Weight: 215 pounds
Stats: 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds
Era-Friendly: Knox is listed as 6’9, 215 pounds and proved in his first season at Kentucky that he can shoot from virtually anywhere on the court. In today’s NBA, that skill at his size is a necessity. Any team who lands Knox in the draft will be able to instantly plug him in to their system.
Upside: At just 18 years of age, Knox is one of the youngest players in his class. Though his offensive game is already above-par, the fact that he has roughly 8-10 more years until he hits his prime is arguably his most intriguing feature. That much time with professional coaching and training could really allow him to sprout in the NBA.
Oubre came out of Kansas with a rather raw game that was pretty similar to Knox’s. Oubre took a few years to gel but has now elevated himself as one of the league’s best role players off the bench. With his long and lanky frame, he’s able to defend multiple positions while also being able to shoulder some offensive workload on the other end of the court. With the right staff, this could be Knox’s floor instead of his ceiling.
Harris isn’t the most known name to the average fan but he’s certainly a player you’d want on your team. He’s bounced around the NBA (playing for 10 teams in seven seasons) but is an instant 14-18 points every time he takes the court. As an above average defender, he’s able to use his size and length (like Knox) to guard multiple positions. This is the closest comparison to Knox in the NBA, though Knox has the potential to become even better.
Knox came to Kentucky as head coach John Calipari’s top recruit. Despite what some people consider an “average season,” he answered the bell as the team’s number one option throughout the year. Behind the duo of Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky made it’s way out of a rough first half of the season to win the SEC Championship and all the way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Throughout the season, Knox made it very aware of his scoring ability. Though his 34-point performance in a win over West Virginia in Morgantown was rather loud, he quietly brought an average of 15.6 points to the court each night.
Without Knox, Kentucky would have found themselves struggling to score each and every night. His ability to stretch the floor as the team’s most consistent shooter opened the paint that led to easier shots for his teammates.
That catches every scouts’ eye in today’s NBA, which assumes Knox’s stock is as high as anyone. It’s nearly a guarantee that he lands in the lottery.
New York Knicks, 9th Overall
The Knicks could opt to take Villanova’s Mikal Bridges here, but Knox is the much more intriguing prospect. Both are exceptional shooters, with Bridges being the better defender while Knox’s offensive game having a higher ceiling. The Knicks took defensive-first guard Frank Ntilikina eighth overall last year. If they opt to build a young, defensive core going forward, Bridges would be the ideal fit. However, Knox would allow for a more balanced roster.
Los Angeles Clippers, 12th or 13th Overall
L.A. has both Harris and Danilo Gallinari on contract for next season, with Gallinari having two seasons left on his deal. However, the wing position is fairly thin after that. Harris is one of the popular comps for Knox and Gallinari is close, too. They’d both be exceptional for Knox to play behind and and help him with his craft. There’s also the interesting possibility that the Clippers could take both Knox and Gilgeous-Alexander with their back-to-back lottery picks.
Denver Nuggets, 14th Overall
Like L.A., the Nuggets have little youth on the wing. Wilson Chandler is virtually their only small forward and in a conference with Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Paul George, Denver at least needs a player who has the potential to match them on the offensive end. Knox could be that player, as well a cornerstone for the future of their franchise at only 18 years old. Knox would join former Cats Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles, too.
Washington Wizards, 15th Overall
It’s highly unlikely Knox falls this far in the draft, so Washington would likely have to package this pick with another asset to trade up and select him. Washington has Otto Porter who signed a max contract last summer and Oubre who is on the books for two more seasons before he becomes a restricted free agent.
They could use depth at the guard and center position, so this selection is unlikely... unless former Wildcat Demarcus Cousins comes to the nation’s capital. It’s rumored that Washington is one of his desired landing spots and if they opted to pay him a well-deserved max-contract, they could sign-and-trade Porter to New Orleans.
While it would take some cooperation from the Pelicans, the scenario would look something like this.
The Clippers could lose DeAndre Jordan to free agency, leaving a rather giant hole in the middle of their defense. With point guard also being a must-now need, their two picks could be spent on other positions. It’d snag hundreds of headlines, but Boogie-to-Washington isn’t likely to happen.
However, Knox falling to Denver at 14 or the Nuggets trading up a few spots to select him seems inevitable. He fits the timeline of their roster as well as one of their most glaring needs.
In a high-powered offense, he’d instantly excel in what would be the best place for him.