So this is what hope around the New York Knicks feels like. Even if it's just the exhibition Summer League slate ahead of what is sure to be a sixth-consecutive losing season.
But rookie small forward Kevin Knox, drafted ninth overall out of Kentucky, has stolen the show in Las Vegas as he's given Knicks fans a glimpse of just how high his ceiling could be.
Spoiler alert: We're still ascending with no ceiling in sight.
Through three games — a limited sample size that will always force even the most optimistic viewers to pump the brakes — Knox was ranked third in the Summer League with an average of 23.3 points per game, including a 29-point effort against the Los Angeles Lakers.
While he has regularly shown his athleticism and explosiveness near the rim with big air and emphatic dunks, Knox showed against LeBron James' new team that he can, in fact, shoot from deep. In what was his biggest knock during the pre-draft process, Knox hit 5-of-7 three-pointers against the Lakers.
Per NBC's Tommy Breer, Knox is the third rookie in the last 10 years to average over 22 points per game over his first three appearances. The other two were John Wall and Damian Lillard.
Naturally, this has the Knox bandwagon nice and crowded three months before he'll even see a regular-season game.
Here is what some big names around the industry are saying about him:
Watched Kevin Knox light it up again 2day, this time in person. 2 things stuck out: he is incredibly smooth and his feel for the game is highly advanced (3rd-youngest player in class). Talk around arena among NBA folks was clear: Knox is freaky... #Knicks got an absolute stud— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 11, 2018
Congrats to Knicks fans on Kevin Knox - I try hard not to overreact to Summer League, but it’s clear he’s an ideal 2-way wing for whatever the NBA is now. Very polished for his age already.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) July 7, 2018
Yo!! @KevKnox is nice 👀— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) July 7, 2018
Kevin Knox is basically Giannis with shades of Paul George and LeBron but with a tinge of Anthony Davis also. https://t.co/1CBGNAjJm8— Dan Favale (@danfavale) July 7, 2018
Knox looks like the right pick. Culture is everything from here on out.— Charles Oakley (@CharlesOakley34) July 7, 2018
Kevin Knox has looked terrific in summer league. Not bad for an 18-year-old who was drafted because of his long-term potential. The fact that he's doing this NOW is pretty amazing. It's going to be a lot of fun watching him develop.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 11, 2018
You're going to think this is a ridiculous question, but if NBA could re-draft after less then a month, would Kevin Knox go higher than No. 9? I say definitely. He's 18.— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) July 11, 2018
I can feel Knicks fans absolutely beaming while reading this.