In an industry like the National Basketball Association, losing is never something to be welcomed by a team and its culture. No one wants to lose, especially when they’ve reached the pinnacle of sports that is the NBA.
Several teams have coped with losing for a very long time, and more often than not, it has earned them a chance to draft high-quality prospects in the lottery, giving them a greater chance to succeed in future seasons, i.e., the Philadelphia 76ers. Unfortunately for me, as a native New Yorker and fan of the New York Knicks, they too have fallen short over the years dating back to the 2012-13 season.
Having seen them lose so often, it’s almost second nature to expect defeat when the Knicks take the court. Players like Kristaps Porzingis are what keep the faith alive, and now there is even more reason to believe the Knicks are heading toward a revival in the coming years. This comes in the form of Kevin Knox who, at the spry age of 19 years and 120 days, has had a sudden emergence over the Knicks’ last five games.
A tight victory over the Bucks
In the presence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Knox was able to score 26 points on a slash line of .450/.417/.600. Of course, his free throw shooting left more to be desired, but his efficiency elsewhere kept the Knicks alive down to the final buzzer. Knox filled out the rest of the box with four rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal, respectively.
It took Knox 20 shots to reach this mark, 12 of which came from beyond the arc. This raises an excellent talking point about his offensive repertoire, but we’ll discuss that further in the coming segment.
Loss to the Hornets, win for Knox
For much of the season, outside of his ankle injury, Knox’s playing time has fluctuated, oftentimes keeping him off the court for entire quarters. Not only did Knox tie his career-high scoring mark at 26 against the Hornets, he collected a career-high 15 rebounds in a career-high 41 minutes on the court.
It was an impressive night for Knox, despite the Knicks losing by 12. He started the game a bit shaky, particularly where he hurled up a few sloppy layup attempts before finally drawing a foul that sent him to the line. Yet, he persevered and adapted to the circumstances. While he took 25 shots, again highlighting the issue with his shot selection, he carried a slash line of .400/.500/1.000 for the night, with his 3-point percentage one of the outlying bright spots. Knox attempted eight shots from beyond the arc, and his stroke looked as smooth as ever.
Perhaps the biggest flaw in Knox’s style of play, though, is that he doesn’t exploit defensive matchups as much as he could. With his size and frame, Knox has the rare advantage of being quicker and stronger than most players who may guard him. He doesn’t assert himself much, which often leads to rushed layups and poorly judged 3-point shots.
This is what playing time will help teach Knox, so long as he’s allotted a good amount of minutes.
Per Knicks PR, Knox joined LeBron James as the second player to score 25 points and pull down 15 rebounds in a game as a teenager. Regardless of the outcome of the game, it never hurts to be mentioned in the same sentence as James.
Simply a positive glimpse
It is never an encouraging sign when the Knicks lose, however, moments like these are what provide a beacon of hope for the future to come. It’s not necessarily okay to accept losing, because it ruins the culture the team tries to stand for, but if at the very least New York fans get to witness the budding greatness of the organization’s draft choices, so be it.
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