The New York Knicks selected Kentucky forward Kevin Knox with the ninth-overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
It is the first draft pick of the Steve Mills and Scott Perry regime and it immediately fills a big-time need. After a failed experiment with putting Tim Hardaway Jr. at the 3, the Knicks will be looking at Knox to be a true replacement to Carmelo Anthony, who was traded shortly before the start of last season.
Knox had gained some serious momentum as a possible selection for the Knicks over the past few days. With others like Mikal Bridges and Michael Porter Jr. slated as favorites to be picked by New York, a strong workout left a lasting impression on the organization.
He put up solid numbers during his lone season at Kentucky, averaging 15.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, but his game still has a lot of developing to do, though not as much as Ntilikina when he was drafted last year.
John Calipari, Knox’s coach at Kentucky, helped build up his former player’s hype by comparing him to Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum to Newsday’s Al Iannazzone.
This is a player that looks to drive to the hoop first, though that could change if he continues to work and perfect his jumper from deep. He already has an excellent shot from mid-range and will look to catch and shoot when given the opportunity from inside the arc.
Among intangibles that could come back to bite the Knicks is his attitude. There have been some questions about his ability to stay engaged while on the floor, but it would be unfair to assume that it would translate to the NBA.
There is always pressure when drafted by a big-market team like New York, but there will be a little more heaped on the shoulders of Knox as he is now a poster child of the new direction that the organization is moving in. The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs in five seasons and are still looking for their first title since 1973.