2. Kevin Knox (Kentucky)
Heading into this past Kentucky Wildcats season, Kevin Knox was the crowned jewel of the latest influx of one-and-done talent for John Calipari and Big Blue Nation. Knox, a 6-foot-9 wing with a pterodactyl-like 7-foot wingspan looked the part of the head of the class. Yet, Knox’s lone season in Lexington was highlighted by inconsistent play.
Most of the inconsistency was tied in with his jump shot. Knox got off to an uneven start from the perimeter, but by the end of the year, he began to sure up any issues evaluators had with his outside shot. Buoyed by a 6-of-9 performance from downtown against West Virginia, Knox took his game to another level at the end of the season. Knox’s form is solid and given his combination height and length he has the ability to get his shot off at will over the top of defenders.
Knox’s improvement as a three-point shooter also tied in with him leaning more on catch-and-shoot looks than shooting off the dribble. Kentucky ran Knox off a lot of screen actions (mostly pin downs) and over the course of the season, he became more comfortable with the action. In Charlotte, Knox would be the beneficiary of playing off a guard like Walker. Walker’s penetration and ability to get into the interior at will opens up catch-and-shoot opportunities for his teammates. As Knox showed at Kentucky, he is very capable of converting on those opportunities.
Charlotte dipped its toe in the Wildcat pond the last draft and came away with Big Blue Nation’s best shooter in Malik Monk. His rookie year ended on a high note so it wouldn’t be completely out of the norm for the Hornets to target a Kentucky shooter in the lottery. Whereas Monk was undersized for his position, Knox fits in perfectly for the role Charlotte would need him to play.
Knox is likely just scratching the surface of what he could become a player. Similar to the improvements we’ve seen Kelly Oubre Jr. make during his time with the Washington Wizards; Knox brings the outline of what NBA teams want in a wing it’s just a matter of molding the talent into what the team wants.