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Kentucky basketball fan’s look: Will Brandon Knight be a bust in the NBA?
The NBA draft was held on June 23rd. Brandon Knight was chosen 8th overall by the Detroit Pistons. Somewhat surprisingly, he was chosen ahead of UConn's Kemba Walker and BYU's Jimmer Fredette. Some experts are wondering if Knight will be more of a point guard or a shooting guard. Other experts like Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News are looking at Knight as a possible bust.
Prior to the draft, Knight did not go head-to-head against guys like Walker or Fredette in pre-draft workouts. Was he concerned about getting over matched? Nobody knows for sure but he was drafted ahead of both of them.
Knight's ball handling is a little suspect for a point guard. He is a tad small for a shooting guard. He has a quick release but his shots might get blocked a lot more in the NBA. He had some shots blocked at Kentucky by players lacking NBA talent. Don't sell Knight short on athleticism, though. When Knight came to Kentucky, his vertical was 37.5. He carried the Wildcats through a few games down the stretch. Knight is a smart player who will have a long NBA career. He works too hard on his game to be a bust. He made two game winning shots in the NCAA Tournament and had a 4.0 grade-point average. He fits the bill as an intelligent and athletic point guard. He could end up with a career like Mike Bibby(notes). He will be a very good player but more of a steadying force on a team with other firepower than a superstar in his own right.
Coach Cal guards
DeCourcy compares Knight to former Coach Cal point guards Derek Rose, Tyreke Evans(notes) and John Wall(notes). Expectations are very high simply because he follows in the footsteps of those three great players. He isn't the same player as those guys and won't compare favorably in some ways. Anyone that thinks Knight will be an MVP like Derrick Rose(notes) is probably misguided. He is a better shooter than John Wall but Wall did it all in his rookie year. Knight won't be as good as him. Evans scored 20 points a game as a rookie. Nobody expects Knight to do that.
The Pistons wanted a big man with this pick. All of the really good ones were gone when it was their turn. They consider Knight to be a "value pick". They wanted a player that "fit the culture" in Detroit. Check it out for yourself in this Yahoo article. They aren't expecting him to play as well as Rose, Evans, or Wall. Here are the qualities they like in Knight:
- Good shooter
- Hard worker
- Runs the pick and roll well
The Pistons will end up happy with a ready-to-go point guard as opposed to a big man that needs a lot of development. Their two point guards are Will Bynum(notes) and Rodney Stucky. Knight is an upgrade over both. The NBA is a point guard driven league and Knight is ready to lead the Pistons.
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