will point to his inefficiency, but Knox put his alluring skill set on display in Las Vegas. He looked nothing like the player who’d spent his freshman season at Kentucky, playing a new style that highlighted unexpected strengths.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Knox’s father, Kevin Knox Sr., was pleasantly surprised by the biggest change of all: An encouragement to create.
"“The biggest surprise was the ability to create with the ball in his hands and get his own shot,’’ Knox Sr. said. “He didn’t get the opportunity to see that in Kentucky as much. He was more astute with the ball, making decisions. He created off the dribble and got his shot off like Kevin Durant whom he patterns his game after.’’"
It’s quite intriguing to know that Knox’s first high-level exposure to consistently creating with the ball in his hands went this well.
As Knox’s father alluded to, Knox played more of an off-ball role during his freshman season at Kentucky. He thrived when the ball was in his hands, but he played a role that often asked him to work the baseline and fill traditional spots in the rotation.
Knox’s game is anything but traditional, however, as he looks the part of the prototypical small-ball 4—a truth that was supported by his play at Summer League.
Knox handled the ball at the top of the key, led the break as a ball-handler, and was tasked with creating penetration against set defenses.
With his first high-level exposure to such high standards of execution, Knox thrived. Fatigue became a factor as Summer League went on, but he was incessant in his attempts to address what were once believed to be flaws.
There’s still work to be done, but Kevin Knox Sr.’s quote shines a light on an encouraging reality: New York is already putting the rookie forward in a position to explore the range of his abilities.
The New York Knicks are finally garnering praise for how they’re handling the development of an up-and-coming player.