NY Knicks: Leon Rose not sold on Kevin Knox, new coach could be key

Kevin Knox lost his chance to make an early impression on New York Knicks president Leon Rose.


While the rest of the NBA learns about the amenities that will be included in their Disney hotels, the New York Knicks are one of eight teams who will be watching the resumption of the 2019-20 season from home.

It might be for the best as the team identifies a new head coach, fills out their front office with new hires, and prepares for the 2020 NBA Draft. However, for some of the young players on the Knicks roster, losing the season’s final 16 games might come at a cost.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, recently hired Knicks president Leon Rose is not sold on Knox’s game and “desperately” wanted to see him in the season’s final 16 games that were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After learning by fire during his rookie campaign under David Fizdale, Knox’s sophomore season was a step back, which is saying something considering he wasn’t very good in 2018-19.

Playing under both Fizdale and interim head coach Mike Miller this year, Knox never found his groove in the offense, and continued to look lost on defense. Since the All-Star break, the Kentucky product shot only 30.5% from the field. As Rose officially took over as team president in early March, he clearly didn’t get to see the best of Knox. But nobody has in the NBA, as of yet.

Could this mean Rose will be quick to try to move on from the former lottery pick? Perhaps not so fast.

Kevin Knox might need a fresh start with a new coach.

Knox’s former assistant coach from Kentucky thinks a new head coach could make the difference.

“No question, I think a new staff comes in and can evaluate what the kid is and tell him what he needs him to do,’’ Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne told the New York Post in a phone interview this week. “He’s starting with a clean slate. There’s no prejudging of who he is. He can go out and feel comfortable and do the things to help the team win. I think he’s coming back with a new and different fire. With a little adversity, you can attain greatness. And he’s been through it.”

The Knicks appear to be on the verge of hiring Tom Thibodeau as the next bench chief, but interviews are expected for player development guru Kenny Atkinson, former Knicks coach Mike Woodson, along with consideration for Mike Miller. How a new coach can unlock Knox’s potential would seem to be a key question in those interviews. It could also buy Knox a fresh start.

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