The Kevin Knox era is in full swing for the New York Knicks. The ninth overall pick in the 2018 draft has made his way into the Knicks starting lineup, head coach David Fizdale ought to keep him there to finish out the season.
Fizdale has officially freed Knox, allowing him to experience the highs and lows that come with starting in the NBA. The growing pains of playing big minutes is a necessary component to Knox’s future development.
Indeed, Knox’s play as a starter has been up and down. In his seven starts, Knox is logging 31.6 minutes per game and averaging 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. His shooting numbers as a starter are higher across the board than when he comes off of the bench.
In those seven games, Knox’s has shot 39.4 percent from the field compared to 35.3 percent off the bench. Likewise, his three point percentage is up to 36.4 percent when starting, up from his 34.8 percent clip as a reserve. Knox’s offensive rating has jumped from 92 to 98, but his defensive rating has dropped from 115 to 121.
A glance at the box score, therefor, can be a bit concerning. But Knox’s overall confidence and attitude on the court has improved immensely since moving to the starting line up. Coming off the bench, Knox did a lot of second-guessing himself, and was hesitant with his play. That approach has changed to a score-first, aggressive mindset, and that’s exactly what Fizdale wanted to see.
In a recent loss to the Hornets – and what should be his final game coming off the bench – Knox became the first Knicks rookie since Patrick Ewing to have at least 25 points and 15 rebounds in a night. Perhaps more impressively, Knox joined LeBron James as the second teenager to post a stat line with those numbers.
Yes, it should be noted it took Knox 25 shots to get his 26 points, but his shot selection was fantastic all night. Knox is a high-volume scorer, and he’s shown both an ability to get to the rim while also being a knock down shooter. That’s the most important aspect of his game, especially at this point especially at his age.
Fizdale should encourage Knox to keep letting his shots fly. This season is all about development for the Knicks anyways. The more aggressive is play is, the better player Knox will become in the future.
Knox has the ability to be a long-term asset on the wing for the Knicks for years to come. Fizdale needs to keep him as the starter for the rest of the season to allow Knox to fight through growing pains and the rookie gets the necessary reps to develop his game to his full potential.