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Brandon Knight impresses everyone

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

When Pistons practice ended Tuesday, about half of the weary players headed for the locker room while others hung around shooting and doing some light running.

Then a few others left, leaving rookie Brandon Knight and veteran Will Bynum on the floor.

After Bynum got in some wind sprints, he finally trudged to the locker room, and Knight was on the floor doing a dribbling drill.

Wow. Outworking Will Bynum, even if just once, is no joke.

What about Brandon Knight’s play on the court? Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

Knight just dropped another pretty pass to a cutting Daye. He’s playing a lot better than I thought he would early on. #Pistons

OK, I’m excited. When the Pistons drafted Knight, my biggest questions were about his ability to play point guard efficiently immediately. I loved his long-term potential, and the early reports suggest he’ll be closer to reaching it as a rookie than I imagined.

But before we get carried away – aw heck, let’s just go for it. Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

In just the first five days of training camp, Knight has been everything he was advertised to be – intelligent, talented and incredibly diligent. And he’s been more than that, too. He’s also opened eyes with his readiness to step into an NBA rotation. Lawrence Frank does his best to deflect every question about individuals at this point, but there is a general sense of excitement building within the organization that the Pistons did very well for themselves when Knight unexpectedly fell to No. 8 in last June’s draft.

In the 30 minutes of scrimmaging that Frank allowed reporters to see, Knight made at least three eye-opening passes and one highlight-reel move in the lane for a basket. His level of conditioning is apparent. His ability to knock down shots – everywhere from the rim to the 3-point line – was more or less anticipated, but his floor vision and passing ability, which he’s demonstrated with both hands, might speed up everyone’s timetable for Knight’s expectations.

47 Comments

  • Dec 15, 20112:25 pm
    by druhouse

    Reply

    Whats the situation with Stuckey? And more importantly our realistic options at the back-up two spot?

    • Dec 15, 20112:44 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      He’s still unsigned and according to just about every report, doesn’t appear close to signing.

      • Dec 16, 20117:36 am
        by detroitpcb

        Reply

        Hey, Utah just signed Josh Howard, which means Milsap will be available since plans were to move him to the three out there this year. utah could use a two guard. Do you think we could tade Gordon for Milsap? Does it work under the cap?

        • Dec 16, 201111:24 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          You think Utah would want Gordon’s salary? They just drafted your boy Alec Burks! They don’t need a two guard anymore.

          And no, Detroit would have to take on another salary. Something like Millsap and Raja Bell would work, although like I said, I don’t think Utah would be interested in Gordon and I think a lot of teams would be interested in Millsap.

  • Dec 15, 20112:25 pm
    by druhouse

    Reply

    Also, really hyped up about Knight!

  • Dec 15, 20112:33 pm
    by Steve K

    Reply

    Hard to know how much of this is Pistons’ PR spin… (probably quite a bit)

    But I don’t recall there much talk of Monroe at the preseason last year.

    • Dec 15, 20112:43 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      You’re right, there wasn’t. Mostly because Monroe looked really terrible in summer league, preseason and the first few weeks of the regular season. That makes the year he had even more remarkable because of how lost he looked initially. It took him a while to figure out how to get his shot off without getting it blocked.

      I think the Knight talk is a lot of PR, but Knight was peaking at the end of last season for Kentucky. Most of his struggles came at the beginning of college season, so it’s possible it’s just him continuing an upward trend.

    • Dec 15, 20112:54 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Yeah, Langlois is highly unreliable. I’m betting that if pressed, he would say the Pistons have a puncher’s chance at a title this year.
      But outworking Bynum is impressive. On a related note, when will Bynum get the PT he has earned?

      • Dec 15, 20115:07 pm
        by Laser

        Reply

        Bynum may actually get his due if the Stones are smart enough to trade Stuckey on his qualifying offer for picks or big man help. Then it’s Knight and Bynum at the point (as it should be) with Gordon, Daye and filler at off guard.

        Really does chafe me that we dumped Rip in a hopeless season only to have Stuckey miss training camp over some bullshit contract dispute and truly wear out his welcome. Stuck probably should have been traded regardless, because we have greater needs, and you gotta move assets to get upgrades. Then 66 miserable games later and Rip has a partially guaranteed expiring contract instead of still sitting on our books for another season at $6 mil or so…

        • Dec 15, 20116:08 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Expiring deals have potential value. but it’s usually to take back an overpaid veteran from a team looking to make cap space (ie good for contenders, not good for bottom feeders). And as a partially guaranteed guy, he’d sit on the books for $9M instead of 6, the buyout was nothing incredible, but I’m not gonna complain about it.

  • Dec 15, 20112:35 pm
    by Satchel

    Reply

    So what’s the trade market for Stuckey? Would NO do Stuckey/Villaneueva for Okafor? If Stuckey’s on a one-year deal it’d save them $$ and give them a huge backcourt… seems you’d want to move Stuckey + Bad Contract for a starting big guy, ideally.

    • Dec 15, 20112:40 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I think they could get more for Okafor. He’s overpaid, but he’s a young defensive-minded big man. Those guys are hard to pry away from teams.

  • Dec 15, 20112:36 pm
    by Steve K

    Reply

    PS
    Valenti just said Joe D never made the 5 years/$45M contract. Nor has he received any other offers.

    • Dec 15, 20112:39 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I don’t know how true the contract report is, but it came from Chad Ford, who has always been a go-to source for Dumars.

      • Dec 15, 20115:10 pm
        by Laser

        Reply

        This would have been an interesting piece of misinformation to float out there, but at a bare minimum it’s obvious that Stuckey is haggling for more money or just plain wants out of town. Dude was supposed to be our franchise player and he just spent training camp negotiating a contract he never earned. SMH

        • Dec 15, 20115:30 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          The Dumars quote to reporters a few days ago — when he shrugged his shoulders and kind of sarcastically said “this is Stuckey’s first negotiation” — is a telling one to me. I think Dumars has made an offer, although I’m skeptical it’s as high as the one Ford reported. Dumars has always, always made an offer and essentially not budged on it in every negotiation Feldman and I can remember. Now, I’m not arguing he’s always made wise offers. But I can’t ever recall him getting in a negotiation. He offers what he thinks is fair value for a player and doesn’t move off of that offer. I think Stuckey clearly wants to negotiate and get more money and there is just no precedent that Dumars will negotiate with him, particularly since Stuckey has zero leverage.

          Honestly, if the report was indeed a plant, I’m not sure which side it would come from. It would make sense from Stuckey’s perspective for his agent to plant it in an effort to try and fool teams into thinking there is a market for him at that price and get an offer sheet out of them. But it may also be advantageous for the Pistons to plant a high end number, get fans angry/paint Stuckey’s agents as greedy and put pressure on them to accept whatever is the Pistons’ actual offer.

          This is just going to be a weird saga here. I have no idea what Stuckey is realistically worth. I’ve said in previous posts, I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see him suddenly get it and out-perform an $8 million per year deal and I could also see him being a massive disappointment and more dead money at that price.

          • Dec 15, 20116:30 pm
            by tarsier

            You’re probably right about Dumars way of negotiating. But if so, that would help to explain why he is so bad at contract negotiation. You never lead off with your highest offer. You look for a much lower number you can agree on, especially for an RFA.

  • Dec 15, 20112:44 pm
    by Satchel

    Reply

    I agree RE: Okafor. So what’s a realistic destination for Stuckey if the Pistons do want to move him? I haven’t seen anyone writing about that…

  • Dec 15, 20112:47 pm
    by Shane

    Reply

    Does anyone else feel that Knight is a combined version of Rose and Wall? Sure he isn’t as fast as Wall and doesn’t have the ridiculous dunking power of Rose but he does have a nasty jump shot and is also pretty quick in the lane. He doesn’t seem to lack the court vision that people were clamoring about earlier and seems to be able to make pretty good passes

    • Dec 15, 20112:51 pm
      by Steve K

      Reply

      If Stuck was a combination of Rose and Wall, he’d be signed.

      I will admit that AT TIMES, he’s shown explosiveness. But, more often, he’s shown an inability to finish at the rim, a below-average jumpshot, and an average-at-best ability to see the court.

      This comes from no place of malice. I really wanted Stuckey to succeed. To the detriment of my wife, I watch every single game… even during these piss-poor years. And there just hasn’t been improvement worthy of a big dollar contract.

      • Dec 15, 20112:54 pm
        by Shane

        Reply

        I’m not talking about Stuck… KNIGHT

        • Dec 15, 20112:56 pm
          by Steve K

          Reply

          True true.

          • Dec 16, 201112:22 am
            by D_S_V

            Hahahahahaha

  • Dec 15, 20112:56 pm
    by bball4224

    Reply

    Where’s the love for Charlie V, everything is sayin he didn’t miss a shot during the scrimmage. Oh I forgot everyone besides me here hates him…

    • Dec 15, 20112:59 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Villanueva has been in the league six years. I’m glad he had a nice scrimmage and all, but it’s hard to get excited about a guy’s practice when he has a long track record of being an inconsistent performer in real games. People are excited about Knight playing well in practices right off the bat because he’s a rookie with one year of college experience.

  • Dec 15, 20112:57 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    naw… he’s not a Rose-Wall. Both Rose and Wall are known for athleticism and crazy dunks.
    Wall is also known for passing ability.

    Knight is more known as a Chauncey Billups type - a shooter that can play smart.
    But if he becomes a better passer with court vision as they say he is, I can see him creating his own mold – like a taller version of Chris Paul.

    Knight is not only disciplined, but he also feels disrespected because he dropped from #3 pick to #8.

    He was (i think) the number one high school player in the country a year ago, he has a reserved personality, but he does not lack confidence.

  • Dec 15, 20113:00 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    joe should sign stuckey and trade him.
    but it is getting increasingly clear that stuckey is trying to find a way out of town, via this negotiating process.
    hopefully, joe won’t do his usual dump job.  doubt that he will because he’s invested so much in stuckey.  in fact, the entire pistons’ collapse can probably be tied into joe’s mistaken faith in stuckey’s ability to handle the point guard spot.
    and you are correct, chad ford must have a private line into dumars’ office.  kinda like a “bat phone”.  whenever joe wants to get information out, he calls chad.

  • Dec 15, 20113:52 pm
    by John

    Reply

    Trading stuckey and Charlie V. would not be a bad idea. with Chris Kaman, Emeka Okafor and Carl Landry signing, they wouldn’t lose much.

  • Dec 15, 20114:03 pm
    by RyanK

    Reply

    According to pistons.com we rip off all the teams in-front of us every year with our draft picks.  Usually doesn’t workout as well as they say it’s going to.  Monroe might be the real deal, but all the others have come up short.  Samb, Max, Amir, I heard the Mutumbo, Barkley, KG comparisons.  Stuckey was a Wade/CBill Hybrid.  Jonas is still a question mark in my book.
     
    It’s nice to hear positive things though.  Hopefully Knight can give the Pistons more options with Stuckey.  If Knight can play big minutes, maybe the Pistons can broker a deal to bring in another big man or veteran PG to keep this team moving back to the playoffs.  The Stuckey problem isn’t as big of a deal if we have a guy ready to take his place.
     

    • Dec 15, 20116:12 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Yeah, Langlois is the worst homer I’ve ever read.

      But I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers for most teams’ sites think they got a steal every draft.

  • Dec 15, 20114:05 pm
    by Satchel

    Reply

    Right? But that’s the only team in the Association that seems like even a possibly good fit… and that’s mostly just because it’d lower their payroll even more at the end of the season. Figure it’d take Stuckey/CV/+ 1st round pick to make it worthwhile for NO to trade Okafor…

    Still hard to see how NO (or anyone else?) would be interested… again, who’d wants Stuckey w/his overvalued contract expectations and so forth? Isn’t Detroit bidding against themselves for Stuckey if they sign him long-term? Why not just top out at a take-it-or-leave-it at 5yr/30 mil?

  • Dec 15, 20114:52 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    The REAL story here is how Joe Dumars should be praised for making such a bold, daring, enterprising move in drafting Knight over some bullshit middling big man prospect who had no business getting drafted on the lottery. Joe does not get nearly enough credit for selecting top five prospect when they inexplicably slip to the middle of the lottery. “Four more years! Four more years!” Right, guys??

    • Dec 15, 20115:20 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Haha. Your armchair draft analysis always amuses me. Monroe went about one spot lower than he was projected. I challenge you to find one scouting service or draft analyst who had Monroe in the ballpark of the Wall-Cousins-Favors-Turner group prior to the draft. Those guys were a unanimous top four, and Minnesota fell in love with Wes Johnson and made it known they were drafting him from day one. I’ve said this before to you, and I’m sure you believe what you want to believe, but Monroe was picked by a large number of outlets of having the highest bust potential of any top 10 guy. He lacked athleticism and there were serious questions about his rebounding, motivation and consistency at Georgetown.

      Now, Golden State should’ve picked him. But to argue with the knowledge that there was at the time of Monroe’s college career and his up and down workouts (reports were that he wasn’t impressive in front of a few teams) that he was some sort of can’t-miss guy in that draft who free fell for no discernible reason is completely inaccurate. He fell one spot further than he should’ve and then worked his ass off to out-produce some of the guys who were once considered better prospects than him during his rookie season. Good on him for that.

      As for Knight, he was also the right pick, no question about that, and he probably could’ve gone a spot or two higher at best. But come on now … the only reason he was projected top five was because there was an assumption teams like Utah and Toronto would reach for him because they needed a PG. Until four lottery prospects decided not to enter the draft, Knight wasn’t even considered a lottery prospect. He was 15-20 range. So Utah passed for a better prospect in Kanter, Cleveland didn’t need him after taking Irving, Toronto passed for a better prospect in Jonas V, Washington passed for a better prospect in Vesely (and had no need for him with Wall) and Charlotte passed for a better prospect in Biyombo. Knight went in about the right spot. He didn’t inexplicably fall. He was about the 8th best prospect in the draft and the second best PG prospect.

      It’s fair game to criticize Dumars for a variety of things at this point. But to act like Monroe and Knight were some homerun can’t miss studs who fell because other teams were incompetent is crazy. In Monroe’s case, one guy who was considered a worse prospect at the time (Udoh) went ahead of him. In Knight’s case, no one who went in front of him was considered a worse prospect. I hope Knight out-plays those guys just like Monroe did, but any draft argument has to use facts and information available at the time of the draft, not after the fact.

      • Dec 15, 20116:21 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        I’d have to disagree that Vesely and Biyombo were considered better prospects than Knight. They were on the same tier but there was no consensus as to which of them was best. But you’re right that the reason he was projected so high was an assumption that Utah or Toronto would reach. And Toronto still might have if Cleveland didn’t shockingly take Thompson over Valanciunas. The only very good prospect who inexplicably fell was Kawhi Leonard.

        As for Laser’s constant harping onthe fact thatthere was no way anyone could have passed on Monroe in Dumars’ shoes last year, that logic could be applied to GS last year, to several teams on Leonard this year, and to a ton of teams on Blair two years ago. And yet teams do pass on the “obvious prospect.” Let’s face it, they have more info than us and if we are going to hold Darko against Dumars, we have to credit him for Monroe (and especially Knight if he turns out, I wouldn’t have been shocked at all if Joe had taken a Morris at 8).

        • Dec 15, 201110:28 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Well, maybe better prospects is the wrong word. Vesely was considered a lottery level prospect longer than Knight was though, according to the mock drafts I followed. Knight seriously improved his stock with Kentucky’s tourney run and got into the lottery discussion when other guys stayed in school.

          And Biyombo was just the draft’s enigma. He had huge momentum, monster performances at the big pre draft showcase and a few great workouts, along with off the charts measurables. Knight had an inconsistent college season (albeit one that got better at the end) and some so-so workouts.

          I just meant that if we were ranking prospects in this draft, Knight would probably fall in the 7-10 range at best. He was drafted right about where he should’ve been expected to be drafted.

      • Dec 15, 20118:15 pm
        by Laser

        Reply

        Naturally I’m inclined to amuse myself and you guys with my rhetoric, but the underlying point, all rhetoric aside, is that Joe had the two easiest decisions of his life the last two drafts. Complete and total no-brainers. 100% slam dunk picks, every bit as easy as LeBron going #1 in 2003. No other candidates even close where we picked. That’s all.

        So when this kid breaks through it’s going to be all about what a bold, rogue visionary Joe is. What a brave, wise choice he made. I’m just bracing myself for that. He’s such a wonderful GM and a wonderful man. We’re so lucky to have him!

        • Dec 15, 20119:11 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          But, of course, my point is that you are wrong. They may well not be no-brainer, slam dunk picks. Just because they would have been your top choice doesn’t mean that they would be for someone with more information. Again, see the examples I listed of obvious, no-brainer, slam dunk picks that were apparently not so. Also, i would maintain that while Knight would have also been my choice at 8 given the options left, Leonard would have been a close second. Of course, that’s just my opinion and not all that valuable, but my point is that many GMs opinions may not be the same as yours. And that doesn’t make them any worse.

        • Dec 15, 201110:18 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Well, if Monroe was a no-brainer, slam dunk “Lebron James in 2003″ pick, he would’ve been taken over Udoh.

          And as for Knight, yeah, he was the right pick. I think he was the best prospect available in a flawed draft. I won’t say that it was a brave, wise choice, but it was a gutsy choice. There were safe big men available (the Morris twins, for example) who filled an obvious need. Knight has a ways to go to develop and he didn’t fill a position of need. Plus, the team has been intent on re-signing Stuckey and they’re for better or worse (mostly worse) committed to Ben Gordon at SG. So yeah, the gulf between Knight and a Morris wasn’t so wide that he was a no-brainer pick when considering this particular roster. Still the right pick, but far from the only option.

          There are plenty of moves to criticize Dumars about. I don’t get the need to criticize about two that I think he got right. The draft is all about luck. Teams invest comparable amounts of resources into their scouting departments, they work guys out, they are all looking at the same pool of prospects, and every year, with the exception of usually the top one or two guys, there is wide variance from team to team on everyone else. Even can’t miss picks miss sometimes. I don’t think Dumars deserves an obscene amount of credit for picking these guys, but I also don’t think he or any GM deserves all that much blame for missing on a pick either. Both scenarios happen to everyone.

          • Dec 16, 20115:17 am
            by Laser

            Udoh was unavailable. If Joe picked up the phone and said “Udoh” the voice on the other end would have told him that the Warriors had JUST drafted him. I’m sure you catch my drift. Any GM with the faintest interest in keeping his job drafts Monroe where we drafted him.

            As for the previous commenter’s bit about Kawhi Leonard, I admit to really liking the guy and wanting him on the team, but you just can’t draft him that high. As bad as you might want that kind of player, 100% of people take Knight there. Leonard was my second favorite player on the board, but a pretty distant second. Love to have them both, but there’s no decision there at all.

          • Dec 16, 20117:29 am
            by Murph

            “And as for Knight, yeah, he was the right pick. I think he was the best prospect available in a flawed draft. I won’t say that it was a brave, wise choice, but it was a gutsy choice.”

            Please, we haven’t played a game yet.  We haven’t even played an exhibition game.  Obviously, I hope Knight works out, but it’s pre-mature to call him the right pick, already.

            He has to play better than Kemba Walker for him to be the right choice.

          • Dec 16, 201110:03 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            That’s a different argument. You can only make draft decisions with the knowledge you have at the time. Virtually all of the scouting available prior to the draft had Knight rated slightly higher than Walker because he’s younger and bigger.

            Now, Walker could very well out-perform and Knight could under-perform, then with the benefit of hindsight, that changes things. But with the info available at the time, I think most would agree that Knight was the best prospect on the board when the Pistons picked. I don’t think there was as wide a gulf between Knight and guys like the Morrises and Leonard as Laser thinks, but I think he pretty clearly has more upside than those guys.

          • Dec 16, 201111:44 am
            by tarsier

            The point about Udoh, which I’m sure you understand, Laser, even if you pretend not to, is that if Monroe were such a slam dunk no-brainer, the Warriors would have taken him over Udoh. Epke Udoh and Ed Davis were about equally rated going into the draft. So if there is a chance that someone takes Udoh over Monroe (which obviously there was) then there is also a chance someone takes Davis over Monroe.

            Yes, Monroe was easily the consensus highest pick player left. But that was the case for Golden State too. They are used as ab example to show that what seems cut and dry to a fan may not be to a GM. Another example of this is DeJuan Blair who was the obvious top consensus pick for about 15 GMs before San Antonio finally grabbed him.

          • Dec 16, 201112:47 pm
            by Laser

            Well, this is the draft and if upside isn’t everything, it’s certainly almost everything, of Knight had distinctly the most upside, which he did, he’s the right pick. Especially given our desperate need for someone you could call a point guard without bursting into laughter. In the case of Monroe vs Udoh or Davis, Monroe had the most upside with more bust potential than a pair of bigs where you knew what you were getting and it was nothing spectacular. Near as I can tell, Golden State wanted athleticism and defense above all else. Detroit needed a home run. Neither Davis nor Udoh was getting us over any humps. But the absolute bottom line is that Ed Davis looks too much like Amir Johnson to draft that high, and we just got through dumping him for under $2m in cap space. I simply don’t believe that anybody else in Joe’s chair drafts any differently.

  • Dec 15, 20115:01 pm
    by Shane

    Reply

    The Pistons should NEVER trade our 1st round draft picks.. probably would be the biggest mistake (after all the others the Pistons have made up to this point)

  • Dec 15, 20115:49 pm
    by jprime18

    Reply

    This makes me even more excited about Knight.

  • Dec 15, 201111:21 pm
    by Travis

    Reply

    Well if the Pistons are happy about how great Knight is turning out to be then maybe that gives them the leverage to give stuckey a really low offer or sign and trade him.

  • [...] worry is that, despite hitting on 2010 first-rounder Monroe and early reports suggesting that he may have hit on 2011 first-rounder Brandon Knight, Detroit president of [...]

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