Kevin Knox

Knicks Notes: Smart, Porzingis, Delany, Draft

Grizzlies assistant Keith Smart is expected to become a top assistant on David Fizdale’s staff with the Knicks, tweets ESPN’s Ian Begley. Smart was an assistant with Fizdale for two years in Miami and came to Memphis with him when he was hired as head coach in 2016.

Smart, who appeared in just two NBA games as a player, began his coaching career in 2000. He has also been an assistant with the Cavaliers, Warriors and Kings and eventually became head coach of all three franchises, compiling a 93-170 career record.

J.B. Bickerstaff, who recently had his interim tag removed by the Grizzlies, has started interviewing potential replacements in anticipation of Smart’s departure, according to Begley.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Fizdale met Friday with Janis Porzingis, the older brother and agent for Kristaps Porzingis, relays Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Fizdale is hoping to travel to Latvia this summer to talk with the Knicks’ star, who is currently rehabbing his left knee in Spain. Fizdale is working to repair a damaged relationship, Isola adds, as Porzingis has been losing faith in the front office, the Knicks’ medical staff and former coach Jeff Hornacek. In Friday’s meeting, Fizdale reportedly addressed his issues with Marc Gasol in Memphis and a reputation that he doesn’t deal well with foreign-born players.
  • Pat Delany, who also worked with Fizdale in Miami, could be another addition to the coaching staff, Isola adds. Delany has been with the Hornets the past four seasons.
  • Small forward is an obvious position of need for the Knicks, but they plan to approach the ninth pick in this year’s draft with a best-player-available philosophy, writes Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com. Wing players Miles Bridges and Kevin Knox met with the Knicks during the draft combine, but so did point guards Collin Sexton and Trae Young, even though New York drafted Frank Ntilikina in the first round last year. “There’s no secret that we can use help on the wing,” GM Scott Perry said. “But at the end of the day I think we’re still in that talent-acquisition mode. If that happens to be at No. 9 a wing player, great. If we feel the most talented guy clearly is at another position then we got to look at that direction as well.”

Combine Notes: Young, Carter, Knox, Walker, Bowen

Trae Young claims the Sixers are interested in him, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Oklahoma freshman point guard was interviewed by Philadelphia at the NBA draft combine. “They are looking for a playmaker all-around,” Young said. “I know they are interested in me. But you never know how things will fall.”

Given the composition of the Sixers’ roster, it’s hard to see how Young would fit in. They have budding superstar Ben Simmons and last year’s No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz along with valuable backup T.J. McConnell to share the ballhandling duties. The Sixers hold the No. 10 and No. 26 picks in the first round and Young is currently ranked No. 6 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, so Philadelphia would likely have to move up to draft him if the interest is genuine.

In other combine developments:

  • Duke center Wendell Carter Jr. and Kentucky forward Kevin Knox met with the Knicks on Friday, Al Iannazzone of Newsday reports. The Knicks own the No. 9 pick. Carter is ranked No. 7 by Givony while Knox is listed at No. 15.
  • Carter also interviewed with the Bulls, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets, and the Sixers, according to Pompey. The Bulls have the No. 7 pick.
  • Miami shooting guard Lonnie Walker met with the Magic, Bulls, Sixers and Knicks, all teams with Top 10 selections, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype tweets. The Clippers, who hold picks 12 and 13, are also interested in Walker, Kalbrosky adds. Walker is ranked No. 14 by Givony but those meetings could indicate that he’ll go higher in draft day.
  • The Trail Blazers interviewed forward Brian Bowen, who sat out last season after his controversial recruitment by Louisville, Jason Quick of NBCSNorthwest tweets. Bowen is still mulling whether to attend South Carolina or remain in the draft, Quick adds. Bowen barely cracks Givony’s Top 100 at No. 96.
  • Top point guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Collin Sexton and Young were interviewed by the Suns, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic relays. Phoenix has the No. 1 and No. 16 selections. Texas center Mohamed Bamba, Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and Carter are some of the other prominent players who met with the Suns.

Draft Notes: Childs, Combine, DiVincenzo, Knox

BYU forward Yoeli Childs is the latest early entrant to remove his name from 2018’s NBA draft class, announcing late on Tuesday night (via Twitter) that he won’t be going pro quite yet.

“After several weeks of prayer, talking with my family, those close to me, and NBA teams, I feel the best decision for my future and my family is to return to BYU for my junior year!” Childs wrote in his statement.

In his sophomore year, Childs averaged 17.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 1.8 BPG for the Cougars. However, his odds to be drafted in 2018 weren’t great. The 6’8″ forward will head back to BYU looking to improve his draft stock during his junior year in 2018/19.

Here are more draft-related notes and rumors from around the league:

  • With the NBA draft combine set to begin today in Chicago, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN.com preview the event, providing a schedule of what to expect for the rest of the week and identifying several prospects who could most significantly hurt or help their draft stocks in the coming days.
  • According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), Villanova sharpshooter Donte DiVincenzo “has some real fans in NBA circles,” and is a legit candidate to come off the board late in the first round. DiVincenzo is still technically just testing the draft waters without an agent, but he’s probably a good bet to go pro if he gets that sort of feedback from NBA evaluators.
  • Kyler passes along another note from the combine, tweeting that Kevin Knox‘s stock may be on the rise, as his initial workout schedule includes several teams in the top 10.
  • Former Seton Hall forward Desi Rodriguez has worked out for the Nets and Celtics so far in the pre-draft process, tweets Zach Braziller of The New York Post.

Kevin Knox Entering 2018 NBA Draft

Kentucky forward Kevin Knox is going pro, having made the decision to enter the 2018 NBA draft and hire an agent, the school announced today (via Twitter). Knox confirmed the move in a video published to his Twitter account.

Knox, a 6’9″ freshman, enjoyed a productive 2017/18 season with the Wildcats, averaging 15.6 PPG and 5.4 RPG. His efficiency was somewhat lacking (.445 FG%), but that can be attributed – at least in part – to playing out of position, Jonathan Givony of ESPN wrote last month.

Givony, who ranks Knox 14th overall on his big board for 2018, also observed that there’s a “significant market” in the NBA for combo forwards with Knox’s skill set, which includes the ability to defend multiple positions and knock down an open shot. The Kentucky forward also won’t turn 19 until August, making him one of the youngest players in this year’s draft class. In other words, he’ll have plenty of time to improve.

Knox is the second Kentucky underclassmen to declare his intent to enter the 2018 draft this spring. He joins teammate PJ Washington, who is testing the waters for now.