clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

3 reasons why Kevin Knox can win NBA Rookie of the Year

The Knicks are relying heavily on Kevin Knox to play a major role in 2018-2019.

NBA: Preseason-New York Knicks at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

If the NBA summer league and his first preseason game were any indicator of what type of player Kevin Knox will be at the next level, then the New York Knicks are going to have a star on their hands.

The bright lights will be shining in the Big Apple and Knox should have a great opportunity to showcase his skill set. Is winning the rookie of the year award a possibility for Knox? When recently asked if he thinks he can win the award at the John Calipari Draft Academy, Knox quickly responded.

“I 100% think I can. That’s the goal.” Knox said.

Here are a three reasons why Kevin Knox can win the rookie of the year award.

1. The New York Knicks

The Knicks are still are not a very good team. After a dreadful 29-53 season last year, the Knicks decided to part ways with head coach Jeff Hornacek after only two years. David Fizdale was hired in efforts to get the organization on a positive trajectory.

The well-documented struggles of the Knicks will be relevant to Kevin Knox’s rookie of the year campaign because it should create an immediate opportunity for him to put up big numbers.

A team’s win/loss record is not really a determining factor like individual statistics are when thinking about the rookie of the year race. Aside from Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks are still searching for the key pieces to build a play-off contending team around.

Former Michigan Wolverines star Tim Hardaway Jr. did average 17.5 points a game last season, and he has established himself as a legitimate scoring option in the NBA. But it is evident that Knox will have his chance to show what he can do early and often in 2018-2019.

The Knicks need a player that they can give the ball to and expect a quality shot. Kevin Knox can be that guy.

New head coach David Fizdale led the Memphis Grizzlies to the 2016-2017 playoffs and has to understand that Knox’s development will be a critical component to his ability to stay employed with the Knicks long term.

I expect he will get the ball regularly after the excitement Knox’s summer league debut has created amongst Knick Fans.

The Knicks actually kicked off their 2018 campaign with a 124-121 overtime win over the Washington Wizards in Monday’s preseason game. Knox started and played 26 minutes in his first game, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals.

It was a very promising debut that should only add to the preseason hype for Knox.

The exposure that New York City brings should also play in Knox’s favor. Think about Donovan Mitchell’s rookie of the year campaign and how it was maybe throttled because he plays in Utah. It took fans longer to appreciate what he was doing, and he was ultimately beaten out by Ben Simmons for the award.

Philadelphia is a far bigger market than Utah, so perhaps we could see a similar situation play out with Knox as he goes against promising rookies in smaller markets like DeAndre Ayton (Phoenix), Collin Sexton (Cleveland), Mohamed Bamba (Orlando) and Marvin Bagley (Sacramento).

New York City is the biggest sports market on planet earth, so it’s fair to say that all of Knox’s successes and failures will be widely visible. If the Knicks can improve overall, it will do even more to get Kevin Knox’s name trending, but putting up big numbers will be the key.

Knick fans booed the selection of Knox on draft night, just like they always do. But I do not think the fans will regret this pick when they look back to 2018.

2. Style of play

Knox’s game should absolutely translate well to the NBA. We all know that the professional game has transformed into a spacing clinic where teams will spread out the defense and rely on shot makers.

This transition has already appeared to fit Knox’s game well as he tore up the summer league, averaging 21.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while being named to First-Team All-Summer League. His ability to shoot with range and put the ball on the floor to score should separate him as a professional.

Knox showed what he can do on the big stage when he led Kentucky with 34 points on the road in a comeback win at West Virginia in January. After that game when he was asked how he was able to take over the game, Knox responded.

“Just staying aggressive and mixing up the game up. I went to the basket, got to the free- line, and hit some big shots. They were on me about driving the basketball but when they weren’t closed out I would just hit the shot.” Knox told reporters.

That comment about versatility will ultimately be the difference maker in Knox’s quest to become a great NBA player. He understands the game and has the talent, size, and pedigree to score against anyone. Knox did not even turn 19 years old until August 11th. The future is bright.

3. Kevin Knox is built for this.

Knox never seemed to change his on court demeanor in his one season in Lexington. Whether he was having a good game or a bad game his face always seemed to remain the same.

Whenever Knox was questioned by the media throughout the season, he sounded like a pro already and seems destined to be in the NBA. His father, Kevin Knox Sr, was a star football player for Florida State before being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.

There is no doubt that Knox has been preparing for his professional future for a long time, so it is no surprise that he has an exceptional temperament at such a young age. New York City will require mental toughness along with some flair.

I believe Kevin Knox has both.

Here’s a look at the latest odds to win the award as of August 20 at Bovada:

  • Luka Doncic +350
  • Deandre Ayton +375
  • Collin Sexton +750
  • Kevin Knox +750
  • Marvin Bagley +900
  • Jaren Jackson Jr +1100
  • Trae Young +1100
  • Wendell Carter Jr +1500
  • Mohamed Bamba +1800
  • De’Anthony Melton +2000
  • Michael Porter Jr +2200
  • Lonnie Walker +2500
  • Harry Giles +2500
  • Mikal Bridges +4000
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander +4000
  • Miles Bridges +4000
  • Donte DiVincenzo +4500
  • Jalen Brunson +6000
  • Zhaire Smith +6000
  • Robert Williams +6000
  • Jairus Lyles +8500
  • Grayson Allen +8000
  • Mitchell Robinson +9000

Be sure to go ‘like’ our Facebook page and follow our Twitter page for the latest Kentucky Wildcats news.