Kevin Knox Flashes Potential Again as Jazz Beat Knicks Without Grayson Allen

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2018

New York Knicks first round NBA Draft pick, Kevin Knox, poses with his jersey at the teams training facility Friday, June 22, 2018, in Tarrytown, N.Y.  (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)
Kevin Hagen/Associated Press

The New York Knicks are hoping the idea everything that happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas doesn't apply to basketball talent.

Rookie Kevin Knox impressed once again during a 2018 NBA Summer League contest in Sin City on Sunday, dropping 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals on the Utah Jazz in a 90-85 loss.

While fans didn't get the opportunity to watch him battle Grayson Allen with the Duke product sitting out for the Jazz, the No. 9 overall pick of the 2018 draft added to a summer league showing that already saw him score 22 points in his debut against the Atlanta Hawks.

Two of his points, in particular, stood out Sunday:


Kevin Knox elevates for the two-handed slam! #NBASummer https://t.co/Q5a3wDLmAt


📽️📽️ Another look at Kevin Knox's big dunk - in #PhantomCam! #NBASummer https://t.co/DkXyuqBh1e

It wasn't all great for the Kentucky product, considering he struggled from the field at 5-of-15 and was just 2-of-7 from deep, but part of summer league for talented rookies is finding their footing at the professional level. He shot a solid 34.1 percent from three-point range and 50.9 percent inside the arc in his one collegiate campaign, so there is reason to believe the shooting will come along in due time.

Assuming it does, it is not difficult to envision stardom down the line for the 18-year-old given the athleticism on display with the monster two-hand slam and what appears to be a natural scoring inclination through his early action.

He even flashed the ability to be a facilitator when the defense collapsed on him with a flashy behind-the-back dish:


Kevin Knox with the behind-the-back dish to Mitchell Robinson for the layup! #NBASummer https://t.co/mwmqJ51JG6

One NBA executive told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic that Knox is "f--king really good" and a "real stud," which was far from the only positive reaction to his initial performances:

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

Congrats to Knicks fans on Kevin Knox - I try hard not to overreact to Summer League, but it’s clear he’s an ideal 2-way wing for whatever the NBA is now. Very polished for his age already.

Charles Oakley @CharlesOakley34

Knox looks like the right pick. Culture is everything from here on out.

John Middlekauff @JohnMiddlekauff

If Kevin Knox is a hard worker & a good character guy I’m not sure how he’s not an All Star one day. On a different level than everyone in Vegas

Knox wasn't the only young Knick to thrive Sunday, as 19-year-old point guard Frank Ntilikina tallied 17 points and six assists while continuing to garner more experience following his rookie season. He was the No. 8 overall pick in last year's draft and figures to serve as a building block alongside Knox and give Knicks fans something to cheer for while Kristaps Porzingis recovers from a torn ACL.


Frank Ntilikina with the spin and gets it to fall to open the scoring for the @nyknicks! #NBASummer https://t.co/nOy5f8CuFu

Still, the combination wasn't enough to overcome 20 points and eight rebounds from Utah's Georges Niang, which figures to be a common theme for New York even if both play well during the regular season.

The Knicks haven't made the playoffs since the 2012-13 campaign, and it is unrealistic to expect that to change this upcoming season given Porzingis' injury status, even if they are playing in an Eastern Conference no longer featuring LeBron James.

Development is the name of the game in 2018-19 for this rebuilding franchise, and Knox appears to be someone who can develop into a star down the line after his early summer league showings.