The New York Knicks have created a new identity under head coach Tom Thibodeau, playing suffocating defense. They currently rank first in the NBA in points allowed per game with 104.7, nearly a two-point difference between the 2nd ranked Los Angeles Lakers.
With their shift and mentality, some players have lost favor with management and the coaching staff based on their style of play, and one of them is Kevin Knox, who is averaging just 11.6 minutes per game this season in 39 appearances. He hasnâ€™t earned a single start this year and has only started four games over the past two seasons.
Knox’s only real opportunity came when he was 19 years old as a rookie, earning 28.8 minutes per contest and playing in 75 games. He shot .370 from the field and averaged 12.8 points per game but underwhelmed in most categories based on his live-action.
Now, the Knicks are simply trying to find a way to utilize him, and I imagine he will be traded at some point if he doesnâ€™t carve out a role for himself with Thibodeau. However, the reality might be difficult, as the Knicks play such aggressive defense that requires them to always be running and moving, something that Knox isnâ€™t entirely great at.
According to the New York Post, Knox doesnâ€™t show enough motor to earn significant playing time in Thibodeauâ€˜s unit and with the team surprising everybody and currently sitting in the 4th seat in the Eastern Conference, Thibs is not giving away minutes for fun. This is a competitive team that must play their best players if they want to make the playoffs and compete against some of the best teams in the league, and Knox simply doesnâ€™t fit that equation any longer.
The question is, what value does Knox hold as a trade piece, considering he hasnâ€™t offered much on defense or offense the past few seasons? Despite not earning much playing time, Knox has been a great teammate on the bench, rooting his squad on despite the lack of playing time. When heâ€™s on the floor, though, it is clear that he lacks aggressive this on defense, which is a big no-no for Thibs.
â€œTheyâ€™re great teammates,â€™â€™ RJ Barrett said. â€œFrank is one of my closest friends. â€¦ Theyâ€™ve been great teammates as well. They work extremely hard. I just saw Kevin out there on the court dripping in sweat getting the work in. When theyâ€™ve gotten their opportunity theyâ€™ve done extremely well.â€™â€™