Together, the Knicks are paying Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, and Maurice Harkless 28 million dollars a year to average a collective 18 points per game. You know who else makes around that much money? The likes of Devin Booker (27.2m), Joel Embiid (27.5m), and DAMIAN LILLARD (29.8m). These players average 26.6, 23, and 30 points per game, respectively. Dame and JoJo are leading their teams in the playoffs, and Booker routinely goes off for 40 or more points. It is an understatement to call the Knicks roster construction bad. Their decision making and long-term planning has been utterly abysmal. Since failing to sign Kevin Durant last offseason things have only gone downhill. The cap space The Knicks had allocated to sign KD was spent on Julius Randle (3 Years, 56.7m), Bobby Portis (2 Years, 30.75m), Taj Gibson (2 Years, 18.5m), and Wayne Ellington (2 Years, 16m), among others. If you find any of these signings exciting, or even worthwhile, you may be alone on that island. With all of that said, there are a few things Knic
ks fans can at least be cautiously optimistic about — and one of them involves sophomore forward Kevin Knox.
Kevin Devon Knox II (yup, Kevin Devon), one of the few chips stubborn Knicks fans still hold on to, has had a rough NBA career thus far. After averaging a respectable 28.8 minutes and middling 12.8 points
per game in his rookie campaign, Knox’s performance took a nose dive in the 2019-2020 season. This year he averaged 6.4 points in 17.9 minutes per game. Numbers like that don’t add much to a bad team, let alone one that’s fighting to make the playoffs. It’s worth asking: Why did Knox take such a step back? A number of factors likely contributed to his decline, but a s
low start to his Sophomore season may be key to understanding why Knox has had such a sharp decline in performance. In the first 25 games of this season, Knox averaged 7.2 points on 6.6 field goal attempts per game, with only 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Needless to say, by January 2020 Kevin Knox fans had abandoned ship. However, there may be a silver lining for Knox.
In high school, he averaged 3
0.1 points and 11.2 rebounds, was a 5-Star Recruit going into college, and ranked within the top 10 on most scouting boards. He went on to play for Kentucky, where he led the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game in 2017-2018. The Wildcats were defeated in the Sweet Sixteen of 2018’s NCAA Tournament, but two weeks later Knox declared for the 2018 NBA Draft and
ended up being picked 9th by the Knicks. My point is: Knox had potential coming into the league, and still may have something left in the tank. After all, he did just turn 21, and there aren’t many guys without names like James, Bryant or Garnett who knew what they were doing so young. And to be real, Knox doesn’t need to be the next Lebron to be successful. I know a lot of Knicks fans who’d settle for another Larry Johnson. With the right coach, or even a point guard who knows where he likes the ball, Kevin Knox could reignite the spark we saw from him during his Pre-NBA career. For the few Knicks fans I haven’t lost yet, I’ve got some great news.
On August 11th, the Knicks made a smart decision by hiring two time NCAA Champion — once as a player, once as a coach — Kenny
Payne to be one of their assistant coaches. As rare as this is to say about the Knicks, it’s true. Kentucky fans get it, but for those who don’t know: Kenny Payne was an assistant coach with the Wildcats for ten years before coming to NYC, and helped coach Kevin Knox during his one-and-done college season. Playing under the right coach can m
ake or break an NBA career, and a countless number of players have never reached their full potential due to poor coaching. We know Knox can be successful working with Kenny Payne — he proved that at Kentucky. What we don’t know is: Can Payne influence the Knicks system to an extent that allows Knox to thrive like he did in college? We’ll have to wait and see, but this writer is optimistic.