Brandon Knight Will Be a Difference-Maker For The Suns

Brandon Knight is an incredibly talented basketball player. Coming off the bench for the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls, the 23-year-old point guard showed flashes of how good he is. His display of blinding speed and shooting touch, he made 6 out of his 12 shots in the 25 minutes he played. The Suns are his third team in his four seasons in the NBA.

Phoenix acquired Knight in a three-team trade just before last Thursday’s trade deadline. It was a trade that sent guard Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers, along with forward Miles Plumlee and guard Tyler Ennis (both from Phoenix), to the Milwaukee Bucks. Philadelphia received a top-5 protected draft pick.

Point guard Kendall Marshall was also sent to the Suns in the deal. It is his second stint with the Phoenix.

Brandon Knight seemed to surprised that he was traded by the Bucks. In a CBS Sports report, he spoke of how he learned of the news.

“I was told literally right before the deadline,” Knight said.

“I was very surprised. I can’t lie to you about that. I definitely didn’t think I’d be traded.”

After a season-ending injury suffered by rookie Jabari Parker, Brandon Knight established himself as Milwaukee’s best player. He was averaging 17.8 points, 5.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 steals prior to being traded. There was even talk of him being in the running for a spot on the NBA All-Star team.

His improved play has caught the attention of the league. His now-former head coach, Jason Kidd, raved about the strides Knight continues to make in a Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel article released late January.

“For a young player it always takes time. It took time for LeBron (James); it took time for Kobe (Bryant). Sometimes it’s quicker but always there’s a process. Right now Jennings is playing as well as he has in his whole career. He causes a lot of problems because he stays on the dribble and he can shoot off the dribble. Right now he’s finding his teammates.”

Kidd should know a thing or two about good point guards, after all, he is bound for the Basketball Hall of Fame. The growth that Brandon Knight was showing in Milwaukee will now pay off for the Suns. Before the trade, Phoenix was in the playoff race, with Goran Dragic as their guard.

A more than capable Dragic was supposed to be part of the Suns future, but instead he wanted out. Subsequently, he was traded away to the Miami Heat. Dragic is more of a steady point guard, built in the traditional model of lead guards in the NBA. He was not fond of being a stand-in-the-corner shooter role that he was confined to. It is what was rumored to be the reason he wanted to be elsewhere.

Brandon Knight brings a different element to the Suns. Not only is he more athletic than Dragic, he is a better pure shooter, with a bigger upside. Knight is not a finished product the way Dragic is, but Saturday night’s game against the Bulls proved that he is a better fit.

The Suns want to run, so they defend and use defense to trigger fast-break opportunities. Knight is developing his ability to play the passing lanes. His length will cause havoc for opposing teams, creating chances to build a faster tempo.

Around the basket, Knight is a better finisher than Dragic. That will work in Phoenix’s favor. The only question regarding the addition of Knight is: will the team be able to sign him long-term? It was the same question that they were facing with Dragic.

The trade sending Brandon Knight to the Phoenix Suns has the potential to be one of the most underrated deals of the trade deadline. The talented guard will prove to be a difference-maker for them, provided they hold on to him.

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