New York Knicks: Early expectations for Kevin Knox in Year Two

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

What can the New York Knicks expect from Kevin Knox in his second season?

Kevin Knox was labeled one of the NBA’s “worst” players in 2018-19.  That may have some validity, but the context matters. He was asked to do a lot as a 19-year-old, averaging the most minutes on the New York Knicks, which became too much in his first year. This explains the awful efficiency numbers.

Something that is a little more difficult to defend is his defense. He did not have good defenders around him for the most part, but at times Knox looked lost, or he wasn’t trying. His rebounding has to improve for a player his size. If he starts, he has to almost double his 4.5 rebounds per game from his rookie season. Knox has shown a few flashes of being a good rebounder, but it needs more consistency.

On the positive side, Knox has the potential to be an elite shooter. On five attempts per game, he shot 34 percent from three-point distance. In December, where he won Rookie of the Month, he averaged 38 percent from long range. That month showed what Knox could be at his best; he was one of the few players Knicks fans could trust when launching from behind the arc.

Now the question is will he start on opening night? Marcus Morris should get the start over Kevin Knox, as this gives the Knicks the best chance to win. However, the roster the Knicks created allowed us to create all sorts of versatile lineups. A lineup that Knox could benefit from is:

This lineup has Knox as the third ball-handler, which would be an improvement from last season. Knox can get his looks off of Payton and Barrett’s penetration. Portis doesn’t need the ball a lot, either, and he is versatile offensively. The Kentucky product would be here the second or third offensive option.

Does Knox start at all this season? If the season does not go as expected, he definitely does. If the Knicks are not in the playoff picture by the trade deadline, Morris is a potential trade candidate, and an emphasis should be placed on the younger talent.

The Knicks can compete for the eighth seed with how shallow the East is, despite what the Vegas odds say. Starting does mean something to players, but head coach David Fizdale deserves credit for knowing when to go to certain players in certain in situations. He managed his players well and was very creative with his rotations.

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While Knox struggled as a tookie, there is still reason to be optimistic. A reasonable stat line for him this season with the New York Knicks could be a much more efficient 12 points, and he improves his rebounds to five per game.