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Is Brandon Knight progressing? Yes, but it’s complicated

Since I’ve been writing about basketball, I can’t remember a young prospect more polarizing than Brandon Knight.

I don’t like to get into the whole ‘eye test’ vs. ‘advanced stats’ debate simply because anyone who advocates solely one way or the other when it comes to player evaluation is clearly not doing it right. NBA front offices are virtually all incorporating some form of advanced metrics into player scouting, so it’s pretty foolish for fans to try and draw any conclusions about players without both watching a lot of film on that player and delving deep into what the statistics say or don’t say about what you’re seeing on the court. You can’t draw meaningful conclusions if you only look at the statistics. And you can’t draw meaningful conclusions if you think advanced stats are for big nerdy NERDS who should just WATCH THE GAMEZ! You need both, and it’s so clear at this point I don’t even like to acknowledge that there’s a debate any more between the two extreme positions.

The problem with Knight, though, is he’s the rare player who is fully embraced by one extreme and who has no believers at the other extreme, so it’s hard not to mention that alleged ‘debate’ in any Knight discussion. If you evaluate Knight using only the eye test, he looks like a fantastic point guard prospect. First and foremost, John Calipari does not recruit players who are not elite prospects physically, so he has that going for him. Say what you will about Calipari, but I trust the man’s eye for elite talent like few others at the NCAA level. Knight has prototypical size and quickness. He’s strong for a guard and has long arms, which combined with his quickness, make him look like a good defensive player. He has a quick release on his jumper and he’s the team’s best 3-point shooter. His work ethic is obvious both through multiple accounts of those who watch him up close and by the fact that, physically, he looks bigger and stronger than he did as a rookie. This season, just by watching Pistons games, he’s often looked like a player who has made a big jump forward in his development — he’s looked more aggressive and his assists and shooting percentages are up significantly from his rookie season. Knight also has a flair for the dramatic late in games, and those moments tend to stand out in peoples’ memories more than mistakes or mediocre play. If I were to make an educated guess on Knight’s progress based just on what I’ve watched, I’d feel confident saying he’s improved significantly.

But as I pointed out above, it’s impossible to make an educated evaluation of a player these days without paying attention to the statistics, and although Knight’s stats are better, they don’t make as convincing a case for dramatic improvement as the eye test does.

Not all the stats are unkind to Knight this season. His shooting percentage is up to a respectable 43 percent. His 3-point shooting — already a very good 37 percent as a rookie — is in the low 40s this season. He’s getting to the line more and finishing better. He’s averaging 6.7 assists per 36 minutes compared to 4.2 per 36 last season. His assist percentage has jumped from 21 percent to 31 percent. He’s putting up solid rebounding numbers for a guard and he’s had decent increases in advanced stats like PER, true shooting percentage and win shares per 48 minutes.

Those are all improvements that should not be overlooked. The problem, however, is that Knight is a point guard. A point guard the Pistons are counting on to be a franchise cornerstone, in fact. As a rookie who didn’t have the full responsibility of handling the ball and running the offense, he still turned the ball over a lot — 2.9 times per 36 minutes/17.1 percent turnover percentage, to be exact. As a second-year player entrusted with a more significant responsibility in running the offense, those numbers have gone up pretty dramatically  — 3.8 turnovers per 36 minutes and a 21.9 percent turnover percentage. That’s the one area of his game where the stats and the eye test align. For all of the visual improvements to Knight’s game, it’s still easy to see that he had a tendency to get out of control, make ill-advised passes or make passes a split second later than he should be, which usually result in a turnover or deflection, and the stats back that up.

The heightened turnovers are somewhat explainable, though. Lawrence Frank didn’t unveil all parts of his offensive or defensive systems last season because the lockout gave the team limited preparation and practice time. This season, Knight not only has a bigger role in running the offense, but he’s likely being asked to run more sets or at the very least a system that has wrinkles in it that weren’t used often last season. Knight is still a young point guard and turnovers are an issue for most young point guards, particularly ones who are trying to become less shoot-first and better at running a halfcourt offense as Knight is attempting to do.

What is less explainable, though, is Knight’s dropoff in defense. Knight’s defensive rating was 109 as a rookie and it’s slightly worse at 110 this season. He’s getting significantly fewer steals too (.7 per 36 minutes last season, .4 this season; 1.2 percent steal percentage last season, .7 percent this season), a disappointment considering his quickness and long arms, which should theoretically help him get into passing lanes.

It would be foolish to say that Knight hasn’t improved this season. His improved shooting is certainly a great development if he can maintain it. But I’m not ready to say what he’s improving towards. In all honesty, the more I watch Knight, the more I see a shooting guard. Ben Gulker of Detroit Bad Boys had a great comparison for him on Twitter a few weeks back, suggesting Knight with maximized potential could be a Jason Terry type of player. If I were making a prediction on Knight right now, I wouldn’t bank on Knight as a longterm point guard. With his shooting, imagine if he played with a pass-first point guard and could be more of a catch-and-shoot player? He could excel in that type of role. He’d be small for a shooting guard, but not so tiny that he couldn’t compete at the position. He handles the ball well enough and passes well enough to occasionally make plays for others, but as a shooting guard, he wouldn’t have either of those things as his primary responsibility.

I wouldn’t say that there’s no chance Knight develops into an above average starting point guard in the league. He’s still very young and still learning one of the two most complex NBA positions to play. It wouldn’t be a complete shock to me if a light suddenly went on for him this season or next and he became a competent lead guard. But even though he’s shown some improvements from last season, I think it’s premature to assume that the light is going on for him right at this moment.

56 Comments

  • Dec 1, 201212:28 pm
    by Domnick

    Reply

    Id like to believe that bk’s game was similar to conley during first two years in the nba.. Now conley knows how to control the offense.. Knight should learn from him….

    if not then he is another failed experiment like stuckey 

  • Dec 1, 201212:29 pm
    by JYD

    Reply

    Wasn’t JET one time point guard of the future for Atlanta? 
    That ended with them missing out on CP3 n D-Will on later draft in favor of Marvin, and they ended up playing through their best years with Bibby at PG (and Acie Law).
    He could become Terry, that’s the best case scenario,  poor-man Jamal Crawford maybe as well, but i doubt that’s gonna happen in Detroit. As long as he is here he’ll remain ”point guard of the future”, then he will be traded (or walk away as FA) and someone else will realize how to utilize him better.

    • Dec 1, 201212:41 pm
      by Desolation Row

      Reply

      Terry = poor man’s Jamal Crawford? I disagree.

      • Dec 1, 20121:37 pm
        by JYD

        Reply

        I meant BK becoming poor-man Crawford (or something like that maybe that wasn’t the best comparison) not that Terry is poor man Crawford.

        • Dec 1, 20121:50 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Crawford-esque players have a place in this league. But a poor man’s Crawford? If that’s Knight, might as well cut ties with him right away. That would be a useless thing to have. No point employing a poor man’s version of a limited role player. Just go get a limited role player.

          • Dec 1, 20122:07 pm
            by JYD

            well, poor man Jamal is what we are seeing now, little difference here and there, either way I meant that as a worst case scenario.

          • Dec 1, 20122:31 pm
            by tarsier

            I would agree that isn’t so far from what he is. But that isn’t what he could become. From a very pessimistic standpoint, he could stay there. But one doesn’t say a player could become what he already is.

    • Dec 1, 20123:43 pm
      by Pistons87

      Reply

      Don’t blame Terry on Atlantas incompetence in drafting Williams. He was gone the year before that. 

    • Dec 1, 20125:42 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Wasn’t JET one time point guard of the future for Atlanta?”

      It happened with Terry for sure, but it happens with guards everywhere. Bad teams tend to do things like try to make guys play a position/role they don’t necessarily fit. That’s why I’m hoping, unless Knight’s turnover numbers get significantly better, the Pistons don’t spend too much time trying to force him to become something he’s not. Hopefully their issues trying to do that with Stuckey was a learning experience. 

  • Dec 1, 201212:29 pm
    by ryan

    Reply

    I’m among those who believe in Brandon Knight based on what he’s got physically and mentally and his track record. I don’t have much use for Jason Terry so I don’t like that comparison. I think a better comparison might be Jeff Hornacek.

    Obviously they’re not totally the same but I think they share a knack for scoring the ball, decent but not great size and solid overall play making skills. If Brandon Knight can get himself consistent I could easily see him being the guy who brings the ball up and starts the offense, gets about five or six assists per game but is more of a scorer than a pure play maker. If he also works hard on defense we can win with him starting.

  • Dec 1, 201212:31 pm
    by ryan

    Reply

    Jason Terry and Jamal Crawford are not favorable comparisons folks. They are insulting comparisons.
     

    • Dec 1, 201212:44 pm
      by Scout

      Reply

      That might be the point

    • Dec 1, 20121:48 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      How so? Both are excellent 3 point shooters who can occasionally take over a game, but are by and large not providing a ton outside of their scoring. Knight has been that plus trying to be a starting PG. So he racks up a couple additional assists, but gets a ton of TOs to go with them. Could he develop well past the level of Terry and Crawford? Sure. But to date, he has not done s much that they are insulting comparisons at all.

      http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3333/career;_ylt=AppL.LfLT_cMc5ox32e27FBdPKB4

      Look at Terry’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year stats. I’d be ecstatic if Knight put up those sorts of numbers. Over those years, he put up 18.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.6 spg, 2.8 topg on 43.1/38.4/85.5

      That would require big improvements on his steals, TOs, and FT% as well as a significant increase in his scoring load with minimal decline in efficiency (something very few players are capable of). It is far too much to expect all that of him right now. He needs some time, and that is reasonable to expect. But that means I keep on appearing to disparage Knight because of all the commenters on PP who are claiming he is already a good starting PG.

    • Dec 1, 20125:39 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Jason Terry and Jamal Crawford are not favorable comparisons folks. They are insulting comparisons.”

      Uh … how are those insulting comparisons? Terry is a former sixth man, a top fourish player on a championship team and a dude that is on like his third huge NBA contract.

      Crawford isn’t quite as good as Terry, but he’s also had a very good NBA career.

      Seriously, explain how those are ‘insulting’ comparisons. I’m really curious. Those are two really solid longtime NBA players. Each of them have had really good seasons doing what they do. More importantly, they are both a realistic bar to compare Knight to? He’s not even as good as Terry or Crawford yet.

      Realistically, who do you think Knight should be compared to? Isiah Thomas? 

      • Dec 3, 20129:14 am
        by Scott Free

        Reply

        That would be ridiculously unfair, Thomas averaged a whole TO more than Knight for his sophomore season!

        • Dec 3, 201211:33 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Per 36 minutes, BK is at 4.0, Isiah was at 3.8. Knight’s TO% is 22.2, Isiah’s was 15.6 that season.

  • Dec 1, 201212:52 pm
    by Desolation Row

    Reply

    Patrick, my question is do we have a large enough sample size to even make a strong statistical conclusion this early in the season on Knight’s development? We’re not even 20 games into the season, and Knight is so early in his development I’d expect a little bit of fluctuation — sometimes in development a guy may have to take a step backwards to learn something better and take a few more steps forwards. Knight seems to put in the effort, and that could pay off long-term even on defense. I don’t necessarily think statistics say he’s not developing; I’m questioning the sample size this early on, especially for a second-player point guard who was a one-and-done in college. If there was a metric that compared similar players historically at this point in their careers that showed a significant percentage of said players fizzled out or were busts, the argument that the metrics are against him would seem more valid — this early on in his career. 

    That being said, I agree that the turnover rate is a bit concerning. I just think it’s a good benchmark to keep in mind and make a conclusion about based on how that number changes by the end of the season. The problem with having so many young players is that there will likely be fluctuation in performance (see: Jonas Jerebko). Like you said, PG is a difficult position to learn, so I’m personally withholding any metric-based conclusion on Knight until the end of the season.

    Great piece though, I really appreciated you bringing up the philosophical clash of metrics vs. eyeballs and it’s interesting how BK can be so polarizing between different schools of thought. Interesting angle, I’m really compelled to keep an eye on Knight now — I skew towards the metrics but every time I watch basketball I’m always intrigued by Knight’s “potential”.  

    • Dec 1, 20125:36 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Patrick, my question is do we have a large enough sample size to even make a strong statistical conclusion this early in the season on Knight’s development?”

      No, not at all. I’m more inclined to wait until the end of this season to fully conclude that he is or isn’t a potential above average starting PG. So far, the turnover stats in particular don’t favor him, but I’m certainly willing to give him more time to fix that. 

      • Dec 1, 20128:40 pm
        by Desolation Row

        Reply

        I can get behind that, I agree with your premise alongside the general sentiments on the comments here. If Knight is essentially a future Jason Terry (which I’m all for having), we need to avoid the pitfall of drafting/acquiring players on the assumption that we are set at PG. I wonder — and this is probably the million dollar question for every GM in the league — at what point we can say we have a large enough sample to make a judgement call. 

  • Dec 1, 20121:20 pm
    by Curtis

    Reply

    “the more I watch Knight, the more I see a shooting guard.”

    I agree with this statement.  Though if Knight were to move over to the starting 2, would anybody on the current roster be able to handle point?   For a moment this year, a very brief moment, I thought maybe Will Bynum, definately not stuckey, given this years start, but that moment was fleeting.  I dont think there is anyway either of those 2 could be the starting point guard. 

    • Dec 1, 20125:34 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Though if Knight were to move over to the starting 2, would anybody on the current roster be able to handle point?”

      Not really. Maybe they’ll just start Kyle Singler there too. 

      • Dec 1, 20126:22 pm
        by Chris H

        Reply

        I bet he’d do well there too actually…

  • Dec 1, 20121:28 pm
    by tarsier

    Reply

    Toward the end of last season, Knight and Stuckey were really clicking together, essentially splitting PG and SG duties. And that worked well. They essentially combined to produce like a PG and a SG. Stuckey started off real slow this season. And I am fine with him coming off the bench. But I want to see those two get a lot of minutes together for at least 30 games or so to see if they can recapture that.

  • Dec 1, 20121:36 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    imo….he is in that Tony Parker mode

    real quick…the age of the true Pg is dying fast and in a hurry…. you can name the true Pg on one hand, and even after you them, the ones leading a winning team is even more rare….

    Knight was a combo guard from he start, coming out of HS he was a scoring first PG…at Kentucy he was  scoring first guard…..now in Detroit you want him to be a pas first guard? it doesnt make sense.. 

    Knight turnover will go down, eventually but it will happen as soon as this offense finds its direction.

    his improvement is clear, either watching him lay or looking at the numbers.

    Last time …unless we can get a Rondo, or Paul at point guard, im not worried about getting a true Pg… 

    • Dec 1, 20122:11 pm
      by D_S_V

      Reply

      I agree, there are few starting caliber ”true point guards” in the league. On the whole I’m OK with Knight’s development – I think the Pistons present a host of obstacles that are detrimental to his progression (not that there aren’t more than a few other franchises that would offer equally difficult situations), so considering that as well as his overall age and experience, I can’t get too down on Knight for his inconsistency.

    • Dec 1, 20122:34 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      The term “true PG” is a serious misnomer. A better term would be “old school PG” or “pure distributor”. Rose, Westbrook, Parker, Jennings, etc are true PGs in today’s NBA.

    • Dec 1, 20125:33 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      i honestly don’t get the Parker comparison. Parker has never been as good a perimeter shooter as Knight is, and even as a young player, he was quicker, a better finisher and a better passer.

      That’s not a slight to BK, I just don’t see him ever being that style a player. 

      • Dec 1, 20126:27 pm
        by Chris H

        Reply

        Patrick, I wonder if a comparison to a young Joe Dumars would be fair.  I don’t remember Dumars driving much even during the pistons championship years, but he was an excellent shooter, and Thomas and him effectively split the PG duties and I truly believe that Thomas was the better ballhandler while Dumars was the better shooter.  Also Dumars didn’t take on full point guard duties until Thomas and VJ retired, after he had several years in the league and the game had “slowed down” for him. 

  • Dec 1, 20121:58 pm
    by James Jones

    Reply

    I don’t care what type of point guard you want Knight to be, 6 TOs and no assists… He pretty much handed the Grizz the game. 
     
    Your point guard can’t play out of control and that’s what Knight has been doing these last few games.  He got away with it for a couple games because he scored a lot, today playing a better opponent that wildness caught up to him.
     
    If Knight can learn to be assertive without playing out of control then I think he will be just fine, if not he will just be another failed PG in the NBA.  I think he can do it, but games like that make me think he’s still a ways off.

  • Dec 1, 20121:58 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    i agree that he can be a Tony Parker pg. 
    Knight is always going to improve, but hes really going to get good when his coaching improves. case in point:

    his quote from last night “i was taught to play fast in college”
    well learn how to slow down and change speeds, this is not college.
    article from this blog “lawrence frank teaches conservative safe defense”
    well hes fast enough to gamble, let him. 

    • Dec 1, 20122:24 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      Thank God for IP addresses….or people would think we are the same people ….

      A
      Exactly …first off our offense is predictable …it mends itself to turnover…2ndly Knight IS NOT A TRUE PG…and would be better off in a pressing man to man defense …. Finally, Knight has only taken 15 or more shots 2 twice in 17 games,… Its not who he is …

      @tarsier …My good friend…in jason Terry 2nd year he averaged 20ppg 17 shot attempts and shooting 44 from the field and 40 for 3′s 5 ast … 3.5 rebs … 2.9 turnovers … 38 minutes per-game …

      Knight is NOT getting 17 shots per-game , Knight is NOT getting 38 minutes per-game …. In term 2nd year he was 23 years old …. Knight is currently 20 ….

      Knight has not even had the say opportunities or experiences …. I believe Knight can be better than Terry in his prime nit in this sytem

      • Dec 1, 20122:50 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        “I believe Knight can be better than Terry in his prime nit in this sytem [sic]”
         
        I’m not sure what “nit” was supposed to be. But I agree that Knight can be better than Terry in his prime and in this system. I really don’t dislike Knight or his future potential at all. I just come across that way because of commenters like you who are saying he is really good–right now.

        And as for the Terry comparison, I recognize that Knight isn’t miles behind, but, as I said:
        “That would require big improvements on his steals, TOs, and FT% as well as a significant increase in his scoring load with minimal decline in efficiency (something very few players are capable of).” 

        Heck, with 38 mpg, Knight would probably have more assists and rebounds. But his steals would still probably not reach those levels and his TOs would be that much higher. And, as I pointed out, it is a rare player who can increase his scoring load much without hurting efficiency. You seem to believe that Knight should be a bulk scorer. But in games in which he has taken 15 or more shots, Knight is 128-327, less than 40%. Clearly, he does take a hit to his shooting percentage when he jacks up more attempts. That is no criticism. That is expected. But I don’t know why you think he should shoot so much more.

        • Dec 1, 20123:36 pm
          by I HATE FRANK

          Reply

          “I’m not sure what “nit” was supposed to be. But I agree that Knight can be better than Terry in his prime and in this system. I really don’t dislike Knight or his future potential at all. I just come across that way because of commenters like you who are saying he is really good–right now.”

          1. it should say “NOT” in this system …. i dont think he is really good…but i just think above average right now, but can be really good and this year he has shown alot of improvement 
          “And as for the Terry comparison, I recognize that Knight isn’t miles behind, but, as I said:
          “That would require big improvements on his steals, TOs, and FT% as well as a significant increase in his scoring load with minimal decline in efficiency (something very few players are capable of).” 

          2. Maybe his turnover increase, or maybe he feels like he need to more minutes so he doesnt feel pressured to do soo much in a less amount of time. I hate when he and Monroe sits out for 8-9 minutes in the 2nd qrt (thats the system im talking about)…
          “Heck, with 38 mpg, Knight would probably have more assists and rebounds. But his steals would still probably not reach those levels and his TOs would be that much higher. And, as I pointed out, it is a rare player who can increase his scoring load much without hurting efficiency. You seem to believe that Knight should be a bulk scorer. But in games in which he has taken 15 or more shots, Knight is 128-327, less than 40%. Clearly, he does take a hit to his shooting percentage when he jacks up more attempts. That is no criticism. That is expected. But I don’t know why you think he should shoot so much more.”

          last year yes, but this year he has improved as an offensive players…his shooting and scoring warrants that he should get more scoring opportunities. 9-10 shots per-game is not acceptable. Defensively he is a solid defender, he just does not get steals. I believe you have to be willing to allow Knight to be a big time scorer and play-maker. then if he cant maintain that role, you then know what direction your team needs to go

          • Dec 1, 20124:47 pm
            by tarsier

            Using just this season yields a very small sample size so these numbers aren’t as meaningful as the ones I posted earlier. But still this season, with 10 or fewer FGAs, Knight is shooting 34-73 (46.6%). With over 10 FGAs, Knight is shooting 41-104 (39.4%). I’d rather have him shooting 3.8-8.1 (his average <11 FGA game) than 5.1-13.0 (his average >10 FGA game).

            I still don’t see why you think he can shoot at higher volume without sacrificing efficiency. It’s simply a well known fact that just about every player sacrifices accuracy when shooting more. And there is no evidence that Knight is an exception to that rule.

          • Dec 1, 20125:09 pm
            by tarsier

            “I hate when he and Monroe sits out for 8-9 minutes in the 2nd qrt”

            So when should he be sitting? It’s not like Knight is getting way too few minutes. As we established in another post, he is a shade under average for a starting PG. However, he is also below an average PG in per minute numbers. Let’s just use PER (which I recognize is imperfect). Of all 121 players in the league with a PER under 13.00 (like Knight’s), only Lin, Afflalo, and Gee are getting more minutes than Knight (and none of them are getting many more).

            Lin’s and Gee’s backups, Toney Douglas and C.J. Miles, are among the worst players in the league thus far this season. Afflalo has gotten more minutes than he has earned this year based on the fact that he has proven himself the last few years in Denver and that he was the best player the Magic got back for Dwight Howard.

            I’m fine with Knight getting more minutes, but he hasn’t really earned them. His play is below average for a starter or for a starting PG (unless you pull out his worst games, which would let you make everyone above average). He is getting average minutes for starters overall and a tick below average minutes for a starting PG. Where is the egregious error in how much PT he gets?

            And I agree that his defense is not as bad as his steal numbers. But, as pointed out in this post, a 110 defensive rating is not very good. It’s expected for a young player, but it cannot reasonably be described as “solid”. 

          • Dec 1, 20126:01 pm
            by Chris H

            I haven’t had enough time this year to pour into the Pistons like I have in the past, but I would like to emphatically point out that Knight is only 20.  A comparison to Terry is extremely unfair since Terry entered the league at 22 as well as had a slew of awards during college.  While that doesn’t mean his game would translate (and face it he has been much more effective as a reserve than as a starter) it does mean that Terry was a lot more polished when he came into the league.  Something that Knight is not right now, and he wasn’t drafted for his polish. 

            What can we expect from Knight in the future?  Difficult to say.  As much as this forum has been down on Frank it sure would be nice to have Frank here for another season.  I think that the constant changing of coaches did more to hurt Stuckey than to help him.  So consistancy would help there, it will probably help Drummond as well.  When they are familiar with what Frank wants them to run then the game will slow down for them, and their development will make a jump.  It’s worth noting that Devin Harris had his best year after he had half a season in Frank’s system.  Asking that of Knight is probably a bit much, but I expect a serious jump in productivity next year. 

      • Dec 1, 20122:58 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Games in which Knight has fewer than 15 FGAs: 266-619 (43%) to the 39% when he shoots more.

  • Dec 1, 20123:05 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    it appeared the the offense had been set up intentionally to keep the ball in knight’s hands more this year. 
    by design, stuckey did not have the ball in his hands as much and he often ended up  spotting up in the corner or the top of the key for a 3 pointer.
    why anyone would try to force stuckey into that role is beyond me, but that appeared to be coach frank’s offensive design.
    while it was a total waste of stuckey’s talents, it also exposed knight’s flaws as a “PG” which had effectively been masked/minimized because he shared the duties with stuckey last year. 
    while i understand the logic behind the move, it appeared both premature and not in keeping with both knight’s and stuckey’s skills and comfort level.
    the biggest problem i have with knight is his decision making, which often leads to either turnovers or poor shot attempts.  
    he is atrocious on the break, almost always butchering any chance for an easy 2 points.  
    while he is getting better on the pick and roll, it is clear that he doesn’t understand how to run it the way that young PGs like irving and lilliard.
    most disappointing is that he rarely, if ever, shows the high level of intelligence he is supposed to possess.
    when he was drafted and in numerous articles since, people always rave about his smarts and his GPA.
    unfortunately, none of that is evident on the court.  he plays dumb.
    maybe it is just inexperience and he will ultimately overcome it, but it would be nice to see him show some of his brainpower when he has the ball in his hands. 

    • Dec 1, 20126:21 pm
      by Chris H

      Reply

      Thinking on what you said wouldn’t it be better if stuckey and Knight switched roles since stuckey is more careful with the ball, and Knight is a better shooter.  I’m not really sure who is the better passer of the two.  Still I’d rather knight take these knocks early in his career.  I’d like drummond to be taking them too, but that isn’t happening as much as I would like.  I’d really like to see an iso or two for drummond each game in the post sometime in the 2nd quarter.  Pratice helps, but a game is much different, and if drummond proves he can seal his man and just drop step or go right up with the ball that can only help him.  Plus EVERY wing on that teams needs to learn how to dump it into the post, and then where to fade to for an open 3.  Prince and probably Singler would be the only two I can think of who I’d trust doing it right now. 

  • Dec 1, 20123:28 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    I don’t understand why, for the 2nd time, they are trying to take a young score-first Guard and turn him into a PG right away. If his strongest talents lie in scoring, they should let him do that, and learn the PG side of the game over time. Play to his strengths. With the current roster, I think they’d do better to have Stuckey be the primary PG and let BK play off the ball more. Stuckey is better on the break and attacking the basket, and BK is a much better 3pt shooter. BK should effectively be the backup PG and he’d still have 15 mpg to learn to play that position.

    • Dec 1, 20125:35 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I’m pretty sure Knight is a strong part of the impetus behind trying to turn him into more of a distributing PG. From the moment he got drafted, he has been saying that he doesn’t see himself as an SG or a combo guard. He intends to be a PG.

  • Dec 1, 20123:50 pm
    by hirobeats

    Reply

    Look, Patrick knows, and maybe some of the test of you to by now, that I am a Brandon Knight fan. And I wholly admit that that fandom is complete biased and totally based on the fact that I just like the kid. Used to watch his hoopmixatape.com vids when he was in high school, followed him in college, and was thrilled when the pistons drafted him. I love his game. I played D3 ball in college four years, and his game reminds me an NBA version of myself, albeit much better than could have ever been lol. Again, all reasons why I am admittedly biased and a fan. But aside from all that, his passion and his work ethic make him so easy to root for. And I believe that well all pay off. regardless, he had a terrible game, not gonna argue that. But part of being a fan is rooting for your fav player, and Brandon Knight is one of mine. Now, obviously I don’t expect you all to necessarily feel the same way. Regardless, He has definitely got a lot of work to do, for sure. But lets not get too down on him just yet. I really think he’ll be a great player.

    • Dec 1, 20125:32 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I feel basically the same way you do. It’s impossible to root against him considering his work ethic. I think the organization isn’t necessarily doing him any favors by essentially putting him in a point guard or bust type of position. Like I said in the post, his skills are not necessarily suited to that position. Doesn’t mean he won’t be a good NBA player, but I also don’t want to see the Pistons invest too much time trying to develop him at one position and find out two years down the road that he was better suited to be a shooting guard or a hybrid scoring guard all along.

      • Dec 1, 20127:03 pm
        by 19880607

        Reply

        I think the crucial developmental question that needs to be answered with BK is not what type of guard he is but rather it is whether his game is compatible with Monroe’s. As much as I would love for BK to become a Rondo clone what the Piston’s really need is a guard who can plays solid defense against the league’s elite point guards, bring the ball up under pressure, and hit the open jumper when Monroe passes it back to him out of the double team. I think he has the potential for all of that. If he tries to evolve his game in some other direction I don’t see it working.  
         

    • Dec 1, 20126:10 pm
      by 19880607

      Reply

      I am biased in favor of UK players myself so I would have to confess to feeling the exact same way about BK as you do. With his brains, work ethic and natural athleticism I have a hard time believing that he won’t eventually figure things out and have a long and successful NBA career. It took a few years for Chauncey and Hunter to figure things out. In fact, guys who naturally make great decisions with the ball are so rare and valuable that non-athletic, non-defenders such as Mark Jackson and Steve Nash have had very long careers. I suspect he tends to put too much pressure on himself to come up with a big offensive play and that’s why he gets the turnovers he gets but I have no idea why his defensive rating is low.   

  • Dec 1, 20123:52 pm
    by hirobeats

    Reply

    Sorry for Typos, I’m on my phone.

  • Dec 1, 20123:56 pm
    by Ryan Kelly

    Reply

    Knights problems are a little scary because of the type of turnovers he is committing.  As you watch the game you can see his turnovers coming as easily as you can see stuckeys poor shooting.   He’s doing things that have little chance of success.  You can see so easily like wow BrandoN is driving out of control with no real pass or shoot options this is a turnover coming up and he does just that.   And theN he has inexcusable idiotic turnovers when he passes it right into the hands of defensees right in front of him.   They are very amateur mistakes that nba players shouldn’t make.   He’s a strange player because for all his talent and ball handling he is actually terrible with the ball.   Strange. 

  • Dec 1, 20125:55 pm
    by DasMark

    Reply

    Good article, Patrick. 

    I agree, the “eye ball test” makes you think Knight could be amazing. He’s so quick and seems to get where he wants effortlessly. 

    Then, you see him try to lay it up right under Marc Gasol and see his shot get blocked like Gasol was guarding a 12 year old on a playground. It’s a little frustrating.

    It’s tough to pigeon hole a person, because everyone is different. Just because Terry and Crawford panned out one way, doesn’t necessitate that Knight will follow suit. But, I see your viewpoint as well.

    I don’t believe Knight is the “PG of the future for Detroit”. Just like Stuckey isn’t, nor should he be in any future plans of Detroit. We’ll see if Detroit moves for a PG in the next draft.  

  • Dec 1, 20126:42 pm
    by Chris H

    Reply

    I believe that Knight can be just fine as a point guard.  I’m not sure how well of a distributer he will be, which I think is what everyone wants him to be.  PH and DF have pointed out several times, as well as others in this forum that distributer type point guards are more and more rare in the NBA.  I mean hell I can’t name many that can’t score at will as well as find the open man.  Paul and Nash, we are talking about elite talents that can score whenever they want to they just understand that they need to share the ball, and then their numbers will come much easier.  Face it, if you take away all of their options they are still going to drop 40+ points on you.  Rondo?  The guy has been able to play with other stars for years, he was able to progressively take on more responsibilities as his big three faded and broke up.  Parker? While he was pushed into the line up on a good team while he was very young (19 as well I think) the game can be a whole lot easier when you have an established TC drawing all of the attention.  While I think we all agree that Knight possesses several physical gifts the fact is that he doesn’t have them on the level the Wall, Westbrook, and Rose so he is not going to have that sort of mismatch on a nightly basis.  Of all of those guys I think Knight’s best move would be to study Steve Nash and Chauncy.  He might not have Chauncy’s strength, but those two are not, and haven’t never been the most athletic PGs in the league and when things finally clicked for them they became two guys that EVERYONE would have loved to have on their team. 

  • Dec 1, 20127:24 pm
    by Juan

    Reply

    WHY DETROT IS SO POOR DEVELOPING ROOKIES? MAYBE IS THE REASON FOR BK DEVELOPMENT.

    • Dec 1, 20128:42 pm
      by Desolation Row

      Reply

      We did a good job with Greg Monroe… and Arron Afflalo.

  • Dec 1, 20128:22 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Knights only flaw is his TO’s, which is normal for a young PG. Plus his TO’s seem to be more a product of impatience than poor skill, imo. He’s just an impatient person by nature I think. Being young probably only adds to that. And if thats the only thing keeping him from being great, then hes in good shape. Because patience can be taught and learned. When that happens the TOs will be a non factor imo.

    FWIW Kyrie Irving avg more TOs than Knight. 

  • Dec 1, 20128:25 pm
    by Lake Side Live

    Reply

    I guess the quandry with Knight is do we have the time to let him develop, if he can, with say a mike conley career arc?  By the time he does get to the level of a serviceable pg will be losing our other good players like Greg Monroe to FA?

    If he were to move to sg where he could be serviceable as is, what happens in regards to a pg?  Allow stuckey to take back over for one year or keep on the 2nd squad and bring a fa?  One of the biggest issues as pointed out by many contributors and commenters has been knights regression on defense, unfortunately it seems that is also an issue with next years fa pg jose calderon is known defensive liability, jarrett jack also doesn’t jump out in any statistical defensive category, devin harris has averaged 1.2 steals over his career but is oft injured.

    I won’t get into the draft class because that sample right now is smaller than the nba’s for this year.  

    So once again i’ll beat a dead horse and throw out terrence williams, frank said he always saw him as a pg his teams in sacremento had good things to say about his unselfish passing mentality, and he has a career turnover percentage of 15.9.  Defensively the guy can guard three positions and provided 4 bounds 2.5 blocks and .5 steals in two games with us in the preseason.  Get him on the cheap with a two year deal see how he does and explore your pg options after next season when rodney and charlie’s contracts come off the books in 2014.     

  • Dec 2, 201210:28 pm
    by Mitch

    Reply

    Everybody, I am from South Florida and watched BK throughout his HS career. (On the order of 30 games over multiple seasons.)  What you are seeing is JUST what he is: a shooting guard who can handle up to a point.  Of course, in HS he could handle the ball fine for HS, but that was not where his obvious “future-pro” skills were.  He was a scorer, and in that regard was incredible – as you would expect a future first-round pick to be.  Now, he HAD to score in HS for his team to win, but his talent, his obvious, off-the-chart talent, was that he was simply unstoppable.

    One night, the away crowd was taunting him because he only had 5 points in the first quarter.  Unusually, he got juiced, even pissed… glaring at some close-by fans…  and dropped 30 on them in the 2nd quarter alone.  Finished with 50+. He went over people, went by people like nothing, shot from the next zipcode, stole the ball I think on 5 defensive series in a row and dunked… just gave a jaw-dropping lesson to everyone.  

    He may never do that in the NBA, but he is NOT a distributing classic PG… although he IS definitely very smart and willing to work until tomorrow morning on whatever is asked of him.  Still, I think if somehow he is able to not carry all the load of handling endlessly, and can instead be able to catch and shoot, come off of picks and shoot, etc… I guess like a 2, you will be much happier with him.  I am sure he could average 20 that way.

  • May 29, 20139:20 pm
    by Forrest

    Reply

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