With Brandon Knight's ankle injury putting him on crutches, he may not play again this season. Since the All-Star break we have been given an interesting sample of games to evaluate not only Knight, but also his influence on the other players on the court. This influence affects not only the Pistons' game plans, but how teams defended them. It may have revealed an important aspect of team building going forward.
Knights stats minus the Utah game since the All-Star break:
- PPG: 18.0
- RPG: 3.6
- APG: 3.2
- A/TO: 1.3
- FG%: 47%
- 3PT%: 46.8%
- TS%: 58%
As we can see, he has been playing very well over these eight games. He seems to have adjusted well to playing on the wing where he has to make less decisions and just play. His toughness has allowed him to compete defensively, but he may still be better off guarding opposing point guards. He has probably showed enough to be given a full year at shooting guard to see what he can do. As always with Knight, it is about consistency.
The most significant development may have come when Knight was out injured for three games. The floor spacing with Stuckey starting really negatively affected the interior game of Monroe. Greg's averages with Knight out were 10.6 ppg on 32% shooting. Teams really backed off Stuckey and helped on Monroe, leaving no space to operate. Space is critical for Monroe because he does not have a traditional post game. This tells us that this team needs shooters on the wings. I was optimistic that they could get by with a more athletic wing where they could push the ball and run more, but I no longer see this as possible. The next few weeks if Knight is out, we will get to test this theory. I wouldn't be surprised to see Middleton get some starts instead of Stuckey,
I think the team knows this. This is why we keep hearing that players like O.J. Mayo and J.J. Redick are linked to Detroit. I also think a big point guard would help them a lot if they don't resign Jose Calderon. It would allow Knight to defend PGs, while playing the wing on offense. Any wings who can't shoot should be avoided. Could a perimeter lineup of Knight, Redick/Mayo, and Tyreke Evans work? Evans could initiate the offense and defend SF's. This could be a young team that could grow together. Or are we better off resigning Jose and signing a Kyle Korver or Martell Webster to upgrade at small forward?