Knox trying to prove he belongs in NBA

Published 10:45 pm Monday, July 9, 2018

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Kevin Knox proved a point during his unofficial debut in the NBA Summer League last weekend in Las Vegas.

“They (the fans) booed me and stuff like that,” Knox said. “I just wanted to come out and play hard and show them what type of player they got.”

Knox, the No. 9 pick in the NBA Draft last month by the New York Knicks, scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a win over the Atlanta Hawks Saturday. Knox made just one 3-pointer on seven attempts but had five slam dunks.

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“It was great first points in the NBA,” Knox said. “A monster dunk and the crowd loved it.”

The performance by Knox impressed Knicks coach David Fizdale.

“He’s a freakish athlete,” Fizdale told the New York Daily News.

Fizdale later told The Atlantic that Knox is “very comfortable with himself, very comfortable with the game.”

“He knows his game,” he said. “He really understands at a young age how to get to spots and find his shot. We put him in a lot of different situations. He’s rolling in pick-and-rolls (and) he’s handling in pick-and-rolls. So, we’re going to mix it up with him and try to utilize his skill set.”

One of Knox’s former teammates — Hamidou Diallo — tallied 19 points, collected eight rebounds and added a pair of steals to lead Oklahoma to a win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Signed, sealed and booked: Former Kentucky guard Devin Booker, a member of Kentucky’s 38-1 team that went undefeated before losing to Wisconsin in the Final Four, signed a five-year, $158 million contract with the Phoenix Suns over the weekend.

Booker averaged 24.9 points per game in his third NBA season and scored 70 points in a win over the Boston Celtics in 2017. Booker was “humbled and honored” to “commit to the Suns’ organization long term.”

“I (have) loved calling Phoenix home the last three seasons as this team and community are special to me,” Booker said in a tweet. “Thank you to the Suns for drafting me and believing in me. I look forward to the future and winning an (NBA) title as a Sun.”

Monk suffers injury: Former Kentucky guard Malik Monk’s summer campaign came to an end after he fractured his right thumb during a game Friday night. The Charlotte guard scored 23 points in his lone summer league encounter.

“It’s tough. He played so well yesterday,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We’re not going to let this deter us. It’s a little setback right now. He’ll be in the gym and we’ll continue to work on (dribbling with) his left hand.”

Monk averaged 6.7 points per game as a rookie last season.