GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Kevin Knox was booed at Barclays Center by the same young man who booed Kristaps Porzingis three years ago at the NBA Draft.
Some Knicks fans chanted "We want Porter" for embattled Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. And that only served to motivate Knox -- the same way it propelled Porzingis toward a sensational rookie season in New York when he averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds.
"That's just motivation," the 6-foot-9 Knox said. "A lot of people want [Porter] to get to the Knicks, but I mean, it's all good with me. I'm ready to get to work. I'm ready to get to work and ready to prove people in Summer League and prove people in the NBA.
"They booed Porzingis [on draft night] and look where he is now. That's the same mindset I'm going to have. They can chant Michael Porter all they want. But they got Kevin Knox, and I'm willing to work and I'm willing to get better.
There were concerns over Porter Jr.'s health because of back and hip issues that limited him during his freshman season at Missouri and prevented him from working out for any NBA teams. He ended up at No. 14 to the Denver Nuggets. Porter Jr. said he felt bad for Knox while the boos were raining down.
"Honestly, I was feeling bad for if it wasn't me, the kid that did get drafted in New York," he said. "That's my guy, and I'm happy for him. When a kid gets drafted, I'm looking at them and I'm feeling joy, too, because their dreams are coming true, too. Honestly, I was going to be happy that they accepted me. But if it wasn't me, I mean, I'm a little sad for the dude that got drafted there. But I was glad they clapped, and I'm happy for Kevin."
Knicks' executives Steve Mills and Scott Perry said they did their "due diligence" on all potential picks, including Porter Jr. and Villanova's Mikal Bridges, but opted to go with young talent in Knox.
"There's a lot of talented young people in this Draft," Perry said. "So yeah I think both of those young men have chances to be very good players in the league but we just thought that Kevin separated himself for us in terms of where we want to go, how we want to play, where the league is trending. We're just really excited about getting him here."
So Knox, like Porzingis, comes to New York with fans booing him and with a chip on his shoulder.
Knicks fans need to hope his future pans out like the Unicorn's.
"I'm going to go in with the mindset that I'm going to compete every day and work hard to have a starting spot," Knox said. "But nothing is guaranteed, especially in the NBA. [Coach David] Fizdale is going to let me fight for the position, fight for the spot. I know I'm going to have to earn it, but I'm willing to work. Nothing is guaranteed. The goal is to start, and I'm going to compete for that starting spot."
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