This year, it will almost certainly be Kevin Knox hearing his name called within the first 14 picks of the 2018 NBA Draft. In the midst of a standout freshman season, Knox is set to keep UK’s streak of lottery picks going.
Every year since John Calipari arrived in Lexington, UK has had a player drafted in the top 10, and it appears Knox could keep that streak going this year. If nothing else, he’ll keep the lottery streak going, which is the first 14 selections.
Over at Bleacher Report, draft expert Jonathan Wasserman broke down the top 10 prospects in this year’s draft. When it came to Knox, Wasserman had some interesting numbers on the freshman forward from Tampa.
Knox did well in the scoring department, which is really what’s made him a top-10 prospect this year.
Key stats: 86th percentile on runners
Kevin Knox has emerged as Kentucky’s top scoring threat (15.6 points per game), despite being just 4-of-17 out of isolation all season. Creating his own shot isn’t a strength, but he finds ways to score off the ball and in transition (21.1 percent of his offense). On spot-ups (34.4 percent of offense), he’s flashed a pull-up and runner game (combined 15-of-29). And he’s making 48.6 percent of his shots coming off screens.
But what’s keeping Knox from being a higher-rated prospect is his lack of rebounding and defense. As Wasserman points out, Knox is pulling in just 6.7 rebounds per 40 minutes. For someone that’s going to be a forward in the NBA, that’s not cutting it.
To be fair, part of that is due to Jarred Vanderbilt rebounding the ball at an insane rate, which is keeping Knox from getting more chances to pull in more boards.
What’s also hurting Knox is UK hasn’t played him as a traditional forward at times, opting instead to use him as more of a shooting guard/wing who’s out on the perimeter a lot. That also hurts his chances for more rebounds, but still, this is an area Knox needs to make big improvements in to make it in the pros.