The modern NBA is all about versatility, and that’s a big reason why there’s a lot of buzz about Kevin Knox. It’s easy to envision Knox playing both as a stretch four and a traditional wing, given his size and solid all-around skill set.
In his one year at Kentucky, Knox averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, playing 32.4 minutes per contest. He doesn’t turn 19 years old until Aug. 11, and his game still has plenty of room to grow. Knox doesn’t look like he’s anywhere near his peak, and that will attract many teams given the abilities he’s already shown.
While Knox has a number of weaknesses, it’s not as if there are any atrocious parts of his game that opponents will be able to immediately exploit. He’s level-headed and eager to learn, and because he can shoot from long range, he should be able to help whoever drafts him right away, even if he still has a lot of room for improvement.
While Knox shot 34.1 percent from three-point range on 4.5 attempts per game, the smooth mechanics of his jumper suggest he can eventually be better than that at the next level. He has impressive athleticism for his size and is comfortable leading the fast break. Knox is also decent in most other areas offensively, including pulling up from mid-range, and the versatility and potential are both significant pluses.
It’s a little mystifying that Knox’s three-point numbers weren’t better, although his tendency to fall away and not use his legs on his jumper could account for some of his inconsistency. His poor assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4 assists/2.3 turnovers) highlights his lack of court vision — when he drives, he doesn’t seem aware of anything besides trying to get to the rim. Knox’s ball-handling is another area that could use some work. Defensively, there’s no reason Knox shouldn’t be able to hold his own in the NBA, but he can look a step slow on that end of the court when guarding smaller players.
Tobias Harris is a popular comparison, but Otto Porter Jr. might be a closer match. Porter, who shot 44.1 percent from three-point range this season, third best in the league, has turned himself into an elite long-range shooter who is solid in other areas. If Knox ends up being a success in the NBA, he may be the same type of player.
How he’d fit with the Sixers
Knox’s shooting could help fill a need for the Sixers if JJ Redick leaves in free agency. While he doesn’t have the handles or isolation game to create much of his own offense yet, Knox wouldn’t have to if he was playing with someone like Ben Simmons. Because of Knox’s versatility, Brett Brown could plug him into a variety of lineups off the bench. But as we’ve seen with Brown, he’d have to trust Knox’s defense first before giving him important minutes.
Many mock drafts have Knox being taken in the Nos. 12-15 range. He’d probably be a slight reach for the Sixers at No. 10, especially if a player like Mikal Bridges or Wendell Carter Jr. is available.