Bias alert: I’m a Brandon Knight defender (and DeMarcus Cousins, and John Wall, in case you haven’t figured that out). Absurd DeAndre Jordan gif aside, I just think he’s too smart, too savvy, too athletic to not eventually put it together and realize his potential in the NBA. He’s got all the tools; so it’s not if, it’s when (hopefully).
That said, the people of Detroit are NOT Brandon Knight defenders. In fact, they’re all but dancing in the streets over the Jennings-Knight trade. Granted, a lot of the talk is your standard fare, “The Pistons are a playoff team with Jennings running point,” etc, which may be true (I happen to like Jennings as well, actually), but some of it is a tad over the top. Take this Detroit Free Press column from PistonsPowered writer Dan Feldman, for instance, who begins his pitch by saying “Brandon Knight was overrated at Kentucky, overrated by the Pistons and then, surprisingly, just plain over in Detroit.”
First of all, no. He was not overrated at Kentucky. In actuality, he had sky high expectations coming in (following Calipari point guards Rose, Evans, and Wall), with a natural skill set that was not quite at those guys’ level. And yet, he managed to EXCEED those expectations somehow. He put up great numbers, hit clutch shot after clutch shot, and carried a good-but-not-great Kentucky team to the Final Four. He earned his lottery pick status, it wasn’t given to him.
But whatever. I suppose the important issue here is his time in the NBA, and Feldman had this to say about it:
A lot went wrong during the two years Knight started for Detroit, and a large majority of it was not his fault, but his presence was particularly felt in one area:
Knight ruined the Pistons’ offense.
He didn’t do it singlehandedly, and the powers that put him in position to fail deserve more blame, but as far as players go, he’s the main culprit.
Again, well then. Seems a bit harsh to broadly blame the sputtering offense of a completely dysfunctional team on the 2nd-year point guard (who was switching between the 1 and 2 the whole time), but to each their own I guess.
Look, is Brandon Knight perfect? No, he’s not. Far from it. He has a lot to learn, and he needs to learn it quick. But his main problem is that he’s young (he’s still only 21!), and needs room to grow. The good news (for him) is, as much as Milwaukee sort of sucks as a city in general, it’s actually not a bad landing spot for him. There are no immediate playoff expectations, and he’s paired with rising star Larry Sanders for the foreseeable future.
Which should scare Pistons fans, or at least make them uneasy about the deal.
But Detroit fans seem utterly regret-less on shipping Brandon Knight out of town. And I, for one, think that Knight is going to make them regret calling it quits on him so soon, whether Jennings makes Detroit a playoff team or not.