The New York Knicks selected Kevin Knox with the No. 9 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft. Their second-round pick was big man Mitchell Robinson.
Ian Begley reported that New York has an interesting strategy for the two heading into their rookie season: Knox will be mentoring Robinson. (via ESPN):
“Knicks coach David Fizdale says he challenged Kevin Knox to provide some leadership to Mitchell Robinson, who did not attend college last season. Fizdale says at a team town hall meeting that Knox, who played for one year at Kentucky, has taken on that leadership role with Robinson.”
Knox, who turned 19 years old just last month, has obviously never played professional basketball. But given his experience during his one year at the University of Kentucky, he’s been entrusted to help mentor the 20-year-old Robinson.
It’s a bit of a surprise, especially considering a more natural fit would have been 30-year-old Knicks forward Lance Thomas. Knox is 16 months younger than Robinson, and he has a lot on his own plate like getting acclimated to the NBA and adjusting to life in New York.
This won’t be the first time that Knox will have had such a role, as a recent profile pointed out. He spent his summers mentoring children at the Tampa Housing Authority, where his father worked.
Fizdale specifically worded this as a “challenge” to Knox, so it will be very interesting to see how the rookie rises to the occasion. He won’t have to go at it alone, though, considering big man Enes Kanter, 26, has said he would not mind stepping up to help develop Robinson as well.