In his second year out of Kentucky, expectations were high for Kevin Knox. Instead of watching Knox develop as a player, the New York Knicks have only seen him take a step back.
Kevin Knox‘s second season with the New York Knicks has not gone to plan. Going into the year, many, including myself, expected some growth from Knox and was excited to see the development in his game.
His second year has been a tough and a puzzling one, struggling to get consistent minutes and looking more and more like a bust. He is playing just over 18 minutes a night for a team that has 21 wins.
Why hasn’t Kevin Knox gotten more minutes?
Early in the season the most obvious is the log-jam at the forward position. The New York Knicks had a slew of players that could play either forward positions on the roster. Once Marcus Morris was traded you would expect Knox’s minutes to go up, but it has been more of the same. He has played at least 20 minutes just six times in the last 26 games. That’s basically the stretch since the Morris trade.
The log-jam is a valid excuse early in the season, but it just covered up for Knox’s poor defensive effort. Knox may be the worst defender in the NBA, with his 114.0 defensive rating. That would be in the top 25 of the NBA’s worst defenders. The effort level has to be most worrisome. Just to compare, Elfrid Payton has played the same amount minutes (988) and has nearly 71 more deflections: 98 vs 27.
Sure his defense can be bad but what about the rest of his game?
Knox’s shooting has also taken a hit. His true shooting percentage is at 46.6%, good for dead and last among all small forwards. You can add that he as a -40.4 value added when on the floor, which would be 4th worst by all players that play small forward. Plus, his EWA (Estimated Wins Added) is at -1.3, 5th worst at his position.
All this adds up to a young player playing limited minutes a game who very much looks overwhelmed at the NBA level.
Even in college you saw glimpses of the talent Knox possess , but he disappeared too many times. Sure, Knox was 18 and is only 20 now, but it does hurt his case when his impact is actually detrimental to the team winning.
The caveat or wrinkle for New York Knicks fans is that Knox’s age, body, and game are still developing. The key is for him to get stronger and to add more to his game then a stand still shooter.
It’s too early to say that Knox is a bust, but it is very concerning that he has not shown improvements. Especially, on a team that will finish with less than 30 wins, if there are even any more games left to be played.