Kevin Knox missed Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but now that his sprained left ankle has healed, he will get to see how he matches up with Kawhi Leonard on Saturday afternoon in Toronto.
“That’s kind of what I got in the NBA for,” the rookie first-round pick said Friday as the Knicks prepared to face the 11-1 Raptors. “I want to go against superstars that would be a good challenge for me.”
Since missing seven games with a bad ankle, Knox is still trying to find his scoring touch. He has appeared in two games and scored a combined two points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field, and he has yet to play more than nine minutes. But his playing time should go up soon, especially after getting in a full practice Friday. Aside from typical soreness after games or working out, Knox said the ankle feels fine. Now he’ll get to really test it against Leonard, one of the league’s best players.
“I know he’s a great defender, [he has] large hands, and he guards some of the best players in the NBA, so it’ll be pretty good to go against him,” Knox said. “But, I mean, the mindset you have to have is to attack as much as possible, get to the rim as much as possible and make open shots.”
Knicks coach David Fizdale is still trying to figure out how he wants to use his three point guards, Frank Ntilikina, Trey Burke and Emmanuel Mudiay.
Burke didn’t play in Wednesday’s loss to the Hawks, the first time that had happened to him this year. Fizdale liked how Ntilikina bounced back from his recent shooting slump with a 14-point effort against the Hawks, and Mudiay has played well of late, too.
“I’m just trying to figure out how to utilize all these guys and put them in a position to be as successful as possible,” Fizdale said. “And so, I’ve just [got] Trey in a spot where if I need scoring or I need ball-handling or playmaking, I can always pull him in that position and throw him out there with anybody.
“I like their attitude about how they go about it. They root for each other and then they come in here and try to kill each other. That’s a good thing.”
Fizdale has yet to name a team captain and may not do so this season at all. He wants to see leadership grow organically. He mentioned veterans like Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr., and even injured star Kristaps Porzingis as players who have taken charge of the young group.
“Those guys have been doing it on their own, and the players are falling in line right behind [them],” he said.