The hype has hit overdrive for Kentucky freshman small forward Kevin Knox.
Kevin Knox Sr., Knox’s father and manager, told The Post he believes the Knicks are considering taking his son with the ninth pick in Thursday’s draft. According to an NBA source, Knox got the better of Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, another projected lottery pick, in their joint workout for the Knicks nine days ago.
“He had a terrific workout, even kicked around Miles Bridges, who is a couple of years older than him,’’ said the NBA source.
Knox, a 6-foot-9 shotmaker and the second youngest player in the draft (he’ll turn 19 in August), has seen his draft stock rocket since private workouts began.
Contacted by The Post on Monday, Knox’s father, a former NFL wide receiver, said he senses the Knicks are serious, judging by a phone call he received from general manager Scott Perry a few days after that killer workout. Knox admitted Perry’s call partly revolved around his son’s youth and whether he would fit into a locker room with significantly older players.
Knox Sr., whose quarterback at Florida State was ex-Knick Charlie Ward, said he spoke to Perry for about 20 minutes.
“You never know, but I was thinking why would management call again to chat it up for 20 minutes about a potential client?’’ Knox Sr. said. “We talked about the roster and what a perfect fit he could be. That’s what Scott and I talked out. Scott said he seems mature for his age.
“Maybe Scott was calling to make sure I wasn’t a Lavar [Ball],’’ he added jokingly.
It sounded as if the Knicks could be Knox’s preference.
“An opportunity in New York, we’re excited about it,’’ he said. “There would be nice young building blocks with my son, [Kristaps] Porzingis, Frank [Ntilikina], Tim Hardaway Jr., [Emmanuel] Mudiay, Enes Kanter. They could be the Boston Celtics one day.’’
After the Knicks workout, the father called his son for feedback.
“He gave himself an A-minus,’’ Knox Sr. said. “He said he had a lot of energy, was bouncing off the walls. [Coach David] Fizdale came over and showed support. It was a three-on-three. I heard he got the better of Miles, knocked down shots, put it on the floor — Paul George-ish.’’
With suspect defense, Knox was originally seen, at best, as a late lottery pick because of his “project’’ status, but now there are rumblings he could go as high as No. 7 to Chicago.
“Listen, after the fifth pick, I’m not going to use the restroom anymore,’’ Knox Sr. quipped.
Knox has worked out for every team selecting sixth through 12th. On Tuesday, he is headed back to the Sixers, who select 10th, but only to meet and have dinner with coach/GM Brett Brown before Knox heads to New York for the draft.
ESPN’s “Draft Express” mock draft placed Knox with the Knicks at No. 9 in recent days. ESPN reported the Knicks asked Knox if he had any more workouts scheduled with clubs drafting ahead of them.
Knox Sr. said his son would be used to the scrutiny in New York because of his experience at Kentucky, which garners college basketball’s most media attention.
If point guard Trae Young or Duke center Wendell Carter aren’t available at No. 9, the Knicks could be faced with a sure-thing selection of Villanova small forward Mikal Bridges, 21, or the risk-reward pick of Knox.
On a conference call to promote ESPN’s draft coverage, Bobby Marks, a former Nets executive, said too much attention is paid to individual workouts and favoring 18-year-olds over 21-year-olds. Marks’ contention is going with the more proven commodity even if two years older is fine. Bridges, a redshirt junior, was at Villanova for four years.
“I think you get into that tendency where everyone is looking for that 18- to 19-year-old kid that can be the next Giannis [Antetokounmpo], instead of maybe taking the next — and I’m not saying Mikal Bridges is Draymond Green — where you’re taking a player that has been in school, is maybe a little bit older where maybe the upside is not there,’’ Marks said. “I think that’s where you get in trouble a lot, when you start looking at an age. Maybe an older player that you bypassed based on ‘you know what he is’ instead of a Kevin Knox that maybe you think you do, but are projecting out.”
Knox said after a recent interview he feels he’s “what the NBA wants — a long guy who can really handle the ball and shoot the ball and make multiple decisions.’’
Michael Porter Jr., doing a series of interviews to promote his new sponsorship deal, hinted on SiriusXM Radio he’s got a near guarantee from a club selecting high. If true, the Knicks could be out of the running. “There’s some teams out there that really like me that are high up there,’’ Porter Jr. said.
Speculation is Porter could fall to No. 9 because of his back issues that flared up last week and initially caused cancellation of his workout. (It was later held as scheduled.)
A source told The Post that Porter suffered from “hip spasms.’’ There was a report stating he had trouble getting out of bed — which he firmly denied Monday on CBS Radio.
“My agent was very cautious, [it was] a little sore, nothing that serious,” Porter said. “There’s no risk of reinjury. There’s no risk as much people [as] are making it seem.’’
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