Kevin Knox has taken a huge step back in his second season with the New York Knicks, but one of his former coaches remains confident that Knox can be an NBA star in the right circumstances. Such circumstances include the Knicks passing by coach Mike Miller.
Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne has a close relationship with Knox since Knox’s brief spell with the Wildcats. While Miller is in consideration for the New York full-time coaching concert, Payne feels that Knox could thrive under a new regime.
“No questions, I think a new staff will come in and be able to evaluate what the baby is and tell him what he needs to do,” Payne told Marc Berman of the New York Post on Tuesday. “It is starting with a clean slate. There are no prejudices about who he is. He can go out and feel comfortable and do things to help the team win. I think he will come back with a new and different fire. With a little adversity, you can achieve greatness. And it passed us. “
The Knicks took Knox with choice no. 9 in the 2018 NBA Draft and played a leading role in his beginner season. Knox started 57 games and averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds as a rookie, but didn’t continue that success under David Fizdale and Miller. Knox have averaged just 6.4 points and 2.8 rebounds playing 17.9 minutes per game this season. Payne attributes it to Knox for not getting enough support.
“He made people question his desire, question his toughness, question his defense, question his shot,” said Payne. “In my opinion, great players, good NBA players, it is not possible to shoot, defend, bounce. It’s about whether he’s safe and comfortable doing it, making him more comfortable. Bringing him into a more aggressive mindset to do it is more important. “
A new coach may not solve all of Knox’s problems, as Berman reports that the new Knicks president, Leon Rose, has not been completely sold to the 20-year-old. Berman was also told by sources after the season ended that Knicks’ coaches think Knox lacks endurance. However, Payne has a strong relationship with the Knicks’ GM GM Perry and the Kentucky assistant is confident that the Knicks believe in Knox.
John Calipari allegedly warned the Knicks that swapping Knox would be a bad idea. Calipari’s name is also mentioned in connection with the Knicks job, and this would obviously be a dream scenario for Knox.