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Brandon Knight fourth in Grantland’s week one ‘Rookie Rankings’

Sebastian Pruiti, formerly of the excellent NBA Playbook, is now writing for ESPN’s Grantland. In his first edition of his ‘rookie rankings,’ he has Brandon Knight ranked fourth (note: these are for performances through Jan. 1):

With so many dynamic ball handlers in the NBA, pick and rolls have become a staple in most teams’ playbooks. Most teams’ goal in defending the pick and roll is to stop the play without committing a third defender. To do this, the point guard must get through screens. This is something Brandon Knight has done well early in his career. Right now, when Knight defends the ball handler in pick-and-roll situations, he forces turnovers 25 percent of the time. Much of that has to do with Knight’s length, but it also has to do with his effort on defense.

That defensive effort and intensity has been Knight’s greatest asset so far. He’s made some mistakes offensively, but he always looks to make up for them by getting back and playing tough defense. Pruiti has Knight currently ranked behind Ricky Rubio, Norris Cole and MarShon Brooks. He also has Knight ahead of Kyrie Irving, who is fifth.

6 Comments

  • Jan 7, 20129:40 am
    by Steve K

    Reply

    Obviously it’s super early, but Knight’s defense is an unexpected and excellent development. It’s not unlike Monroe’s surprising aptitude to rebound so well, when most draft pundits thought that would be a weakness.

    If Knight continues to improve defensively, no doubt his offense will benefit from increased steals and stops.

  • Jan 7, 201210:41 am
    by tarsier

    Reply

    I don’t think Knight deserves to be ahead of Irving. He has only had one good game thus far. He is shooting 42% from the field and 30% from three. He has just 3 free throw attempts on 72 field goal attempts. His defense is a plus, but his play has thus far been akin to Keith Bogans last year. I love Knight and all and am excited about his upside, especially the defensive capacity he has shown. But how does 10/3/3 on 10 shots in 25 mpg beat 14/4/5 on 12 shots in 26 mpg?

    • Jan 7, 201212:37 pm
      by danny

      Reply

      You just explained how.

      And I know Frank wants to take the approach of putting the best team on the floor, or making Knight earn his minutes, or whatever, but Knight is our future, and he needs to start. The more he plays, the quicker he’ll cut out the TO’s and get comfortable.

    • Jan 7, 20121:07 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I explained how? I mentioned Knight’s poor numbers. Unless you mean the defense which is really only slightly better than Irving’s imo. And their TOs are comparable too.

    • Jan 7, 20121:30 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      @tarsier:

      The list was for Jan. 1 and prior performances. Irving had a 20 point/6 assist/0 turnover/80 percent shooting night Jan. 3. Also, I think Knight’s shooting numbers have declined more after Jan. 1. For the performances he looked at to do the first week of rankings, I think the two were probably more comparable.

      • Jan 7, 20123:29 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        oh, i didn’t realize it was for up to jan 1. i see you said that but i must have missed it. objections retracted.

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