Patience. It is often defined as having the ability to wait for something or someone without getting angry or upset. Although one of the best qualities a person can have, author Lindsey Arnold describes patience as the hardest virtue to live.
For most, experiencing a tough situation with the ability to persevere is one of the best methods to increase patience. And for Brandon Knight, it is safe to say that the eight-year NBA veteran has obtained this astonishing virtue in his life.
Nearly two years since his last game, Knight made his long-awaited return to the hardwood in a 126-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, Thursday night, as a member of the Houston Rockets. This game marked the first time Knight played an NBA contest since February 15, 2017, the night where he suffered a torn ACL injury as a member of the Phoenix Suns.
Despite a scoreless night with one rebound and one assist, his four minutes of play was a small sample size of what is to come for Knight as a Rocket.
As he continues to bounce back from his injury, there are several reasons to be excited about his return to the court. Acquired by the Rockets in exchange for Ryan Anderson this past offseason, Knight’s addition to the team will give Houston a much-needed boost to their second unit.
D’Antoni on how Brandon Knight has looked over the past two weeks or so of practices: “Pretty good. The first day was kind of shaky... but you can see he’s getting better every day.”— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) December 13, 2018
More MDA on Knight as a player: “He was at an All-Star level in Milwaukee, for sure.” #Rockets pic.twitter.com/0JgJPVe3X6
Through the first 27 games of the season, Houston’s bench has played well below expectations, averaging a league-low 28.5 points per game. Outside of Eric Gordon (and even he’s been struggling through a tough season) the Rockets have yet to find another player who can help put the ball in the basket coming off the bench. However, with Knight, the Rockets may have a solution to their lack of production coming from the second unit.
He is a perfect fit for the Rockets as a player who can create an effective secondary backcourt playing alongside Gordon. When healthy and at his best, Knight has been nearly a 20-point per game score on the nightly basis. While his ability to get to the rim may be the strongest of his offensive game, one cannot overlook Knight’s capability to shoot from the outside.
With a career average of 36 percent from deep, Knight has established himself as a solid three-point shooter over the years. Although streaky at times, Knight’s ability to shoot from behind the arc is still respected by his opponents, which can create enough floor spacing for Houston while he is on the court.
As an additional player who can consistently put the ball in the basket, the greatest aspect Knight will bring to the team is to help ease the workload off the shoulders of Chris Paul.
So far this year, Paul is having one of the worst statistical performances of his career, and the number of minutes played has led to his decline. At 33-years old, the future Hall-of-Fame point guard should not be playing 34 minutes per game, and at the very least, is going to need the occasional game off, especially with that kind of nightly workload.
Despite averaging 4.3 assists, Knight never had the opportunity to display his playmaking abilities due to the scoring load he carried throughout his career. However, no longer holding the responsibilities of a primary scorer (James Harden, obv.) Knight can finally focus on creating for his teammates and providing a spark.
While there are several positives he can bring to the team, there is one major downside of Knight’s returning. Despite the 2015 season where he averaged nearly two steals a game (1.6), Knight has had his fair share of struggles on the defensive end. So much so, it is safe to say that Knight will be another liability on the defensive side of the ball. He’s never had a positive defensive plus-minus in his career.
As he continues to recover from injury, it might take some good ol’ fashioned patience on the part of Rockets fans as well before we see the full scope of what Knight can bring to the team; that is if he even remains with the squad. Although he would be a perfect fit, it seems as if his time in Houston could come to an end before it even really gets started.
According to Shams Charania, the Rockets are reportedly willing to part ways with the 27-year old point guard in their desperate attempt to find another wing player.
As a member of the Pistons, Bucks, and Suns, Knight has averaged 15.2 points per game on 39.8 percent shooting from the field throughout his career. His best season came during the 2014-15 season where he averaged a career-best 17.8 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.3 rebounds for the Milwaukee Bucks.
If he manages to come back from the injury at even a portion of that performance, he can be a useful extra guard off the bench as the Rockets look to rebound. That is, of course, if Daryl Morey doesn’t decide to move him for an upgrade elsewhere.
For now though, we’ll just have to sit by with a little bit of that most difficult of virtues and see how this all plays out. Patience is about to pay off one way or another for Brandon Knight.