LAS VEGAS — Kevin Knox was a beast at Kentucky last season (just ask Tennessee fans), then brought an intensity to his team workouts in advance of the draft that the still 18-year-old wing kept climbing draft boards.
Knicks fans may not have recognized it when the pick was booed at the draft, but Steve Mills/Scott Perry knew what they saw. They know potential.
Now Knox has brought his pre-draft athleticism and aggressiveness to Las Vegas, and Knicks’ fans have seen the light. They also see another building block — and a lot of spectacular dunks.
Knox finished with 19 points in his second Summer League game Sunday and there is a lot to like beyond his throwing in down two-handed over anyone in his way. He has impressive handles and a quick first step that he uses to get by defenders, then he isn’t afraid to drive into the defense and absorb contact to draw the foul — he was 7-of-8 at the line in the game. He also had five rebounds and showed potential on the boards, with his athleticism and size he can make some plays. He’s long, and strong.
He also doesn’t turn 19 until August.
There is plenty to work on — through two games he is 13-of-35 (37.1 percent) shooting from the field. His stroke is smooth, a sign that it should come around, but at the pace of play in Vegas he just cannot knock down jumpers consistently. Yet.
But for Knicks fans, it’s not too early to dream of him slashing to the rim while Kristaps Porzingis occupies defenders at the elbow, and good things are going to happen.