New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox received the first “DNP-CD” of his career, joining other players in their second NBA seasons.
First-round picks in their second NBA season have not fared well under Coach David Fizdale’s watch. Frank Ntilikina watched from the New York Knicks bench on multiple occasions in 2018-19, before taking a bigger role this season. Damyean Dotson even took time to find a role, before starting over half the games in 2018-19.
Now it’s Kevin Knox‘s turn.
After gradually losing playing time over the past two weeks, Knox received the first “DNP-Coach’s Decision” next to his name in Friday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He previously played 15 or fewer minutes in five of the past seven games, all of which resulted in six or fewer points.
Fizdale challenged Knox at the defensive end earlier this month but to no avail. The 20-year-old’s work at this end of the court struggled from the day he entered the league, and the lack of improvement cost him.
Knox faced an uphill battle the day Marcus Morris signed a one-year, $15 million contract. This was a clear upgrade on offense and defense, and the veteran forward did not renege the San Antonio Spurs to come off the bench, leading to 18.7 points on 52.4 percent on three-pointers.
Granted, Morris taking a starting spot could have allowed Knox to take a backseat and develop slower, and that’s how the season began. But losing all playing time is not indicative of that.
Now Knox has to work his way out of Fizdale’s doghouse, however long that may take. Allonzo Trier is still fighting his way out as someone whose been absent for most of November. Both players were part of the 2018 draft class, that was supposed to start the rebuilding process, but they find themselves outside the mix just over one year later in favor of veterans.
Whenever Knox rejoins the rotation, his current upside is a return to his old bench role. With Morris’ surprisingly proficient shooting this season, he’s not giving up that starting role any time soon, unless the Knicks choose to sell after Dec. 15 and before the February trade deadline.
Given Fizdale’s long-term benching of Trier, too, it may take a while for Knox to re-enter the mix and become relevant. That could mean garbage minutes in the meantime when the Knicks are down significantly in late-game situations.
This isn’t an ideal continuation of Knox’s early NBA career. He is young enough to work out of it and improve, but for someone who just went to the New York Knicks at No. 9 overall in 2018, this start has been disappointing.