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Pistons ratchet up expectations for Brandon Knight even further

Pistons.com writer Keith Langlois:

He’s got real basketball smarts and a competitive streak a mile wide that, I feel strongly, will enable Knight to squeeze everything out of his impressive array of physical gifts.

Pistons play-by-play man George Blaha:

Then you go to rookie point guard Brandon Knight, who has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that he’s going to be a standout point guard in our league for years to come.

I’ll echo Patrick in wishing the Pistons allowed Brandon Knight’s actual production to catch up with his hype.


  • Apr 22, 20126:31 pm
    by Max


    The boiling down of everything to advanced stats has gone way to far in my view.  Even the article you link begins by proving its contradictions and the fact that it merely suggests and helps prove the case for or against a player.
    Brandon Knight had a pretty good year in my view.  He showed plenty of flashes, had his share of 20 point nights and games when he put up 6 assists or more.   He played competitively and hustled defensively and shot the 3 point shot pretty well.  He had nights when he outplayed all stars.  He basically put up 13, 4, 3 as a rookie point guard.  I’m not sure how much more I can expect from a freshman coming out of college at twenty years old.
    And what is the precedent here?   Lindsey Hunter was a 23 year old Piston rookie who put up 10, 5, 2 with a steal and a half–he would never average as many assists again due to the drafting of Grant Hill and how he subsequently developed.   However, Hunter’s PER that year was 12.  Brandon Knight’s this is 11.7 but he is playing more minutes during a lockout season at 20 years old and isn’t sharing the court with Joe Dumars is in his prime as a backcourt mate.
    Some might say Stuckey had a better rookie year because his PER was 13.8 but Knight’s actual production, as in production (not advanced stats), was much greater.
    One of the problems with advanced stats is that they can’t accurately predict how a player would respond in a different context or more importantly, with more or less minutes.  One of the problems I have with the champions of advanced stats is that they never seem to allow for the notion that a player who plays a lot of minutes would see his PER rise if he wasn’t playing so many minutes.   They never allow for the fact that approaching 30 or 40 minutes a night can be a burden and especially for rookies.  A player who plays a lot of minutes is too often seen as somehow greedy when the fact is rather that they are shouldering the load because they are viewed by their coach as the most able to do so.  A coach may even think a certain player’s presence is more important than their production during certain minutes; for instance, with considerations to floor spacing and who has to be guarded defensively.
    Bottom line.   Knight played a lot more minutes than Stuckey and a reasonable amount more than Hunter.   He also has started 56 games during a shortened season so far whereas Hunter started 26 and Struckey started 2 during full years.   He was also younger than either player was during their rookie campaigns.
    So Knight is the best Pistons rookie point guard since Isiah Thomas three decades ago.   That doesn’t suggest he is anywhere near to Thomas’s level but I for one think Knight has reason to feel proud of his rookie season even though he has much to improve.   I also flatter myself that it is not merely wishful thinking when I think that he will improve his numbers across the board next season.

    • Apr 22, 20127:05 pm
      by tarsier


      Stats, basic or advanced, rarely do a good job of predicting player development. They are all about where the player is at right now. I love me some advanced stats, but for player projections, give me the eyeball test all day and every day.

      That said, there are two things that are very disappointing about Knight’s stats thus far. First, his 2pt% is abysmal at just 43%. Second, his turnover rate really needs improvement. He gets 2.6 per game. You can live with turnovers if they are caused by active ball distribution or regular wild excursions down the lane, but his 3.8 apg and 0.17 FTA/FGA implies neither is the case. Losing the ball that much on low risk plays is unacceptable. But both of these, as I mentioned before, are criticisms of the player Knight is, not the one he will be. I will wait a couple years to criticize the faults of a Brandon Knight in his prime (and hope that I will really have to nitpick in order to be able to do so).

    • Apr 23, 20125:22 am
      by oats


      Comparing Knight to Stuckey and Hunter seems odd since neither of them are actually good point guards. That’s the real complaint about Knight, not that he can’t play, but that he isn’t a point guard. For that matter, using either advanced stats or basic box score stats shows that Knight is actually worse at point guard stuff (assists and not turning the ball over) than Stuckey was as a rookie. That’s a little concerning for the point guard of the future, especially since Stuckey’s skill as a point guard was so lacking that he had to be moved to shooting guard. I’ll concede that stats are not great at predicting any individual player’s development. That said, it is totally fair to point out that very few guys with a profile like Knight’s turn into the kind of point guard the Piston’s seem to think he will be. His stats do suggest he could make a good shooting guard. Given that his height limits his ability to defend the 2, it seems likely that he would be a bench player that gets some minutes at either position instead of a starting shooting guard.
      By the way, as to your point about advanced stats not being particularly good at looking at context, you should be aware that basic stats are even worse for that. For example, Stuckey sat on the bench behind 2 All Stars while Knight only needed to beat out a player who used to be Ben Gordon for starters minutes. I guess he is still technically Ben Gordon, but he really doesn’t play much like the guy who was in Chicago. Basic stats don’t account for that at all, and suggest that Knight’s crappier team mates make him the better player (that is really what you were arguing when you pointed at Knight’s production and not per minute production). I guess I just don’t get this argument. It seems pretty clear to me that while not perfect, advanced stats do a better job evaluating players than their traditional counterparts. If you want to argue that they are sometimes overvalued, then fine. I actually agree that they don’t tell the whole story. That said, they do a much better job than either box score stats or an untrained eye. I actually think they are better than most trained eyes. There’s a reason most every team in the NBA makes use of them. Advanced stats show you things you might otherwise have missed.

  • Apr 23, 20123:28 am
    by Trent


    I think high expectations of this guy are justified. He obviously has some elite talent and that coupled with the way he works in training and his attitude…I foresee a long prosperous career as an on-floor leader. Couldn’t agree more on the stats as a accurate predictor of a players development however.

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