On the latest edition of The Putback with Ian Begley, former Phoneix Suns GM (2013-18) and Boston Celtics exec (2003-13) Ryan McDonough joined the show to talk all things Knicks with Begley and SNY’s Chris Williamson.
As the Knicks look to turn the corner under new head coach Tom Thibodeau, one of the more enigmatic roster pieces is Kevin Knox, whom the team selected ninth overall in 2018.
The real question is whether Knox, who has underperformed, can reach his full potential with the Knicks or if he’d be more valuable as a potential trade chip.
But according to McDonough, the issue there is that Knox’s value around the NBA has dropped since coming out of Kentucky.
“I think it’s down right now,” McDonough said of Knox’s value as a trade asset. “I think it was pretty high a few years ago coming out of the draft. People liked his length, they liked his athleticism. As you know, conceptually, he’s what teams want: a long, athletic wing who can shoot and score. However, he hasn’t done that efficiently.
At 6-foot-7 with the ability to shoot the three and defend the wing, Knox certainly has the potential to be a star in the NBA. But through two seasons, his production has not matched that potential. Knox has averaged 9.9 points while shooting 33.7 percent from three-point range, and both of those categories dipped down in 2019-20 (6.4 points on 32.7 percent three-point shooting), as did the forward’s playing time 17.9 minutes per game, compared to 28.8 minutes as a rookie).
McDonough explained that for Knox to take the next step, he needs to focus on two things: efficiency and strength training.
“I think the next step for Kevin would be becoming more efficient with his shooting and scoring, and then the strength and the physicality,” McDonough said. “I think it’s important for Knicks fans to keep in mind that this is still a very young player. As I look at his body, I think there’s still a ways to go there. I think he will fill out, but he has to, guys. He has to commit to strength training and nutrition.
“I wouldn’t write him off, but to answer your question more directly, I don’t think he has a ton of value around the league at the moment, just because he hasn’t proven to be efficient at a high level on an NBA court.”
Catch McDonough’s full interview on The Putback in the video above.