Who should go pro? Kevin Knox


Kentucky freshman forward Kevin Knox watches a free throw during the game against Kansas State in the NCAA Sweet 16 on Friday, March 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. Kentucky was defeated 61-58. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Kevin Knox is the next gamble an NBA team should make after seeing the good morale someone like him has had on teams in the league. Fifteen years ago, a basketball player with his stature would’ve never made the League, but with the NBA evolving into being a league with players who can score many ways, a player like Knox will flourish.

NBA Comparison: Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo

Over the past ten years, the league has transitioned to small ball offenses and perimeter shooting and a SF that can score in many categories is something to value in the League. It is not a shock that Knox’s favorite player is Kevin Durant as he plays a similar style. Knox’s money making shot is not at the three-point line, it’s the 15-foot jumper. 

Knox’s potential can be symbolized by the 2017 NBA Finals MVP and a 2018 NBA MVP candidate as they all can score in multiple ways. From attacking the rim to shooting three-point shots and everything in between, Knox can see an example of what he needs to be in five or six years.

At Kentucky, Knox would always want to shoot outside the arc but it never went in. But as the season went on, Coach Cal implanted an offense to focus on his strengths. By the end of the year, the Cats started to force an offense that focused on moving without the ball to create space for an open shot. As the point guard would set everything up, the work of the offense happened around the baseline. 

So, when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would have the ball at top of the three-point line, Knox and company would be creating an open shot by allowing Knox to create space between his man and the basket as they used an off-ball screen while Knox ran the baseline. Every time the Cats would run this play, nine times out of ten it worked as Knox got his money shot working. 

Not only did that help the Cats down the stretch in the SEC and NCAA tournaments, but it showcased two skills that Knox has on the offensive side of the ball. He knows how to move without the ball in his hand but can shoot that mid-range jumper that is consistent on both the NCAA and NBA courts, unlike the three-point line that gets backed up in the NBA. 

Weakness: Defensive Driven

Over the last year, the Cats were weak defensively as they quit playing after having the offense break down. This weakness is typical for a young team, but Knox was sometimes the root of that problem. All year he tried to get going offensively before going on defense, settling down and playing. Coach Cal and the Cats have always had success with players who let defense dictate their offensive confidence and Knox is building that, but he is not there yet.

Kentucky saw great strides of Knox transitioning out of that mindset but it was always frustrating as they saw Knox stare three-point shooting down without his hands up and get the shot drilled in his face. Durant had the same problem for the longest time, but now NBA fans see him break down an offense and learn how to block shots with his length, something Knox would need to learn to be able to stay in the League. 

All in all, Kevin Knox will be a great gamble for certain teams in the NBA as they want to reflect the success the Bucks and Warriors have had with their “unicorn” type of players. As fans see Knox grow on the court, it will be a spectacle to see the improvement in the next five years, maybe possibly for a Louisville NBA team? Knox improved a lot throughout the year and he hasn’t shown stoppage of his growth into become an NBA all-star.