It’s no secret that former Kentucky forward Kevin Knox struggled during his rookie year with the New York Knicks.
He shot 37 percent from the field and his 43.9 effective field goal percentage ranked in the 12th percentile among all NBA forwards last season, according to Cleaning the Glass. He averaged more turnovers per game than assists while posting a usage rate over 20 percent.
Heading into his second NBA Summer league, Knox is already feeling better about his sophomore campaign.
“I just feel so much more comfortable on the court now,’’ Knox told Marc Berman of the NY Post. “I have a little bit more head on my shoulders. I feel a lot more stronger, much more confident and more of a leader, so I can help some of the other guys out.”
Knox will be considered a “veteran” when his Knicks Summer League team suits up for the first time Friday night against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans. As a second-year player with more NBA experience than anyone on this Knicks SL roster, Knox is the leader. Even next to No. 3 overall pick RJ Barrett, Knox has to prove he’s clearly too good for the Summer League.
Remember, Knox averaged over 21 points per game during the Summer League last year. He’ll be one of the few players – no matter the team – who is expected to dominate the opponent.
“I learned a lot my rookie season — the pace of the game,’’ Knox said. “Playing at the right pace, not 100 miles an hour. Something to take into next season.”
Knox was not an efficient playmaker last season – something he has acknowledged – but wants to use the summer to show how versatile he can be with the ball in his hands.
“I just want to be a better passer in summer league and in the season. I’m going to try to be more aggressive in getting my teammates open shots,” Knox said.
Even though the Knicks struck out on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they have still managed to at least somewhat build a competent roster – including the addition of Julius Randle. Next year’s Knicks team will undoubtedly be better than the 17-win pile of vomit from the season prior. Headlining them will be Barrett, but Knox is expected to be the Robin to Barrett’s Batman.
Knox and the Knicks will play their first Summer League game Friday night at 9:30 pm against the New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas on ESPN.