However, it’s most likely that the young star will be playing on NBA hardwood as opposed to Rupp Arena’s. With that said, here are some reasons why leaving Kentucky for the NBA makes perfect sense.
This is by far the most obvious reason for Knox to go now. Right now, he’s effectively got a multi-million dollar contract in his hands. Even if he gets drafted later than expected, Knox will still be drafted high enough to get a contract that lands him millions of dollars within the next year.
But if Knox returns to college and suffers a major injury, that contract cold crumble right before his eyes.
That’s always one of the biggest risks of returning to school.
Knox’s teammate, Hamidou Diallo, was regarded as a sure first-round pick last season. However, he was projected to go late in the first round to one of the worst organizations in the league and decided to return for to school.
Diallo had a rough sophomore campaign and is now projected, if he leaves, to go in the second round. It’s a big swing for Diallo and one he would likely do over if he could go back and leave last summer.
For Knox, it’s something that has to be in the back of his mind as his decision approaches. Should he leave now, where he’s a sure-fire lottery pick, or come back to school to improve his draft stock and risk it falling instead?
Immediate Playing Time
This isn’t a point that most would consider, but Knox’s camp certainly should take note of it. Knox is projected to go in the 11-15 range of the lottery. The teams that will likely pick there (in order) are the Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Clippers (again) and the Phoenix Suns.
Four of the five teams are fairly weak at the forward position and could really use a scoring boost on the wing. The only exception to that list is Phoenix who just invested three top-10 picks in the last two drafts in wing players.
Also, the Clippers currently have the 12th and 14th pick. Knox and Shai-Gilgeous Alexander have a substantial amount of chemistry already and both fit the team’s needs. If Knox were to turn pro, that would be a comfortable situation for him in his early NBA years.
Imagine hearing your name on talk shows and reading your name in mock drafts and thinking ‘I’m just two months away from making guaranteed millions.’ That’s the situation Knox is in right now. Sure, school is a healthy environment and Kentucky would likely be the favorites to take down next year’s title if Knox returns. But if I were in his shoes, I’d be crazy to gamble away guaranteed millions.
It certainly makes a lot of sense for Knox to return for another year. His defense is almost non-existent and his ball handling/playmaking needs improvement. But he’s also NBA-ready. He can score from anywhere on the floor and at 6’9, being able to shoot and overpower smaller wings is a talent he can feature immediately in the association.
Knox’s decision is expected sometime today. For the latest updates, check back with ASeaOfBlue.com.