There’s been so much buzz around the league for the rookie of the year favorite, Luka Doncic. And rightfully so. However, there have been a handful of rookies from this past draft class who are playing at a high level that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
There is a certain Kentucky product who went number nine overall in this past NBA draft who started slow, but is looking to build off of a fantastic December; one that earned him Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors.
That somebody is Kevin Knox. Knox came out of Kentucky after just one season, where he averaged over 15 points per night with a shooting line of 45/34/77 in 37 games played. While the overall numbers appear to be impressive from the eye-test, there were a handful of questions around whether or not Knox’s talent would translate well to the NBA game. The Stepien said that, while all of the winger’s shooting stats should invoke optimism, he was still “far from a sure thing as a jump shooter” coming out of college.
These are problems that Knox still faces at the NBA level in his first 32 games. His three-point percentage has improved from a hair over 34% in college, to 36% in the NBA –– but that’s come with a cost, as his field goal percentage as a whole has dropped from about 45%, down to 37.6%.
But struggles are to be expected from someone who is new to professional basketball, which is why the successes of Luka Doncic in Dallas shouldn’t come as much of a surprise –– since he was playing professionally in Europe at 16 and won the MVP of the league before getting drafted.
But looking at the December he had, there’s no wonder why Knicks fans are buzzing about the potential. Averaging 17 points, while shooting just shy of 38% from three-point range –– including two games where he scored a career-high 26 points.
He’s continued showing some promise into January, as he’s scored in double figures three times in four games, including 18 points on 7-16 shooting on New Years Day against the Nuggets in the Pepsi Center. This should certainly excite the Knicks fanbase, who already rave about Alonzo Trier and the promise of Frank Ntilikina.
Everyone knew about the athleticism of Knox coming out of college, and he hasn’t been a disappointment in that regard. The questions were coming with his jump shot, which he has lately looked a lot better on. He’s still a work in progress at developing consistency in the NBA, but there’s no telling how good the 19-year-old can be when he has a player of Kristaps Porzingis to help him along once he comes back.