The Knicks Didn't Screw Up the Kevin Knox Pick

New York really needs their lottery picks to work out. The latest one is delivering.

Jan 4 2019, 2:15pm

Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

It’s still too early to make any firm declarations about Kevin Knox’s future. But for someone who won’t celebrate his 20th birthday until August, it’s impossible not to look at his production since David Fizdale made him a full-time starter on December 12th and not feel bullish.

Since, he’s averaging 37.6 minutes, 17.9 points, and 5.2 rebounds while making 38.1 percent of his threes (of which he launches many). The Knicks are bad and some of Knox’s overall inefficiency comes from being 19 with a flashing green light, but there are aspects of his game—particularly off the ball—that make it feel like whenever New York acquires a star (whoever it may be), Knox won’t have any problem finding ways to impact the game.

The quick-trigger three-ball is fun, as is enough size and length to eventually guard three positions with ease. But the most impressive part of Knox’s game so far might be how aggressively (and intelligently) he attacks closeouts. Watch below, where he doesn’t wait for the ball to hit his hands before he curves into the paint.

It’s an instruction smart teams (the Spurs and Jazz, most notably) give their wings in an effort to get a step past their defender. And here’s Knox showing enough confidence to take Paul Millsap off the bounce (something the four-time All-Star clearly didn’t expect) before an and-1 finish at the rim.

Knox still doesn’t know how to pass on the move and is only shooting 40 percent on drives since he entered the starting lineup. He ranks 471st out of 472 players in Real Plus-Minus. But the silhouette of a useful player is drawn. The Knicks needed to hit this pick and they didn’t screw it up! Good for them!