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The Drews & Don’ts of the Knicks Summer League

NBA: Summer League-Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the recurring column that is sweeping the nation. This is the second, and hopefully not last, edition of “Drews & Don’ts.” In the beginning of July, I debuted the series to rave reviews, discussing all the pressing issues, such as my disdain for workout videos and recommending watching the Summer League. Now that Summer League is over for the New York Knickerknoxers (shout out to Will Muckian for coming up with that improvement of Knoxerbockers) and Kevin Knox — aka Nasty Knox, aka Knox-turn’al — is the heir apparent to the King himself, LeBron James, I have some hot takes to get off my chest.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Drew: Be excited for these rookies

Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson looked really, really impressive. Robinson (we still need a nickname for him), displayed a ton of raw ability on the court and was blocking 3-point shots as if he were still in high school facing tiny, unathletic scrubs. Knox, as fellow Posting & Toastinger Zach DiLuzio described in his latest piece, looked like a completely different player from his freshman season at Kentucky. They both gave off that “it” vibe you get when watching certain young players in Summer League as they dominate lesser talent.

I’m not entirely sure if all the buzz about Knox and Mitchell (especially Knox, the focus of a number of similar articles from the more mainstream NBA outlets) is a good thing or a bad thing for the Knicks and their fans. On the one hand, it’s refreshing to get positive articles written about the team instead of those lazy articles about Phil Jackson and the Triangle. On the other hand, it would be nice to have this kept under the radar so these young guys don’t have to deal with the attention. But this is New York, so it’s unavoidable. What can you really do, right?

No matter the case, be excited for Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. This may very well have been the draft that changes New York’s direction for the better.

Don’t: Overreact to Summer League

With all the aforementioned said, let’s remember that this is Summer League. The sample sizes are small and do not have predictive power. Remember, Josh Selby and Glen Rice Jr. also stood out in Summer League.

Knox still needs to work on going to his left and dribbling. Robinson needs to learn positioning on both sides of the floor and actually put a body into the defender when setting a screen. Allonzo Trier needs to not run the offense. And all of this is perfectly fine. These guys are rookies and young; Knox does not turn 19 until August.

Essentially, be excited, but do not go overboard by saying Kevin Knox is the heir apparent to the King himself, LeBron James.

Drew: This single inconsequential play is promising

Since every P&T reader isn’t following me on Twitter for whatever reason, I want to share this small thread I did about a defensive possession:

This is a glimpse of what New York wants to and can do on defense to utilize its length. Look how seamless the switch with Ntilikina and Knox, and look at Robinson contesting the shot attempt by John Collins. This is why having a player like Ntilikina guarding the point of attack is so valuable in today’s NBA. French Sinatra has the size and length to switch onto the roll man, and Knox is athletic enough to stay in front of a guard (though Young passes quickly to Collins).

Robinson is really going to be a wildcard in all of this. He’s clearly athletic enough to defend in space and has solid defensive instincts, especially when defending the rim (and apparently out to the three-point line). He has much to learn in terms of the nuance and positioning of defense to fully utilize his athleticism and length – very similar to Porzingis during his first two years in the league. Like a younger Unicorn, Robinson is foul happy, goes for the block, or reaches in for the ball instead of going vertical and moving his feet. Gaining a bit of strength and muscle and getting regular reps in games is going to do wonders for him.

If Porzingis actually has a legit help defender behind him when he’s forced out into space, that changes how the defense can function. Obviously, you want Porzingis defending the rim more often than not, but teams are still going to attack him on the pick-and-roll, especially after an ACL injury, to draw him away from the rim. Another rim protector, i.e. not Kanter, improves the defense exponentially.

Don’t: The Knicks polo shirts & khaki shorts

Polo shirts are the antithesis of style. Actually, antithesis suggests that there are two directions. Polo shirts are the absence of style. I would say that they are the mullets of the shirt kingdom — business at the top and a party at the bottom — but unfortunately, unlike mullets, polo shirts are socially acceptable in different settings. If anything, the two are distant cousins.

What makes these specific polo shirts even worse than a regular one is that they are “athletic polos” made by Nike. What bothers me the most about these “shirts” is that they are lazy. If you need to look more professional, actually wear a button-up, preferably with a tie and the sleeves slightly rolled up before the elbow. That’s, of course, if you’re not wearing it with a jacket and pants. And if you’re at a casual athletic event — you know, like Las Vegas Summer League — just wear a damn Knicks athletic/workout shirt!

Image Source

I mean, look at this guy. “Hello, my name is Elder Luke. And I would like to share with you the most amazing book.”

What is this a cult? Look at these guys. It’s appalling. And I didn’t even get into the fact that THE POLOS ARE TUCKED INTO THE KHAKI SHORTS! Why are you even tucking in polo shirts? They aren’t dress shirts! You look equally as ridiculous tucking your t-shirt into your pants. That’s because a polo is just a faux-fancy t-shirt. Just because it has a collar doesn’t mean it’s “professional.” Men, stop wearing polo shirts, especially these dri-FIT ones. You look like you’ve given up on your physical appearance, style, and life. Be better.

Don’t: Ntilikina’s Hair

Not only is there going to be more “don’ts” this time, but this may be the hottest take of them all. I know I sound like a lame, not-in-touch-with-the-youth, musty individual who wears polo shirts and khaki shorts as I critique a 19-year-old’s hair, but I’m just not feeling it.

In case you’re unaware, the beloved French Prince currently has these faint frosted tips. It looks like he put Sun-In spray on his head. Unless everyone in Europe is like Luka Doncic where they are stuck in the 90s and are obsessed with Friends (Friends is not only overrated, but stinks. @ me), this specific 90s and early 2000s hairstyle needs to die where it was born. Trends in fashion are constantly recycled, but why are we recycling this one?

Unfortunately, I do not have any sort of recommendations for Ntilikina other than cut it, grow it back out, and simply do not dye it. I also may not be the best person to comment at the moment as I am currently in that awkward transition phase where you’re growing out your hair, but it isn’t long enough to throw up or just have lay down flat and too long to really do much styling with it other than pushing it back with a hat or headband. Having a good head of hair is important to me; it’s something both myself and Ntilikina share. I just don’t want to see this handsome young man fall into a trend trap that he will regret when he’s older.