Is Brandon Jennings a better fit for the Pistons than Brandon Knight?
1) He was drafted 7 picks after superstar point guard Kyrie Irving and was unable to avoid progress comparisons
2) He was integrated into a raw, undeveloped offense with a constantly changing identity
Whether or not General Manager Joe Dumars and the Pistons compared Knight to Irving too drastically, Knight was clearly developing at a slower rate than they hoped and the team felt that either he would never become a reliable franchise point guard or that he wouldn’t get there soon enough.
That what brought upon the sign-and-trade that sent Knight, Viacheslav Kravtzov, and Khris Middleton to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for point guard Brandon Jennings.
The main difference in the styles of the two point guards is the scoring prowess of Jennings versus the basketball IQ of Knight.
Jennings has shown a knack for putting the ball in the hole throughout his young career. His four seasons in Milwaukee were filled with highs and lows, as many 30-point games as 25% shooting nights. The bottom line is that he’s a fun player to watch, and he isn’t afraid to take as many shots as his team needs him too.
It’s hard to fully judge the potential of Brandon Jennings because his situation in Milwaukee has been so unfortunate. For three years he was the only Bucks player capable of scoring on a consistent basis, so you can’t blame him for the high volume of shot attempts. Then when backcourt partner Monta Ellis came along, the team had two guys that both needed the ball in their hands a great amount of the time to be fully effective. A strange combination that made Jennings’s role even more complicated.
All in all, Jennings hasn’t been paired with a supporting cast that has as much potential as the roster he just joined. With promising, young big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond up front, along with the explosive Josh Smith on the wing and veteran leader Chauncey Billups to learn from, Jennings has the chance to prove that his game can transfer to a successful basketball team.
Brandon Knight on the other hand, won’t have the same opportunity. Knight’s Pistons career was plagued with an ever-changing offensive approach. His backcourt partners were always rotating and other than the steady play of Monroe and the flashes of promise from Drummond and Kyle Singler last season, Knight had very little help adapting to life in the NBA.
All in all, the main problem was that he wasn’t able to assert himself as a leader and help catalyze the resurgence in Detroit. Well now that all the other pieces had improved, I was excited to see what Knight could do with better support, without the necessity to assert himself as much.
At only 21 years old, Knight is the age of most rookies or second-year players. He hasn’t taken the league by storm yet, but there’s still plenty of time for him to develop. Knight came out of high school with a 4.3 GPA and maintained a GPA well over 3.0 in his only year at Kentucky. That same year in college he led the Wildcats to the Final Four and the team fell by a single-point to eventual champions Connecticut in the semis.
Jennings might make the Pistons a better team this season. His ability to score is a huge luxury the Pistons just didn’t have last year. The Bucks, on the other hand, got an absolute steal by acquiring Knight for a player they were ready to lose. I don’t know if Knight will ever be an All-Star caliber point guard, but I think there’s a very good chance he’ll end up being the glue that helps hold a team together and in a lot of instances, that’s the more important piece.