When the Rising Stars Challenge rosters were announced Tuedsay night, no Knicks were listed -- not even the team's first-round pick Kevin Knox.
He may have had a rough start to his rookie campaign, but Knox has picked up the pace lately. He is averaging 12.2 points and 4.2 rebounds, which both sit seventh among rookies so far this season. However, those numbers clearly aren't enough for him to make the U.S. Team.
Knox, though, hasn't taken any offense to the snub. He may have wanted to showcase his talents in the game, but he is using the omission as motivation moving forward.
"It's definitely some motivation for myself," Knox told reporters before the Knicks' matchup against the Mavericks at The Garden on Wednesday night. "I mean, my parents want me to look at it as just another chance for me to go out there, compete, get better, grow, and just learn more as a person so I can be able to make it to the real All-Star game. That's the ultimate goal."
Last season, Frank Ntilikina represented the Knicks for the World Team, but he wasn't invited back this season. Head coach David Fizdale believed Knox had the best chance out of the group of youngsters that also includes Mitchell Robinson and Allonzo Trier.
But Fizdale reiterated the fact that it will add drive Knox to step up his game even more than he has since the beginning of the year.
"They work really hard just like the rest of these kids that did make it," Fizdale said. "I really out of all of them I thought Kevin really really had a shot. But he didn't get it and that's fine. That just gives him more of something to go after and drive after and to challenge him more."
After jumping up from 7.1 points per game in November to 17.1 in December, Knox fell back down to Earth this month with 12.7 points. However, this double-digit scoring is what the Knicks expect from Knox, who they hope will be a cornerstone for the organization for years to come.
So, even though he may not be able to represent the franchise during All-Star Weekend, Knox will continue to work on his game with a new chip on his shoulder. And hopefully that will lead to some All-Star nods down the road.