Despite significantly less fanfare than others, New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox may have a legitimate shot at the Rookie of the Year award.
Kevin Knox hasn’t played a single minute in the NBA, and yet he already has New York Knicks fans giddy about what his future holds.
Summer League saw the Kentucky product average 21.3 points and 6.5 rebounds, showcasing a nice mix of athleticism and off the dribble prowess.
When it comes to predicting who will be the Rookie of the Year in any given season, the safe bet is to go with the top picks given how talented they’re sure to be right out of the gate.
Knox may have been selected with “only” the eighth overall pick, but his chances at the coveted award should be higher than most are predicting.
Unlike say, the MVP, which has become open to interpretation, the ROY is normally awarded to the guy that puts up the best numbers.
Winning obviously helps, but as an NBA freshman on a likely lottery team, it’s somewhat unrealistic to expect team success to help count towards victories.
Due to the absence of Kristaps Porzingis, who will likely be out until February, the Knicks will need to fill a giant 7-3 void left in their offense.
Given what he showed in Las Vegas, there’s little reason to suggest Knox can’t take on at least some of that burden, bringing with it more opportunities to put up fantastic rookie numbers.
Compare this circumstance to others like Deandre Ayton and Collin Sexton — both of whom tied for number one on NBA.com’s rookie survey of likeliest to win Rookie of the Year — who will have to defer to their star teammates.
The Knicks may have veterans such as Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter to take some shots away from Knox, but neither carry the same cache as a Kevin Love or Devin Booker. If New York’s prized possession comes out swinging early on, the two will likely be forced to take a backseat.
Knox actually tied for third in the ROY survey with Luka Doncic at 9 percent, but that number should be actually higher.
He’ll have every opportunity in the world to lead the Knicks or flop trying, and given how the New York media has a penchant for hyping up its stars, there’s no reason to think Knox can’t amass a large cult following should he thrive.
As most have come to realize in sports, production comes from opportunity. Knox will have plenty, and while he may not be the odds-on favorite, such chances will likely come into play when voters submit their award ballots when the time comes.