Kevin Knox is one of the coolest, low-profile guys John Calipari has ever coached at Kentucky. After just one season, Knox was selected ninth overall in last week’s NBA Draft by the New York Knicks.
Rupp Arena is the sanctuary of college basketball, but Madison Square Garden is the king of all NBA arenas.
Under the bright lights and in front of fans that booed his selection on draft night, Knox will be expected to come in and immediately deliver.
Here are three reasons why he’s built exactly for that.
The NBA has given off the impression that guards have taken over the league and big men have become dinosaurs.
That’s not necessarily the case when it comes to winning teams. For example, the last eight players to win NBA Finals MVP have been a wing or a big.
While there are plenty of flashy, fast-paced guards around the league, the typically stronger and just as skilled wings win in the postseason.
Knox stands 6’9 and can play like a shooting guard. By pure judgement of his play style and intangibles, he measures up for what a Finals MVP has looked like the last eight seasons.
The former Wildcat should step right in and fill a much-needed scoring role on the wing. While the Knicks have many other roster improvements that need to be made, the wing position should be solidified for years to come.
Knox enters the Association at just 18 years of age. He was one of the youngest players in the draft and has roughly a decade until he hits his prime.
You can’t teach size and talent, and that’s what Knox has. Areas he needs to improve on, like defense and ball-handling, are some of the easiest to fix.
Add in that the Knicks are expected to rebuild for the next few seasons and Knox should be the cornerstone of a potentially talented young team.
New York Wildcats
By landing in New York, Knox now has a chance to player with former Wildcat Enes Kanter, who is coming off a big season with the Knicks. The thought of Knox and Kanter together is a very exciting prospect for Kentucky fans.
The only concern here is that Kanter could opt out of his contract and become a free agent this offseason, but either way, the Knicks want to keep him in New York. It would be great to see Kanter and Knox playing alongside each other for the foreseeable future.
Lack of Wing Depth
The Knicks have many holes, but before the draft, wing was probably their most vacant.
They signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a ludicrous contract last summer but after him, the roster is pretty bare. This should Catapult Knox in the offense’s second option behind young star Kristaps Porzingis. He handled the scoring load well at Kentucky and his transition to the Knicks should come smooth.
The Knicks have undoubtedly the worst owner in sports but behind a fine coach in David Fizdale and a highly-talented 1-2 punch of Porzingis and Knox, they should be very interesting to watch. Add in some roster changes along with a few more quality draft picks and the Knicks could become relevant for the first time in 20 years.