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Kenny Payne still believes in Kevin Knox

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Can the 20-year-old still develop into the NBA star everyone hoped he could be?

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

People have already given up on Kevin Knox as a potential star in the NBA. It’s tough to see, because the second-year prospect is still just a mere 20 years old.

The former Wildcat has a solid rookie campaign, averaging 12.8 points per game in the 2018-2019 season. Drafted by Knicks, Knox was selected with the ninth overall pick and was in the same draft class as Luka Doncic and Trae Young.

While he’s had terrific performances in the summer league, one aspect of Knox’s game separates him and the next level. That missing attribute is efficiency. Knox has proven that he can score, and although he hit a sophomore slump, he was still nearing seven points per game.

However, in both seasons, he’s shot under 38% from the field. That’s unacceptable for any player.

That said, don’t tell Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne that his former player’s career is all but over, because he isn’t buying it.

“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. 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,” Payne told the New York Post.

Again, Knox is young, but the NBA is a league that doesn’t oftentimes give second chances. Knox will be on his second or third chance next season, and he’ll soon learn need to perform well for that first non-rookie contract.

With so much room to grow and a wingspan and athletic ability to back up his hype, Knox still has the makings of a star, but he needs someone to help him get there.