Kevin Knox
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The 2018 Offseason for the New York Knicks has ensured fans a very bright future.

As basketball fans, the NBA Las Vegas Summer League is the first glimpse we get of the new crop of rookies trying to make a name for themselves on their new team. It’s clear the New York Knicks can be pleased with their offseason.

During these games, Kevin Knox has been electrifying. The Knicks could not have found a better fit and talent through the draft, and they are already reaping the rewards of the hyper-athletic forward. The other major Knick draftee was Mitchell Robinson, who has also exceeded expectations and looks like a real starter for the future.

Knox is only an 18-year-old kid, but you wouldn’t think that when he is striding down the court looking for a ridiculous jam. He seems comfortable taking off from anywhere inside the free-throw line to soar for dunks. Even “soaring” is an understatement for what Knox is doing. His athleticism is simply off the charts.

I mean, come on, how much fun is this guy going to be night in and night out? He’s incredibly long and leaps through the roof. This guy will put butts in seats for the upcoming season, and his fit with the team is fantastic.

Mitchell Robinson energizes the game in a similar fashion. His defensive capability shines through with his incredible instincts, motor, and length. Nabbing him in the second round is a game changer, seriously.

Robinson has incredible upside on defense, and should eventually be able to be every bit as intimidating yet switchy as centers like Clint Capela. He seems capable of scoring efficiently in a similar way as well through finishing at or above the rim through lobs or dump offs.

Another underrated factor in the Knicks’ offseason was securing David Fizdale for the head coaching job. Fizdale is far more modern and experimental than previous coaches, and he could lead this varied group of young talented players to a path of success.

As New York separates itself from the strangeness of Phil Jackson’s tenure in New York, they can see that bright, bright light at the end of the tunnel. However, the Knicks have had to overcome varying destructive obstacles to do it. Carmelo Anthony drama, the signings from 2016 that are still haunting them now, the nonsensical endorsement of the triangle by Jackson, and a changing management landscape have given them little space to be good.  

This darker chapter of the world-famous franchise seems to be finally over. The new core is set. Fizdale has proven to be competent during his time in Memphis with the Grizzlies. The Knicks definitely have an incredibly interesting future.

The potential lineups also have much to love. The Knicks can run a five-out lineup in order to maximize spacing on offense, which could feature Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina, Courtney Lee, Knox, and Kristaps Porzingis.

They can also run huge lineups by sliding each of those up a position and inserting Enes Kanter or Robinson at the center. The defense has been a major issue for the Knicks in recent years. This won’t be fixed during next season most likely, but having Knox and Robinson adds a little switchability and energy to a team that had almost none.

For once, the Knicks have variations that Coach Fizdale can take and run with. The core is very young when factoring in their brand new additions, and the upside of the Knicks has skyrocketed since just a few weeks ago.

What exactly do Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson add to New York to be the most excited about?

First off, Knox has the potential to be a big-time scorer. When things were tough for the Knicks in recent years, dumping the ball to Kristaps Porzingis was one of few options. Now, Knox can also serve as a release valve for a stagnant offense. His quickness and athleticism will allow him to get good looks his teammates can not. During Summer League, Knox averaged 21.3 points and 6.5 rebounds. His shooting could have been stronger, but the mechanics are intact. Attacking the rim was his biggest strong suit where he can finish acrobatically.

Knox also is hypothetically a good switch player on defense down the line. The Knicks had so few switchy players last season to stop anyone in pick and rolls. Frank Ntilikina and Courtney Lee were the best options, but Porzingis, Kanter, and most of the rest of the roster were pretty helpless when asked to guard out of position. As a springy power forward, Knox can offer New York someone who down the line may be decently effective at guarding wings and guards.

Mitchell Robinson is one of the steals of the draft. His game counters Enes Kanter entirely by offering the athletic, defensive, rim-running style that teams are looking for. His leaping ability, like Knox, is exceptional and provides a lob threat for the Knicks’ guards. He also has the frame to be an awesome rim protector in the future, whether that be in the starting lineup or backup.

Robinson has a great ability to quickly close out on shooters with his length, shown multiple times through these clips.

With both of these players, the Knicks look like they will have two nice starters in a few years at the least, and maybe an All-Star or two if things go well. They also effectively shored up some of their biggest weaknesses including production on the wing defensive versatility.

Combining Knox and Robinson to Porzingis and Ntilikina, the Knicks have the feel of a retooled franchise and a group of young talent they haven’t enjoyed in many years.

The bright future is still far away from being in front of us, and the Knicks have many moves left to make, but they do walk away from this summer with a huge gain compared to years past.