Hey guys. I’ve been reading this blog/community for the last month or so and felt I would join. I’ve been a Pistons fan for a couple years. My father is from the Michigan area (Cadillac) and loves Detroit sports. I’m in college and have always looked for an NBA team (I live in East Tennessee, aka pro sports hell), deciding to follow family tradition and follow the Pistons. I am really excited about the future of the team and joining this community. I don't get to watch very many games (hopefully that changes this year), and so this website has been such a big help in digesting information. I also love all other Detroit sports, and they also have my favorite hockey and football teams ( I love the Tigers, but been a Braves fan since I was two. I just can't let go). I'm currently in college and am majoring in History to become a high school teacher and baseball/basketball coach and plan on moving to Detroit once I graduate to teach there. It's sort of my calling. But since reading this blog, a particular subject has intrigued me the most. More after the jump...
Since I’ve been reading this excellent blog, I’ve seen some heavy criticism on Brandon Knight. I was surprised by this. So I wanted to defend him as the future point guard for the Detroit Pistons in my first post (if you guys don't mind).
I looked at some of the better point guards in the league and their rookie seasons. I listed three players and their rookie seasons. Let's first start with Knight. I used a couple basic stats, then used advanced metrics such as true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, assist percentage, and then used field goal attempts also. I also used shooting splits.
B. Knight: 12.8 ppg 4.2 apg 66 games/60 starts 41.5%/38.1%/75.9% 2.1 FTA 51.1% TS 48.3% EFG 20.8 ast% 17.1% TOV
Player A: 10.8 pgg 4.5 apg 80 games/47 starts 42.1%/41.6%/70.4% 1.7 FTA 50% TS 47.8% EFG 28.5 ast% 14.4% TOV
Player B: 15.3 ppg 5.3 apg 82 games/65 starts 39.8%/27.1%/81.5% 5.8 FTA 48.9% TS 41.4% EFG 27.5 ast% 17.6% TOV
Player C: 6.4 pgg 3.8 apg 78 games/25 starts 41.8%/20.7/64.7% 2.4 FTA 47.2% TS 42.4% EFG 26.3 ast% 20.5% TOV
What I really like is Knight’s shooting percentages. His true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage is higher than all three players in their rookie years, which shows he’s an efficient scorer. The criticism of Knight is that he isn’t a point guard. He’s a combo guard, in the mold of Jason Terry and Lou Williams. He does have a low assist percentage, and that isn’t good. His turnover percentage was high, but that’s not uncommon for rookie point guards, especially one with Knight’s high usage rate at 21.7%. A huge criticism of Knight has been the fact he only got to the line with only two free throw attempts per game. This is a concern. But look at Deron Williams. He averaged less than Knight in per 36 in free throw attempts, but averages almost five free throw attempts per game for his career now.
Also, I think we have to consider the situation; a younger team with a lack of wing scorers and only one reliable big man in Greg Monroe. Then also Knight has two weeks of practice with his team, no summer league or preseason, and no good mentors to help him out. He’s only 20 too.
There are two reasons why I don't believe the Pistons should give up on Knight: The first one is that the Pistons aren’t contending. Even though he’s not a finished product, the Thunder knew they were a couple years away and let Westbrook work out the kinks the first couple years at point. It has worked out very well for them. If the Pistons were on the verge of breaking through in the playoffs, I could see giving signing or trading for a real point guard and moving Knight off ball. But you have a potentially very valuable asset at your disposal if Knight works out. At this stage of the rebuilding job, I believe it’s easily worth the risk to keep Knight at point. Signing a veteran to help Knight would be a great idea, but I don’t think they should get the most minutes at point.
My second reason is I’m a firm believer on not giving up on young point guards. To me, point guards are like quarterbacks in the NFL, goalies in the NHL, and catchers in the major leagues. They take time to develop and you need a lot of patience with them. Also, I do believe in Knight. I saw him play extensively at Kentucky (I watch a lot of SEC basketball) and was impressed with his poise and his ability to lead. Those are two huge proponents of being a good, solid point guard. I watched very few games of Brandon this year, but I still feel he had those qualities. I think patience is the key here. Let’s give Brandon a year or two and see what he becomes.