While the NBA is looking to finish its 2019-20 season somehow, the Knicks and new team president Leon Rose are already looking toward the NBA Draft and evaluating their current roster. And among that evaluation should be what to do with 2018 first-rounder Kevin Knox.
Knox had a slow start coming out of Kentucky in his rookie season, but many believed he'd make a jump forward in year two. But when that didn't happen after posting 6.4 points per game over 65 games, the question became whether or not the Knicks should pull the plug on Knox.
So, with that over Knox' head, SNY's Ian Begley believes this is a make-or-break year for the 6-foot-7 forward if he wants to stay in New York.
"Sometimes in the NBA, the front office that drafts you is fully invested in you," Begley said. "They're really unwilling to move on from you, but a new front office often times doesn't take the same attitude with the draft picks of a previous regime. They're more willing to move on from those players if they don't see them as the right fit for their program.
"That's one reason why I think this 2020-21 campaign, whenever it starts, is a big one for Knox."
As Begley points out, Knox' fourth-year option must be decided on early next season, so his evaluation will be a priority for Rose. What will he see on tape?
"I think the Knicks liked some of the things they saw from Knox defensively last season," Begley explained. "I think they saw him start to do the little things on defense more consistently, play with more effort. But obviously the offense wasn't there consistently."
Knox was drafted ninth overall by the Knicks in 2018 because of his solid play both shooting and getting to the rim. However, that jumper that looked so fluid with the Wildcats hasn't been as consistent.
Knox is shooting just 36.7 percent so far with a 33.7 percentage from beyond the arc. Those numbers definitely need to change if New York is to continue investing time in developing him.
If he can prove that to be the case next season, Knox will likely save his role on this Knicks roster. But if he doesn't do that, Rose, who didn't draft him, shouldn't have a problem moving on and finding someone else to take his role.
"As long as he starts to show more consistency on offense, starts to knock down that perimeter shot with more consistency, and continues to improve on defense, there's going to be no reason for the Knicks to start to think about pulling the plug on Knox in New York. If he doesn't show that consistency and progression, I wonder if they'll start to think differently."