Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Kevin Knox has worked on his strength, efficiency and passing, among other things, so far in the offseason. And he's eager to get on the court in Summer League following a few weeks of training.
"I just feel so much more comfortable on the court now. I just feel stronger, have a (better) head on my shoulders," Knox said of playing in Summer League after going through his first NBA season. "Just having a year underneath my belt, I can watch a lot of film of what I need to work on and what I need to get better at. I just feel a lot stronger, a lot better on the court, a lot more confident, and more of a leader so I'll be able to talk and help the other guys out."
Knox, 20, said he's spent time in the weight room to add strength to his frame. The 6-foot-9 forward weighed 215 pounds at the start of last season.
"I've been in the weight room," he said.
As far as what else he's worked on, Knox said, "Just my ball handling, just being more efficient around the floor. Just finding my open teammates more, that will help me get my shot off even easier…. I've been working hard all summer so I'm ready to show other people what I've been working on."
Knox wasn't named to either of the two All-Rookie teams, but said he'll use that as motivation in Summer League -- which kicks off Friday against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans -- and in his second NBA season.
"Of course I deserved to make it," Knox said. "I don't want to get into no details, but that definitely was motivation. I worked hard a lot this summer. That put more of a chip on my shoulder for me to work hard this summer, just go out and compete hard in every single rep in my workouts and just get a lot better. It definitely was motivation. I used it for summer, and I'll keep using it for next year because this team -- we have a lot of young guys with a chip on our shoulder so it will help us out a lot."
Knox will likely spend a lot of time on the court this season with R.J. Barrett, the Knicks' No. 3 overall pick.
"He's a very aggressive player. Very strong player. He's a really good passer. I can help him get some shots, he can help me get some shots. We've just got to keep working together so we can keep getting the chemistry ready for the season," Knox said.
Asked how he'd fit with Barrett, Knox added, "We're both very good players. He's a very aggressive player. Like I said earlier, he's a very underrated passer. He makes the right pass. He tries to find the open teammate. He fills in transition. That's something that this young team is going to do really well this season. We've got some young legs, get up and down, get some lobs, get some dunks. We're both very athletic. So I think just the chemistry throughout these practices and Summer League. Playing a couple games in summer league and go from there. Build the chemistry and get back to work (later) in the summer."
Knox averaged 12.8 points on 37 percent shooting as a 19-year-old rookie, experiencing the ups and downs that are normal for players his age. One of the lessons he learned last season is to differentiate the pace at which he plays.
"Not playing at a 100 miles per hour (all the time)," Knox said. "Everyone in the league does a really good job with changing pace so that's something I learned in my rookie season and I'll take into next season."
The Knicks didn't land Kevin Durant or other stars in free agency, so the development of their young players will be pivotal for the team to make a push forward.
If Knox, Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Allonzo Trier, and others can take a step forward in the coming season, the Knicks could have an attractive young core to entice free agents or disgruntled stars seeking a trade to come to New York.
After missing out on their top targets, the Knicks have also added Julius Randle, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson thus far in free agency.