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Brandon Knight for All-Rookie team

Patrick has repeatedly complained about the Pistons not promoting their players – especially irritating considering how hard they sell their halftime acts. So, we’re doing something about it.

Though the Pistons are finishing a lousy season, they still have players who deserve at least consideration for post-season awards, and we’re going to tell you why. But because we don’t receive a paycheck from the Pistons, we’re not going to stop there like they would if they conducted this campaign themselves. We’re also going to evaluate whether the player actually deserves the honor.

Here’s our look at Brandon Knight for All-Rookie team.

Making the case

Patrick Hayes: I argued early in the year that if you pay too much attention to Knight’s stats, you’ll never be able to enjoy watching him play this season. So, for that reason, it would be silly for me to try and make an argument for him based on his advanced stats.

He’s probably near the bottom of the top 10 if I were to rank rookies based on their impact this season. His passing is still lagging behind, he hasn’t proven he can be a full-time point guard yet and, although he improved later in the season, he turns it over too often.

But I would also argue that no rookie other than maybe Kyrie Irving or Ricky Rubio was asked to do more this season than Knight. Knight came into the NBA clearly raw, clearly needing time to learn his position and clearly a notch below Irving and Rubio in his rookie point guard class. Knight was a backup for just over a week before an injury to Rodney Stuckey put him in the starting lineup.

Knight has had ups and downs all season, but he’s played hard, he’s had a few fantastic games, he’s cut down his turnovers from the beginning of the year when he was a turnover machine and he’s shot the three really well. Plus, he leads all rookies in minutes played and has been incredibly durable.

Dan Feldman: Knight shouldered a heavier burden this season than any rookie save Irving and Rubio. By far, he played the most minutes among rookies this season – 300 more than anyone else. That counts. When on the bench, other rookies weren’t helping their teams.

And Knight played hard for nearly all those minutes. His energy and hustle definitely provided indirect value for the Pistons.

Knight made 3-pointers at an impressive clip, and his passing greatly improved throughout the season. He played within in the game, and perhaps, that somewhat limited his stats. For the most part, Knight appeared to understand his limitations and didn’t force things, leaving more capable veterans to do the heavy lifting.

Honest assessment

Patrick Hayes: He’s definitely on the second team. No question in my mind. It’s hard to put him on the first team — I think Irving, Rubio, Kenneth Faried, MarShon Brooks and Isaiah Thomas are locks for the first team.

It’s not that the second team isn’t going to be competitive as Knight, Chandler Parsons, Kemba Walker, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and Tristan Thompson all have legit claims.

I think Knight has been asked to do much more than most of those guys, though, and reasonably deserves to make it.

Dan Feldman: I sort of think Knight will make the All-Rookie second team, but that’s far from a given. I know I didn’t seriously consider him for the TrueHoop Network All-Rookie first team, and he didn’t make my second-team cut, either. I don’t think Knight as a second teamer would’ve been egregious, but to me, he wasn’t especially close.

Knight is promising, sharing many of the tools of a successful NBA player. But he wasn’t ready to bring them all together this year. All-Rookie teams honor the 10 best rookies, not the 10 most-promising rookies. Knight would probably make the latter list, but he’s a borderline candidate at best for the former.

He turned the ball over too much, didn’t defend nearly as well as his frame suggests he can and had a too-often one-dimensional offense.

That said, I suspect Knight make the actual All-Rookie second team. His scoring average ranks second among rookies, and unfortunately, that’s often too good an indicator for award voting.

Knight left Kentucky after one year, got drafted into a league headed for a lockout that shortened training camp and then was thrust into the starting lineup early in his career. For that, he got valuable experience and millions of dollars. The cost? my All-Rookie vote. I think Knight came out ahead.

16 Comments

  • Apr 26, 20125:29 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Only a Piston could get left off the 1st rookie team being the 2nd leading scorer of all rookies.

    Whenever a Piston gets shafted for individual awards, its always ‘he’s not flashy enough’ or ‘he’s not a high-scoring star’ or ‘his stats aren’t good enough’.

    Now they have Knight who is all of that when it comes to rookies, and he may get the shaft as well.

    IMO, its not even a question, he is a 1st team rookie. When you are 2nd in scoring and 3rd in total pts + rebs + asts for all rookies, you ARE one of the top 5 and have earned a spot on the 1st team.

    Any other year, stats are always the end all be all for these indidual awards. But whenever a Piston has the stats to back him up, stats are not important anymore?  BS

    • Apr 26, 201210:05 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      You kinda missed a large part of the post. Knight’s stats aren’t very good. Yeah, his totals are pretty decent, but his percentages, his efficiency, and his per-minute or per-possession stats are really very poor. Knight has definitely been outplayed by more than 5 other rookies. The fact that he has put up more bulk stats than them by playing more minutes and being generally inefficient doesn’t change that. Kinda like how in college, Cousins’ bulk numbers weren’t that impressive, but when you consider how few minutes he took to get them, that really boosted how impressive he had been.

      Also, if being second in scoring among rookies guarantees you all-rookie first team, shouldn’t being second in scoring overall guarantee you all-nba first team? Most years, that works, but two years ago, Durant was the leading scorer overall, and he rightfully didn’t get all-nba first team. This year, I think Kobe should be second team.

      • Apr 26, 201210:09 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        So I was actually mixed up on that KD reference, but that doesn’t change the fact that lots of points alone should never guarantee any award.

      • Apr 27, 20123:13 am
        by Jack

        Reply

        If totals are not that important explain the situation from last year where Greg Monroe with some of the best Advanced stats gets put on the second team and great players like gary neal and landry fields who had nothing going for them than slightly higher scoring averages get put on the first team.  If the same logic were applied from last years voting kingh should be ranked third in the rankings.

        • Apr 27, 20126:32 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Monroe got majorly slighted. Also, totals are important, but they aren’t the only thing that is important. As was pointed out, just being good enough to get big minutes has some value itself. But being 2nd in total points, 3rd in total P+R+A, and way down the list on advanced stats does not guarantee being a top 5 player. That is pretty much my point. If you want to argue that Knight is a top 5 rookie, make a case for why he deserves it over Thomas/Brooks/Leonard/Thompson/Parsons/Shumpert. He would have to beat out 5 of those guys because Irving, Rubio, and Faried are locks.

        • Apr 27, 20126:46 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Neal and Fields got on the all-Rookie team for the same reason that Rose got MVP: majorly exceeding expectations along with a side of strong media coverage. Knight fits more like Monroe into the conversation (except that he’s not as good). He got drafted high and was predicted go even higher so for people to take notice of his play, he’s got to do significantly better than player taken 10-52 spots later. It’s an unfair standard, but it is a common one. You have to exceed expectations most of the time to get an award.

          That said, Knight’s case is closely enough bunched with the guys Patrick mentioned him competing with on the 2nd team (plus Brooks, Thomas, and Shumpert) that I would not be in the least bit shocked if he got 1st team or if he missed 2nd team. Two of those guys will have to get the “well, there wasn’t really anyone better” bump and two will have to be snubbed. Since there are 5 guys on the 2nd team, that’s what I’d bet on just by virtue of odds.

    • Apr 27, 20123:18 am
      by Max

      Reply

      I totally agree with Mark.  Advanced stats are fine but if Knight is left off of the first team, then the belief in them will have clearly gone too far.   If they were judging these rookies by the standard of MVPs, they would wind up tossing most of the candidates that could by any argument be in front of Knight because they had played too few games.  Did any rookie start more games than Knight this year?  Did any rookie play as many games as Knight?   Was Faried having a better year than Knight was he was racking up the DNPs?   Basic question, who here thinks Macklin had a better year than Knight because his PER was higher?  That’s right, nobody.
      Detroit never gets the credit.  With all due respect to Jason Kidd, it was a travesty when he was named co-rookie of the year with Grant Hill.  Even media darling Grant Hill couldn’t get a fair break from the national writers when he was in a Pistons uniform.
      Awards are meaningless and the list of winners is a popularity contest to rival the Oscars.  I don’t know how anyone can take them seriously after Nash’s back to back MVPs that were both utterly ridiculous and insulting to the game.

      @Patrick   The only one of your locks that can even really boast of having started more than 2/3 of the season was Irving and he started 51 out of 66 games which still approaches missing a quarter of the season.  Also, why is Brooks a lock over Knight?   He shot a better pct?  Well, Knight shot a much better 3 point pct and the biggest statistical difference between them is that Knight averaged more assists in more contests. Knight also was not sharing the backcourt with an elite playmaking point guard to inflate his numbers. 
      I’m a New Yorker and attend Nets game and I think New Jersey would trade Brooks for Knight in less than a New York minute.

  • Apr 26, 20126:02 pm
    by MrBlockedShot

    Reply

    I totally agree, he must make the rookie team. He has been one of the best youngs of the year and has made an impact on this team. But the best from his is yet to come. I think over next year he’s going to improve a lot as he’s going to have a real offseason and preseason.

    • Apr 26, 201210:10 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Last year, he definitely had a real off season.

      • Apr 27, 20123:19 am
        by Max

        Reply

        He meant summer league or were you being sarcastic?

        • Apr 27, 20126:39 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          No, I didn’t realize he meant summer league. I don’t know how much that aids players’ development, but yeah, I’m sure it can’t hurt any. But I wouldn’t chalk up much of his performance, good or bad, to what he missed due to the lockout. Because the exact same excuse could be applied to every opponent he faced and every player he is competing with for any award.

          • Apr 27, 20123:21 pm
            by Max

            The summer league, off season, argument only applies to the players who would have participated which is probably less 5 percent of rotation players.   I would argue that Knight, Rubio, Irving and Thomas  would have benefited the most from a summer league because their coaches would have gotten to teach them the offense they were going to run early and their teams would likely have run more varied plays during the actual season as a result.

  • May 4, 201211:29 am
    by ray

    Reply

    Knight is a top 5 rookie in almost every stat that matters…..he is a rookie and we are talking effiency, only because of the minutes and games he played. he was one of the best 3 point shooters amongst rookies, he was 2nd in scoring, he shot 41% from the field but Marshon Brooks shot 42% ….Knight played in a slow limited talent half court offense, and he produced solid first year numbers

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