Knicks Pick Ready to Prove Doubters Wrong

He’s young enough to have had his NBA Draft night ensemble sponsored by Fortnite.

He’s old enough to know the first thing he wants to do when he settles in New York is try a slice of city’s legendary pizza.

And he’s good enough to possibly start for the Knicks next season at small forward.

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Kevin Knox, the 6-foot-9 forward from Kentucky is exactly what the Knicks were looking for with the No. 9 pick in the NBA Draft. He was the second youngest player in the draft at 18, which is in keeping with management’s plan to build sustainable success.

And he has the prototype game NBA teams are looking for at 3-4 spots. Knox can stretch the floor. He averaged 15.6 points on 51% shooting from the floor, including 34% from behind the arc and averaged 5.4 rebounds.

Put him on the court with Kristaps Porzingis (22), Frank Ntilikina (19) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (26) and the Knicks have the nucleus of a young, athletic team.

“Oh yeah, I love it,’’ Knox said when asked by about the team’s makeup.

“I love Frank. I know he works really hard. Me, him and Porzingis, alongside with some of the other great guys on the team, I think we’re going to do really fine.’’

Knox wore a classy outfit that was highlighted by a blue blazer with ‘Fortnite’, the most popular video game of the day, inscribed on the inside. It’s the game many pro athletes are playing.

“I play it all the time,’’ said Knox. “That’s the only game I play all the time. I don’t buy any skins like that but I play it all time.’’

Don’t mistake Knox’s youthful enthusiasm. The former high school quarterback, who started concentrating solely on basketball after his sophomore year, is a fierce competitor.

He said he heard some Knicks fans in Barclays Center chanting for the team to take Michael Porter Jr. with the 9th pick. Little did they know that Knox possesses a similar skill set and Porter’s back injury fueled speculation he could miss the entire upcoming season.

“That’s just motivation,’’ said Knox. “A lot of people want him to get to the Knicks, but I mean, it’s all good with me. I’m ready to get to work. I’m ready to get to work and ready to prove people in Summer League and prove people in the NBA.

“They booed Porzingis (on draft night) and look where he is now. That’s the same mindset I’m going to have. They can chant Michael Porter all they want. But they got Kevin Knox, and I’m willing to work and I’m willing to get better.’’

John Calipari, Knox’s coach at Kentucky, believes his latest one-and-done is going to hit on Broadway.

“He’s not even close to what he’s going to be,” Calipari told reporters at the Chicago combine. “But he’s young. You got to know you’re going to see this kid now and it’s going to be, ‘Holy cow!’’’

Knox believes his one season at Kentucky, where the Wildcats are followed with religious zeal, has prepared him to succeed in New York. He referred to himself as being well spoken and he was, handling interview after interview with poise and sincerity.

“At Kentucky, it’s basically as big as the way the Knicks is in the NBA,’’ Knox said. “Kentucky is a powerhouse school in college basketball, so I think it gets you ready.

“You play a lot of top games on ESPN, packed crowds everywhere. That’s kind of how Madison Square Garden will be. I think Kentucky helped me really well. I think it’ll be really fun.”

Knox is ready to get down to work. He said he never got a chance to visit Fort Knox in Kentucky and he doesn’t plan on doing a lot of sightseeing.

But he does want to get a slice of pizza, so send your recommendations to @MSGNetworks and we’ll pass it on.

“I heard they’re really known for their pizza,’’ Knox said. “I haven’t had pizza in New York, so that’s something everyone is telling me to do. I’m really looking forward to getting some pizza.’’

And taking The Garden court.

“It’s going to be crazy,’’ Knox said. “The mecca of basketball. I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait. Biggest arena, [the] biggest stage in the NBA. It’s going to be great.’’

[Read More From Lenn Robbins]