The Pistons passed on a true point guard in the draft and lost Jose Calderon during free agency, and now they are quickly running out of (newer, better) options. But they still have a very young guard on their roster who thinks he can be the guy -- Brandon Knight.
Knight is in Orlando practicing with his teammates despite not playing in summer league games, and he spoke with Slam Online about this year's team and his personal goals for next season (emphasis mine):
SLAM: Do you have any personal goals for yourself for next season?
BK: My main focus is on the team. I'm a point guard, so my job is to make sure my teammates are getting involved and we win.
Joe Dumars once called Knight the point guard of the future ("PGOTF"), but has already kind of backtracked on those comments and new head coach Maurice Cheeks called Knight a combo guard during his introductory press conference. Yet Knight continues to stress that he is a point guard.
Maybe it's Dumars and Cheeks' strange way of motivating the youngster. Maybe Knight isn't a point guard and he's in denial.
Entering his third NBA season, Knight, 21, had a nightmarish first two seasons after being the eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft. He was thrown to the wolves, so to speak, during a lockout-shortened rookie season and then got jerked back and forth between guard positions last year before the Calderon trade made him the team's starting shooting guard. A tumultuous way to develop a player, though his performance didn't earn him anything.
While he has had flashes of brilliance, Knight has undoubtedly been very bad. In the nicest, loosest terms, he's out of control with the ball, he's inconsistent with his shot, and he doesn't seem to accept the mindset of a true point guard even if he continues to tell people that's what he is. (Not to mention all of the embarrassments!)
My hope for Knight has fizzled, but I still think he possesses the skills to develop into a serviceable point guard. He has to start walking the talk (and passing the rock), though. Barring a big move, he's going to get another, maybe his last, opportunity with the Pistons, as sad as that may be for most. With more talent around him and a head coach who knows how to groom guards, it'll be up to Knight to finally seize it and prove the naysayers wrong ... or continue to lie to the media and be the laughing stock of the NBA.
Read the entire Brandon Knight interview here.