New York Knicks all-time draft bust starting 5

Kevin Knox, New York Knicks and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Kevin Knox, New York Knicks and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images /
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New York Knicks
Kevin Knox II, New York Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

New York Knicks all-time draft bust starting shooting guard: Kevin Knox

At this point in our draft bust starting five we have to recognize that the Knicks have not whiffed on a lot of guard prospects with high picks; when they have a high pick they almost always draft a frontcourt player, and it oh-so-often goes terribly wrong. We, therefore, slide Kevin Knox into our starting shooting guard spot to highlight the deep reserve of draft busts at the forward positions.

The player Knox was supposed to be would be right at home as a shooting guard, anyway. One year after taking Frank Ntilikina they were back in the top 10 in the 2018 Draft and took Kentucky forward Kevin Knox II with the ninth pick of the draft.

Knox was a highly-recruited player who had a bad freshman season, then somehow shot up draft boards in the pre-draft process, skyrocketing all the way to the Knicks at nine. The profile on Knox made sense for a top pick; Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer described him as “a raw forward with the requisite athletic traits to be a go-to scorer if he puts it all together.”

Narrator: he did not put it all together.

Knox got plenty of run on a bad Knicks team in 2018-19 and averaged 12.8 points on abysmal efficiency as a rookie. It would only go downhill from there, as his shot never developed and his finishing inside melted into tentative misses. He never developed as a passer and on defense his skinny frame and poor instincts combined for the worst of both worlds, a tweener not strong enough to defend forwards nor quick enough to guard wings.

Knox is still hanging around the league, bouncing around four teams in two years after the Knicks dumped him on the Atlanta Hawks. Every so often he has a game or two that flashes that upside and makes NBA GMs start drooling, but a player has to find a way to be usable every game, and that’s something Knox has never discovered.

Who was the player taken directly after Kevin Knox? Mikal Bridges, who is now one of the league’s best two-way wings. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander went 11th. Could you imagine the Knicks with either of those players? If they had come out of the 2017 and 2018 drafts with Donovan Mitchell and Mikal Bridges instead of Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox…well, it certainly would have been a very different half-decade for the Knicks.