The Detroit Pistons were looking for a bit of size on the wing, and they hope they’ve found it in free agent Kevin Knox, who agreed to a two-year $6 million deal.
It appears Troy Weaver’s going rate for career reclamation projects is $3 million per season as Weaver handed the disappointing former No. 9 pick the same deal he gave Jahlil Okafor, a former No. 3 overall pick a couple of years ago.
It didn’t really work out for Okafor, who is currently out of the league. He similarly tried rehab projects on Josh Jackson and Dennis Smith Jr. Perhaps Knox will make better use of his one last chance.
He disappointed as a young, overwhelmed player under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden for the New York Knicks, and things only got worse once Tom Thibodeau arrived. Eventually, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, but struggled with injury and couldn’t earn the trust of coach Nate McMillan.
In Detroit, he will join other young players figuring out their place at the NBA level — Knox is still just 22 years old — and hopefully he rediscovers his shooting stroke. Knox shot over 50% from 2 and 34% from 3 as a Freshman at Kentucky, and has had spurts where his shot looked fine in the pros, but he’s never found consistency.
Last season, he averaged 3.1 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.3 assists on shooting splits of 36.5/27.8/72.7 in 30 games.
The hope, is that the low-stakes environment and clear green light from deep will help boost his confidence and efficiency. The Pistons found some success with this approach last season with Trey Lyles. Of course, Lyles was a better shooter, and he performed well enough in Detroit to turn into a trade chip at the deadline.
Knox is an NBA lottery ticket, and NBA lottery tickets aren’t cheap even though they rarely payout in the end.