Knicks Rumors: Leon Rose ‘Not Sold’ on Kevin Knox; Former Coach Comments

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11: Kevin Knox II #20 of the New York Knicks drives to the basket against the Atlanta Hawks on March 11, 2020 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

New York Knicks president Leon Rose will be tasked with a bevy of important decisions in his first year on the job, and that includes picking a new head coach, choosing the team’s three draft selections (one in the lottery) and reshaping a team that missed the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

That roster includes 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox, and word is that Rose “is not sold” on the forward heading into the offseason, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Rose “desperately wanted” to see Knox play the season’s final 16 games, but the Knicks’ season is now over because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused the league’s suspension of play since March 11.

The Knicks selected Knox with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 draft. The ex-Kentucky forward showed promise during his rookie year en route to averaging 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

The 20-year-old started for the majority of the season and registered several excellent single-game performances that included 31 points versus the Philadelphia 76ers and a 26-point, 15-rebound effort against the Chicago Bulls.

Knox’s playing time dipped significantly in year two, however, as the frontcourt became far more crowded when the team added Taj Gibson, Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Marcus Morris via free agency.

The 6’7″, 215-pound Phoenix native averaged just 6.4 points on 35.9 percent shooting (32.7 percent from three-point range) along with 2.8 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game. He also struggled from the free throw line, making 65.3 percent of his attempts.

David Fizdale’s midseason firing in favor of interim head coach Mike Miller didn’t lead to more playing time as Knox largely sat on the bench after the new regime took over 22 games into the season.

It was an undoubtedly disappointing campaign for Knox, and his 36.7 career field-goal percentage is cause for concern.

However, Knox seemed to flourish with more playing time, and perhaps all he needs is more opportunities to showcase his talents and prove why he was worth a top-10 overall draft selection.

Kentucky assistant basketball coach Kenny Payne, who coached Knox in Lexington, told Berman that he just needs a fresh start with a new leader:

“No question, I think a new staff comes in and can evaluate what the kid is and tell him what he needs him to do.

“He’s starting with a clean slate. There’s no prejudging of who he is. He can go out and feel comfortable and do the things to help the team win. I think he’s coming back with a new and different fire. With a little adversity, you can attain greatness. And he’s been through it.”

Knox and the Knicks’ season is over after the team went 21-45 before the league suspended play. The NBA season is continuing in Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, but the Knicks are one of eight teams not invited because they were too far away from the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Read More