NBA

How did Kevin Knox shrink? It’s pretty important to the Detroit Pistons.

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Somehow Detroit Pistons newcomer Kevin Knox has become the “incredible shrinking man” and is now listed two inches shorter than he was in college. That lost height could be key to where Knox can play in the Pistons’ lineup.

Kevin Knox was a hot recruit coming out of Tampa (Fla.) Catholic High. Like many of them, he chose to play at the University of Kentucky. Like many who play for the Wildcats, he decided to turn pro after his first season.

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Heading to the NBA was definitely the right move, financially, as he was selected No. 9 overall by the New York Knicks in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Here’s the weird part:

In high school, Knox’s height was 6 feet 8 inches.

In his official Kentucky biography, Knox was now listed as gaining an inch, standing 6-foot-9.

Yet, in the official press release announcing that he has signed as a free agent with the Pistons, Knox’s height is given as 6-foot-7.

The college and the NBA said he weighed 215 pounds.

So, in the space of four years, Kevin Knox has seemingly shrunk two inches. Has he met Krofft’s former kid’s show villain, Dr. Shrinker?

Well, there is an explanation.

NBA cracks down on heights list

Prior to 2019, teams could roster players pretty much however they wanted. Some tricky little players have been listed at 6ft or -1 when they probably haven’t reached 6ft (former Piston Allen Iverson immediately comes to mind).

On the other hand, crosses can add an inch or two to appear scarier to opponents. A 6-11 Dwight Howard looks more intimidating than a 6-9 Howard.

Calvin Murphy, a star of the Houston Rockets in the 1970s, used to put on eight pairs of socks to give himself an extra inch (he was listed as 5-foot-9).

But the NBA has decided to centralize height-ranking rules. For three years, the league has said players’ height must be measured by the team doctor and the player cannot wear sneakers.

(Although Knox is still listed as 6-9 by RealGM.)

Many NBA players lost an inch with the new rules, but many were able to round up where they had always been listed. But two inches is a bit more than most.

Does the fact that Kevin Knox is 6-7 and not 6-9 really matter. Well, actually it could

Where will Knox play for the Detroit Pistons?

Coming out of college, the fact that Knox was a big man who was an above-average three-point shooter was a strong selling point. He had shot 34% from three-point range at Kentucky (and he’s also 34% from three in his NBA career).

But being 6-7 and only 215 pounds (despite Knox having a 6-11 wingspan) is a bit small for a power forward. As an example, Saddiq Bey, who is Detroit’s incumbent LITTLE front, is also listed as 6-7, 215.

Bey played a few “4s” last year when the Pistons big men were all injured, and he did pretty well. But no one thinks that’s his future position. Heck, Knox is just an inch taller and five pounds lighter than Cade Cunningham.

So would it make sense for Kevin Knox to play small forward?

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It would be up to the defense. There’s a big difference on most NBA teams between keeping power and being small forward.

For example, if you’re playing against the Boston Celtics, the ‘4’ would keep Al Horford 6-10 while, if the ‘3’, you’re chasing around Jayson Tatum. Each player needs different skills to defend themselves.

Coming to Detroit, Knox has wiped the slate clean after a disappointing stopover in Atlanta (and a few disappointing seasons in New York after doing well as a rookie).

If he was 6-9, then Knox would likely automatically be classified as a power forward. But 6-7 and 215? He is either a small ball forward or a small forward.

Coach Dwane Casey will therefore have a few options once training camp begins, on how to use the “incredibly shrinking” Kevin Knox.

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