LOS ANGELES – Fears of the season will come true with Kevin Knox, Knicks' lottery choice for 2018.
The addition of a wave of free agent veterans has shortened Knox's playing time, reduced his growth, and ultimately reduced his confidence. Knox has lost his mojo.
The Knicks visit Los Angeles for two games – Sunday against Kawhi Leonard-less Clippers and Tuesday against LeBron James & # 39; Lake Show. You will need additional firepower to fight the La La Land power packs, and it is unlikely to come from Knox's fingertips.
Knox & # 39; second year in a season where he was as quiet as a mouse, hit rock bottom in Phoenix on Friday when the Knicks (10-25) were beaten 120-112.
With a push from ex-coach David Fizdale, the Knicks Knox designed No. 9 against Villanova's defensive specialist Mikal Bridges, who received the "Dan Majerle Hustle Award" as Suns newcomer.
In just 12:13 of Friday's season, Knox, who was defended by Bridges, was 1: 2 with three points and four rebounds.
With the Swingman Reggie Bullock (he played 18:33 in Phoenix) Knox may become even more invisible.
The former Kentucky striker appears to have resigned himself to not being a goal scorer this season.
Veterans like Marcus Morris and Julius Randle are now leading the team. Morris was the first little striker from day 1, but has a one-year contract.
The Knicks did not design Knox as a role player. They distinguished him as a star. Despite a roller coaster rookie year, he showed brilliant flashes. He's been thinking more this season.
"I don't think it has anything to do with it," Knox said when he was downgraded to reserve status. “The bank is very important for our team that provides energy. I try to be that – a good defender, a good rebound who plays with the energy to make my team spark. Offensive will come and I am not trying to speed it up. The most important thing for me is to give energy, steal, block and win in the defensive game. "
Some scouts believe the Knicks should clear out some veterans by February 7 to give some breathing space to players like Knox and Allonzo Trier.
Knox, who was put on a bench by Fizdale a few times before being released, plays 19 minutes per game and scores an average of 7.7 points on shooting at 38.4 percent.
In fact, the last three Knicks lottery choices – RJ Barrett, Knox and Frank Ntilikina – each shoot 38 percent.
The trio was glued to the bank in Phoenix in the fourth quarter. It was another shotmaking clunker for Barrett (3-of-10, 1-of-6 at 3-pointers).
If you judge Friday who has a better future between the two franchises, the suns would get the nod. They were supported by the young superstar Devin Booker (38 points) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (29 points).
Ironically, Knox had been compared to Booker, also a Kentucky one-and-all player, mostly because they were both 18 when they moved in.
Last season Knox was part of the Rising Stars Challenge on the All Star weekend. This honor will not come this season.
Interim trainer Mike Miller pointed out that Knox is in an experimental phase in which he is trying to expand his offensive repertoire. Knox, however, looks a little lost when he finds out his moments.
"We encouraged him to be more versatile," said Miller. "He shoots the ball well, but we want him to do the other things. It is more versatile now. He cuts more, he plays out the dribble. He shoots the ball with a little runner and swimmer. Pull-ups. More about the basket. His skill pack stipulates that he can do more than just catch and shoot things. "
Knox claims to be everything, even if it takes a step back to take two steps forward.
"I want to be able to score on all three levels and not just be a 3-point shooter," said Knox. "I can score when I get to the rack. I have to keep working on getting to my spots so that I don't just hover on the 3-point line. [Miller] always tells me to be aggressive and make sure I get to the basket. I am a good shooter, but I don't want this to be my whole game. "
Last season, Knox was number 1 after the blockbuster by Kristaps Porzingis at the end of January. While Mitchell Robinson enjoys getting off the bench to get a good groove, Knox is on the offensive.
"It's a ball, but everyone gets shots," Knox said. "Everyone gets their shots and enjoys the offensive. It's a ball, but there is a lot to do."