3-on-3: Trading Brandon Knight

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, Patrick and I will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. We’re going to use 3-on-3s to assess the tradability of each Piston leading up to the March 15 trade deadline.

For each 3-on-3, we’ll be joined by a guest contributor. Today, that’s Rob Mahoney of NBC Sports’ ProBasketballTalk, The New York Times’ Off the Dribble blog, Hardwood Paroxysm, The Two Man Game and, soon to be, Bleacher Report.

Please add your responses in the comment.

1. How motivated are the Pistons to trade Brandon Knight?

Dan Feldman: Isiah Thomas 2.0? Why would the Pistons trade that? (Explored with more seriousness here)

Patrick Hayes: Knight has too much potential to simply be moved to help facilitate getting out of one of Detroit’s bad contracts, but he’s also not so good that he should be considered untouchable. The Pistons have put out a lot of rhetoric hyping Knight as a cornerstone-type building block, so they’re kind of backed into a corner as far as trading him. If they were to consider a deal that included Knight, it would probably have to be part of a larger deal that netted an All-Star level player in return.

Rob Mahoney: Not very. Knight exists in a particularly weird space; he’s clearly shown enough in his rookie season to warrant a thorough look from his incumbent team, and yet I’m not sure that he would hold a tremendous amount of trade value. There’s seemingly great incentive for the Pistons to hold on to Knight and develop him to the best of their abilities, if only because the other options may not be as palatable as one might think.

2. How motivated are other teams to trade for Brandon Knight?

Dan Feldman: The Pistons are swooning over Knight  because of his work ethic, intelligence and attitude – in other words, things potential trade partners can’t see from afar. I’m sure Knight is desired, simply because he was a recent lottery pick who’s had bursts of on-court competency, but I’m not sure teams that don’t see him every day love him like the Pistons apparently. do.

Patrick Hayes: I’m honestly not sure what his market would be. There is an abundance of players similar to Knight right now – young, dynamic guards who could be special if they figure out how to be point guards. I’m sure there are teams who like him and who would be interested in him, but take a look at NBA rosters right now. There are players similar to Knight on a lot of them. Some are better prospects than Knight, some are worse, but I think that probably limits the number of suitors on the off chance the Pistons actually were interested in trading him.

Rob Mahoney: Fairly – but not overwhelmingly – so. Knight is a former lottery pick with obvious NBA potential, but he hasn’t been so overwhelmingly effective as to remove all doubts. I can’t help but feel that the Pistons and the rest of the teams around the league are likely as intrigued and perplexed by Knight as we are. He holds a definite allure, but the gray areas of his game likely cue some second thoughts and variance in valuation.

3. How likely are the Pistons to trade Brandon Knight?

Dan Feldman: The Pistons probably value Knight much more than anyone else does. That makes a trade extremely unlikely.

Patrick Hayes: It’s not happening this season. I’m sure the debates about Knight’s upside will continue, with loudmouths on both sides of the debate either arguing that Knight is already destined to be a bust or that he’s the second coming of Isiah Thomas. (Seriously, folks, can’t we have a middle ground here when it comes to Knight?) Like it or not, though, the Pistons are committed to giving him ample opportunity to prove he’s the star in the making they think he is. Barring some unforeseen opportunity to land a star player in a trade, Knight isn’t going anywhere.

Rob Mahoney: Not at all. The Pistons wouldn’t have drafted Knight if they didn’t like the package of skills he showcased in college, and Knight has brought that same repertoire to the NBA and then some. The situation in Detroit may be particularly precarious, but I don’t see that translating into a scenario in which Knight – the team’s top non-Monroe prospect – is shipped out so quickly.

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