As teams haven’t been able to execute their normal pre-NBA Draft processes this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is worth noting a certain in-person workout that occurred two drafts ago.
Why is this significant? Well, the Knicks passed up Gilgeous-Alexander, who was still on the draft board. Instead, they went with Kevin Knox, his teammate at Kentucky.
The Knicks liked Knox’s size at 6-foot-9 and his shooting ability that he displayed with the Wildcats. He was also only 18 years old when they took him. But Knox’s early career has not panned out, while Gilgeous-Alexander’s has after being taken two picks after Knox.
SGA was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, but his rights were traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. In LA, he saw a rookie season with 10.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 total rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game. Then, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder this season, where he would take a big leap in his game.
Working with veteran guard Chris Paul by his side, Gilgeous-Alexander was moved to the shooting guard position and saw jumps in his numbers. He totaled 19 points per game with 3.3 assists and 5.9 rebounds. He also shot 47.1 percent from the field.
The Knicks could certainly use production like that in their backcourt, but they went with Knox instead. He’s had a slow start over his first two seasons, especially this past year with 6.4 points, 0.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. The smooth shooting stroke seen in the NCAA hasn’t translated, as Knox owns a career 36.7 field goal percentage.
With a new team president in Leon Rose, Knox’s Knicks career might be on the line if he doesn’t perform well next season. On the other hand, Gilgeous-Alexander looks like a solid young piece for the Thunder.