Brandon Knight delivered in a huge way for the Detroit Pistons in his rookie season.
But even much more will be expected of Knight this season as he develops into one of three players, along with Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey the franchise is developing its future around right now.
Knight came to the Pistons last year with plenty of confidence. After making the NBA’s all-rookie team, he’s ready to take the next step which could also help the Pistons get to the next level: playoff contention.
The Pistons liked Knight enough to start him most of last season. And he delivered. It would appear he’s ready to handle more this year and coach Lawrence Frank shouldn’t hesitate from making the former Kentucky superstar a cornerstone of his offense.
Last season, Knight played in all 66 games (60 starts) and averaged 12.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 0.7 steals in 32.3 minutes per outing.
He was second among all rookies in the league scoring and was also fourth in assists, tied for 11th in rebounds and tied for seventh in steals. He made a Pistons’ rookie record 105 three-pointers.
The last thing the Pistons would need is for Knight to suffer the sophomore jinx and not better his 2011-12 averages. With his offseason preparation, it’s likely Knight will only get better.
“He play(s) with great energy, he’s on the floor and makes some nice plays on the pick and roll,” Frank said. “Everyone can see he is going to be a very, very good player. That’s the great thing about this league, every year it turns out great young players.”
Frank predicted just as the 2011-12 campaign was beginning that Knight was going to make it big as an NBA rookie. He was right.
“He’s worked extremely hard,” Frank said. “He doesn’t leave the gym until 11:30 at night. He has great work ethic and super high character.”
But can Knight make it even bigger as a sophomore NBA player?
“You can always get better,” Knight said. “I’m going to watch tape and see the areas I can improve in, not just me but as a team and how I can make the team better.”
“He came in on the run by himself and definitely is a good spark for us,” said Monroe.
Frank and Stuckey have had an influence on trying to get Knight to be more of a factor in the paint.
“Coach says try to get in paint,” Knight said. “I’m able to knock down shots; when they collapse to me, I kick it out to others… trying to see the guys and run the team.”
It’s possible that after most Pistons games this season, Detroit basketball fans will have two words on their minds: