In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 34 picks.
Today’s installment breaks down Kentucky forward Kevin Knox.
Coming out of high school, Kevin Knox was about as highly touted a recruit as they come. Rated as the No. 7 overall prospect by both ESPN and Scout, Knox offers a fun combination of size and athleticism.
Standing at 6’9 and weighing in at 213 pounds, Knox has a rare forward frame that can capably play the 3 or 4 positions, however, at Kentucky, Knox mostly got his minutes as a small forward.
Knox had a dynamite season at Kentucky for his age, averaging nearly 16 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds in heavy minutes. Being one of Kentucky’s few legitimate three point threats kept him on the floor most of the time despite his sometimes wandering defense.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at some of Knox’s strengths and weaknesses.
Knox’s biggest strength might just be his aforementioned size. While only 18 years old, Knox is built like a grown man already. His wingspan (nearly 7’0) aids him with his drives to the rim and could also help him down the road as he develops into a stopper at the rim. It was apparent at Kentucky this season when he would go to the block while struggling with his shot to get easy points thanks to this good size.
He is a legitimate threat from three with his shooting percentage from beyond the line being 34 percent at Kentucky last season. Then when defenders make an attempt to close out hard on Knox, he has a polished pump fake and ability to dribble in traffic to get to the rim.
Knox can get tunnel vision and its really a problem for him. He showed no great court vision skills at Kentucky and this is to be expected for an 18-year-old, but Knox will need to improve in this department at the next level for him to be anything more than average.
As mentioned before, Knox’s defense still has a ways to go. He can get caught ball watching and does not always run the floor, and it may be because he was playing 32 minutes a game but it’s still concerning. With his wingspan and size, he should be able to become a lock down defender with the right guidance at the next level.
For his size, Knox isn’t the greatest rebounder. Really, Knox mostly struggles on the offensive glass where he either acts disinterested or gets out-hustled. He does fine grabbing the rebounds that come right to him but isn’t a guy that has shown he’ll get on the ground and fight through the post for a rebound.
Overall, Knox just looks really raw still which is ok for his age. He is going to find out really fast at the next level that effort is going to be required. Much of the film I watched on him made him look disinterested and disengaged when the ball was not in his hands.
Hopefully, I am wrong but I have my doubts about him at the next level being anything more than an average starting combo forward. With that said, he is a potential building block of sorts with a indeterminable ceiling and floor.
It is hard to project Knox because he’s still just 18 and could grow in his maturity and polish up some more at the next level. Right now, I’d project him to go in the 18-22 pick range with the possibility that some team will reach in the late lottery.