While much will be made of Giannis Antetokounmpo making his Christmas debut - and rightly so - the young New York Knicks team that he's set to face features an intriguing trio of rookies in Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Allonzo Trier that are set to take centre stage.
NBA.com recently spent time with each of the Knicks rookies to chat about their experience, the NBA lifestyle and their unique situation.
Get to know Kevin Knox
• No. 9 overall pick
• Third-youngest player in the NBA (born Aug. 11, 1999)
• Averaging 11.1 points and 4.1 rebounds through 27 games
When New York used the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft to select Knox from the University of Kentucky, Knicks fans on hand at the Barclays Center weren't exactly welcoming to the 6-foot-9 forward. When asked about the reception, the then-18-year-old responded with wisdom well beyond his years, sharing that he would use his draft-night experience as motivation moving forward.
It didn't take long for him to win the fans over.
Weeks after the draft, Knox took the Vegas Summer League by storm, earning All-League honours for his performance in the four games in which he appeared.
Kevin Knox was named to the All-NBA Summer League First Team after averaging 21.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists over four games.- NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) July 17, 2018
Fast forward five months to December and the rookie is looking increasingly comfortable in his role as a starter on the big stage.
This gradual progress is a part of the rookie experience that Knox attributes to the guidance of the veterans in New York's locker room and the team's coaching staff:
"[The rookie experience] has been pretty good; a lot of learning, a lot of growing - learning from the vets, getting better every single day. I've got some good vets on my team and got some great coaches, so they teach me a lot of new things."
Learning and growth is a common theme, as each of the Knicks' three rookies plays over 17 minutes per game, a situation Knox realizes is very unique: "It's cool just to know we've got three rookies on the team that play significant minutes," the rookie told NBA.com. "Not a lot of teams have rookies that play as much as we do."
In addition to Robinson and Trier, New York has a number of other solid young pieces in its core and still awaits the return of All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis from a torn ACL suffered in Feb. 2018. With all the Knicks have in place, they will re-insert themselves in playoff conversation in the coming years.
While the distant future is bright, Knox maintains that he is focused on individual improvement this season - both on and off the court. He told NBA.com his biggest goal for the 2018-19 season is "getting better every single day, I want to win as much as possible - that's the biggest thing to me - but, being able to grow as a person as well as a player both on and off the court."
He's well on his way.