A promising prospect out of college, Brandon Knight has worked his way through rebuilding situations in his first seven NBA seasons.
Now, at age 26, Knight has found himself on his first contending NBA team after a trade from the NBA cellar dweller Phoenix Suns last week.
Knight spent the last three seasons with the team, including last year where he failed to play a single game after tearing his ACL. Now, fresh off his injury, Knight is in a position to contribute for the Rockets as a backup to Chris Paul.
To learn more about Knight, we called upon our friend at Dave King, site manager for Bright Side of the Sun. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveKingNBA.
Thank you once again Dave for your contributions to our collaborations.
Jeremy Brener, The Dream Shake: Why did the Brandon Knight experiment not work in Phoenix?
Dave King, Bright Side of the Sun: This one’s a mystery, to some extent. The best I can gather is that Brandon Knight was so devastated from his mid-season trade off the Bucks where he was THE MAN and developing into a Kemba Walker-type All-Star He wanted desperately to be a leader and wanted to lead the Bucks to the playoffs, and I think Jason Kidd broke his heart by trading him away. Then in Phoenix, he wasn’t the clear point guard. Instead, he was pushed off the ball by Eric Bledsoe’s ball-pounding ways and from there he never mentally recovered. $70 million of his own couldn’t make him like sharing the ball with Bledsoe in a two-point back court. And then Earl Watson benched him permanently for 19 year old Devin Booker. He was heart-broken, he refused to play in the second half of the SEASON in 2016-17 when the Suns benched Bledsoe to tank for a high pick. Yes, you read that right. He declined to play. Then he busted his knee during the offseason and we’ve never seen him again.
Jeremy Brener, The Dream Shake: What does Knight need to do to salvage his career in Houston?
Dave King, Bright Side of the Sun: Get healthy -- mentally and physically. Mentally, I assume he will be okay coming off the bench behind future Hall of Famers Harden and Paul. So maybe that part’s easy. Physically, he should be healthy but Suns fans have seen more injuries from him than anyone else the last three years so I hope it’s behind him but I’m not holding my breath.
Jeremy Brener, The Dream Shake: What is his biggest strength and weakness?
Dave King, Bright Side of the Sun: Biggest strength: step-back-left 21-footers. He shoots them like he’s money. In warmups against coaches, he is.
Biggest weakness: thinking that’s a good shot. He only really makes 40% in games.
Jeremy Brener, The Dream Shake: What is his biggest risk?
Dave King, Bright Side of the Sun: Injury, and refusal to make more threes than long-twos
Jeremy Brener, The Dream Shake: What is your projection for Knight next season?
Dave King, Bright Side of the Sun: If he could just stay healthy, and if Mike D’Antoni can convince him to step back to 23 feet, he could be great. I wish him only the best and it’s possible he will have a wonderful season with the Rockets. The very best version of Brandon Knight next season -- for the Rockets, considering Harden and Paul -- would be in the running for 6th Man of the Year in a Jamal Crawford role. He could pop 15 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds in 25 minutes a night off the bench next to either of the starters. In a starter role (if there’s injury to Harden or Paul), he could post 22 and 5 in 35 minutes without breaking a sweat. In the playoffs even.
Jeremy Brener, The Dream Shake: What is the better package, Knight/Chriss or Anderson/Melton?
Dave King, Bright Side of the Sun: All depends, but probably Knight/Chriss. For the SUNS, I’m happy to be rid of Knight and Chriss. But if the Rockets can get them in the right head space and maximize their talents, they could be really good finds for the Rockets.