Former lottery pick Kevin Knox takes responsibility for shortcomings in NY

Kevin Knox isn’t passing the blame on his unsuccessful Knicks tenure.

Now on his third team with the Pistons, Knox, the former Knicks lottery pick, said he flubbed the chance from Tom Thibodeau before the trade last season.

“I had my fair opportunity. I didn’t make the best of it, unfortunately,” Knox said. “But it is what it is. You got to learn from it.”

Knox, 23, was dealt as a salary filler to the Hawks for Cam Reddish, ending his 3 ½ season stint in New York that started with great hope. Briefly, Knox represented the franchise’s top prospect as the ninth overall pick and Rookie of the Month in 2018.

However, Knox never shook his reputation as a poor defender with a low motor. His playing time dipped every season and Knox was cut from the rotation under Thibodeau.

Knox’s trajectory fell well behind the player immediately drafted after him by the Suns, Mikal Bridges.

“Guys make changes. Teams make changes. Bring new guys in. I put it all on me. I got to work harder,” said a noticeably stronger Knox. “Play better defense. All the narratives they created. I put it all on me.”

“It was a long time ago,” Knox added about being criticized for his defense and effort. “Two or three years ago. It feels like it was yesterday. It is what it is. I’m going to change the narrative.”

The overall tenure was a disappointment, but Knox had some positive moments and highlights. He was the star of his first Summer League in 2018. Then he won Rookie of the Month and dunked on Ben Simmons.

“I had fun playing basketball then,” Knox said.

Knox signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Pistons over the summer, with the first year and half the salary guaranteed. It’s a make-good situation and Knox has a spot in the rotation.

He was also looking forward to facing his former team.

“One hundred percent,” Knox said. “Every game is a chip but this one is one of the most important. Circled in the calendar, for sure.”


Among the three former Knicks on the Pistons, only Knox was expected to play Friday. Alec Burks is still recovering from foot surgery and Nerlens Noel is dealing with foot pain.

The Pistons also traded for Kemba Walker on draft night, but bought out his contract before the season. Detroit coach Dwane Casey said there was never a plan to keep Walker, who was cut from the Knicks rotation last season and sent home.

“No. We understood where Kemba was at that time,” Casey said. “There was a conversation about the buyout. Plus we also just got Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham. And also we had Cory Joseph. So we were loaded.”

Walker remains unsigned.

“It’s sort of the nature of the league,” Thibodeau said. “Kemba was a terrific player in this league and he’s a great guy. But the way the league is going, he may get another opportunity. I hope he does. He’s a great guy.”


Donovan Mitchell was so convinced he was headed to the Knicks that he told “everybody” and began plotting living arrangements.

“On Sept. 1, I went to sleep like, ‘I’m on the Knicks. I’m going to New York.,’” Mitchell said on the Old Man & The Three podcast. “I’m building a house back home. I was already doing that anyway. So I got to expedite that. We got to get all this stuff figured out.

“That was the moment where I was pretty certain that was going to be the case. Literally, I told everybody, ‘Alright keep this quiet, but this is probably going to happen.’”

The Knicks haggled over draft picks, among other things, and the Cavaliers swooped in to nab the All-Star.

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Matt Lucas

Writer by day and an aspiring Artist by night. Creative thinking is what I'm all about. Lottos are one of my passions and I'm happy to be contributing to Lottery Papa News

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