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.
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