There is almost as good of a case for Kevin Knox to start here as Marcus Morris. After taking a main role throughout the 2018-19 season, despite the New York Knicks’ limited expectations, the Kentucky product seemed poised to return as a starter, with the chance to build on a rookie season of trials and tribulations.
However, with all the frontcourt additions made in free agency, it clouded Knox’s chances to replicate his starting role. Morris’ arrival may have ended that.
Signed to a one-year, $15 million contract, the veteran forward is tied for the second-highest-paid player on the roster. Sure, that does not make him guaranteed to start, but this is a gritty, experienced player who efficiently stretches the floor, plays good defense and is versatile. That could play in his favor over Knox and his steps still needed in development.
Basically, it makes Morris a placeholder. Knox’s rookie play showed starting may have been too soon, as he struggled mightily defensively and to consistently make more than 40 percent of his shots, but taking a step back might be a positive, before returning to the forefront later this season or by 2020-21.
It takes pressure off Knox, and Morris makes the Knicks a more competitive team. This makes sense for the group to start games for the Knicks, and the second-year forward should still have a big role off the bench.