Measurables: 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, freshman G from Kentucky
Key stats: 17.2 points, 4.2 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 38 percent from three
How would he help the Pistons?
After an up and down regular season, Knight, should he choose to enter the draft, seems to have helped his draft stock as much as anyone. He was always considered a first round talent, but the way he’s asserted himself on Kentucky’s run to the Final Four has him looking like a legit lead guard/playmaker. He’s probably not as advanced as former John Calipari products Derrick Rose and John Wall, but even if Knight could have an Eric Bledsoe-like impact as a rookie, the team that drafted him would be very happy.
The Pistons’ need for a playmaker is an obvious one. There isn’t a guy on the roster who can consistently create his own shot under any circumstance when things break down. Knight potentially has that ability, and the best part is most mocks have him available in the 7-10 range where Detroit is most likely to be drafting. Knight is quick off the dribble, he’s big (and will get bigger as he fills out) and he might be a better perimeter shooter already than Rose/Wall were at his age.
How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?
Knight’s measurables are fantastic. He’s in the mold of the new wave NBA PG both in size and athleticism, although he’s not the explosive athlete that Rose or Wall or Russell Westbrook are. He’s a shoot-first PG, but what his season didn’t provide a clear answer to is if he’s a shoot-first PG like Rose or Wall, who still sets up good opportunities for others even if he’s the primary scoring option, or is he more Tyreke Evans, a phenomenal talent with scoring ability who doesn’t have the court vision or awareness of the others. Knight has also had problems with turnovers this season at Kentucky.
What are others saying?
Knight is obviously a great talent who has the chance to succeed as either a point guard or combo guard depending on his development, but he’ll need to develop a much more mature approach to the game to reach his full potential. Putting more focus on his shot selection, creating for others, and his defensive effort are all critical things he needs to address, and he still has plenty of time to do so. His potential as a starting point guard obviously greatly trumps his potential as a combo guard coming off the bench, so getting back to showing more of a pass-first mentality would likely help his draft stock considerably.
But Knight got better — a lot better — as the season progressed, much like two other former Calipari guards, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans. Knight is more comfortable running the offense (especially since Calipari has him using more ball screens) and has been Kentucky’s steadiest player this season.
Very creative passer … Quick decision maker … A fierce competitor, really steps his level of play up in big situations … High motor guy. Plays with a high level of intensity and passion … Strong work ethic, constantly looking to improve both his body and game … His body has seen an impressive transformation from his sophomore to senior year of high school … Has an excellent jumpshot with range out to 3 point … Good shooter off the dribble … An excellent defender who uses his length and quickness to stay in front of his man … Drew 2 changes per game as a senior in high school … Very smart, engaging young man with a bright future