Kevin Knox was snubbed, the headlines exclaimed. This is just more terrible and laughable news for the Knicks, the copy went on to tell you.
No, Knox was not one of the 10 first- and second-year players chosen for the U.S. team for the Rising Stars game at All-Star weekend next month. And neither were fellow Knicks in those categories, including Allonzo Trier and Mitchell Robinson, and disappointing 2017 first-round pick Frank Ntilikina, who was a member of the World team as a rookie last season.
And none of them should have made it this year.
All of this is supposed to represent some sort of tangible reflection and referendum on the Knicks' ongoing youth movement and season-long tank job under first-year coach David Fizdale.
Certainly, a team touting its young core and the return of Kristaps Porzingis as an enticement for free agents this summer would prefer to be rewarded with Knox's participation in the league's prospect showcase. And it says something that the league's assistant coaches, who voted on the squads, didn't see fit to honor any of the Knicks' slew of young players.
While it's not ideal, it's not exactly the end of the world, either, for the team with the league's worst record en route to its 14th playoff miss in the past 18 seasons -- and possibly the Zion Williamson sweepstakes for the first overall pick in 2019.
As for Knox's omission, specifically, a further inspection of the U.S. roster for the kids' game shows that only three rookies made this year's squad. All were drafted ahead of Knox, who was selected with the ninth pick after his freshman year out of Kentucky last June.
Marvin Bagley (second overall by Sacramento) joins second-year Nets center Jarrett Allen and Atlanta's John Collins as the big men on the U.S. roster. Jaren Jackson (fourth by Memphis) is having a similar season statistically to Knox, averaging 13.5 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Grizzlies. And point guard Trae Young (fifth by Dallas and traded to Atlanta) is averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 assists for the Hawks.
Knox or another player drafted ahead of him -- Cleveland's Collin Sexton (14.3 points) -- still could be added to the game as an injury replacement for injured Lakers' point guard Lonzo Ball.
Allen (11.2 points and 8.8 rebounds) deservedly was chosen as one of two representatives for the improved Nets (with rookie Rodions Kurucs) and as one of seven second-year Americans.
Among those, there is no question that Knox is not at the level of Donovan Mitchell, who should make the Western Conference All-Star team, too.
The others: Collins, the Lakers' Kyle Kuzma, Boston's Jayson Tatum and Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox all are more deserving than Knox. Fox, for instance, averaged 11.6 points per game last season for the Kings, but he's boosted that total to 17.6 in his sophomore campaign.
Knox, the league's rookie of the month for December, is averaging 12.2 points and 4.2 boards over 42 appearances entering Wednesday's game against Dallas and its wondrous rookie Luka Doncic, the third pick in the 2018 draft out of Slovenia and the favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors. The 19-year-old shooting guard will headline the World team; he's leading all first-year players with 20.5 points per game, with 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists.
The Knicks rookie has shown flashes of being able to take over games, including a 31-point, 15-rebound performance in December that placed him in the lofty company of LeBron James as the only teenagers in NBA history to post such a stat line for one game.
Questions concerning Knox's motor and consistency remain, but it's not like there haven't been countless other highly touted rookies to initially encounter such issues.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, a likely MVP finalist this season along with James Harden and LeBron, averaged 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds as a rookie, and then decent bumps to 12.7 and 6.7, respectively, in Year 2. Jimmy Butler's scoring average rose from 2.6 points as a rookie in 2011 to 8.5 to 13.1 to 20.0 over his first four seasons, and now he's a four-time All-Star.
As for Trier, he's an undrafted player averaging double-digits in scoring (10.5 points). Again, which of the 10 players selected does the former Arizona guard deserve a spot over? The Knicks' front office simply should take pride in unearthing another rotation contributor to their youthful mix.
With a returning Porzingis and a lottery pick that could be as high as first overall, the Knicks still should be in play for a potential blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis and/or a max free-agent this summer. Knox's omission this week doesn't change that.