The Knicks have signed 29-year-old guard Brandon Knight. The 6-2 veteran was the former 8th pick in the 2011 Draft by the Detroit Pistons. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but we can imagine it will end up being for the veteran’s minimum.
The move looks to provide security at the point guard position should, God forbid, either Kemba Walker or Derrick Rose are out for extended periods of time. It’s been apparent in a small sample size Immanuel Quickly is not yet prepared to man the point for extended minutes in games that matter. Knight has been a serviceable guard his entire career, posting career averages of 14.1PPG and 4APG and 3.1RPG in 446 games with Detroit, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Houston, and Cleveland.
After being named to the 2011-12 All-Rookie First Team, Knight was never able to play himself into a consistent starring role. It should be mentioned his 12.8PPG was the highest-scoring average for a Pistons rookie since Grant Hill in 1994-1995. For context, Pistons have mainly drafted for positional fit since the Hill homerun draft. Andre Drummond remains the only high upside player drafted by the Pistons in the last two decades.
Throughout his eight years in the career he has been a part of some high-upside trades. First he was considered almost an even swap in 2013 when he went from the Pistons to Bucks in a deal for Brandon Jennings which also brought a second-year Kris Middleton to Milwaukee. Then in 2015 he was traded to Phoenix for Michael Carter-Williams who was fresh off winning Rookie of the Year the prior season. Most recently he was part of the package the Cavaliers gave to Detroit for Andre Drummond, showing he was still respected as a quality guard, even if the package was a damnation of Drummond’s worth at the time. He was most recently with the Brooklyn Nets Summer League before the club declined on keeping him a part of their regular season squad.
As with Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja before him, there is a Scott Perry draft connection at play here. Perry returned to an executive position with the Pistons to become vice president of basketball operations from 2008 to 2012 and was part of the brain trust which took Knight, the Fort Lauderdale standout, in the lottery. And if recalling Payton evokes PTSD, fans can relax knowing Knight comes to the Knicks with career averages of 35% from three on nearly five attempts per game. Before joining the Knicks in 2019 Payton was a 31% average shooter from three on two attempts per game.
And wouldn’t you know it, Knight also attended the University of Kentucky as well when Knicks assistant Kenny Payne was in his first year as an assistant coach during Knight’s one and done season , so the rationale around the signing makes sense. The Knicks get a player they already have personal intel on and take a flyer on a low-risk veteran presence to play in pinches when called upon. While with the Wildcats Knight posted averages of 17.3 points, 4.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds over 35.9 minutes in 38 games (all starts) leading the team back to the Final Four for the first time since 1998, and starting the renaissance of the next decade of dominance for the men’s basketball program.
Knight represents exactly the kind of below-average point guard who is decent at everything and great at nothing known to don a Knicks jersey throughout the years. Shades of Chris Duhon and Jarrett Jack color the expectations of what Knight will bring as a steady hand at the point. And both of those guys brought plenty of intangibles during their short stints with the Knicks, at times where it was desperately needed. Perhaps Knight can bring some of the same.