The expectations for the upcoming season may not be high for the Knicks, but they are for the rookie Kevin Knox. And he has his own high expectations for the team.
Appearing on ESPN’s First Take, Knox didn’t set goals for his own numbers, but he’s already thinking about the Knicks' win total and a possible playoff berth.
“Just to win,” Knox said. “I feel like this is something you’ve got to do in New York, you’ve got to be able to win games.
"In the West, you need about 50. In the East, you can get around the 35-37 range and be able to make the playoffs.”
The win total may be optimistic considering the Knicks won 29 games last year and are facing the possibility of an entire season without Kristaps Porzingis. Management has openly spoken about the patient building process, looking to shed salary cap space next summer to become a player in the free agent market and possibly add another lottery pick to the core of Porzingis, last year’s lottery pick Frank Ntilikina and Knox.
But in the present, Porzingis is expected to miss at least half the season and some in the organization have stressed that erring on the side of caution is the safe long-term approach. Knox, while selected No. 9 overall and displaying potential in the Las Vegas Summer League, is a rookie who just turned 19 years old last month, and Ntilikina is still a work in progress.
"If we can get to the playoffs, that’s something New York hasn’t done in a while,” Knox said. “So I feel like if we can win, get in the playoffs, the Garden’s going to be crazy."
While he didn’t put numbers on his own play, he did have a goal — to attack.
“I’m going to go into the season with the mindset that I’m going to attack every person that’s guarding me,” he said. “Every game I’m going to be able to attack the other team. People questioned that last year, but I think I’m a different person, got a different mentality this year. I know the Knicks, we’re going to definitely make some noise this year so I’m really looking forward to this season.”
Knox said he has been working out with his own trainers, but also has been involved with the Knicks coaching staff and his new teammates. The message from new head coach David Fizdale has been in line with his own approach.
"He wants me to stay in attack mode," Knox said. "He wants me to be really aggressive on the offensive end, be able to make plays for my teammates. On defense be able to guard the best player on the other team. That’s a big responsibility for me to take, but I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been working really hard this summer.”