Brandon Knight ranked ninth-best sophomore in NBA

David Thorpe of ESPN ranked second-year players based only on this season, and Brandon Knight placed ninth:

Like Thompson, Knight has proven that he has one very special skill: He can really shoot the deep shot. He’s up to 41 percent this season after a strong 38 percent from 3 last season, which is impressive. But he has not yet learned how to manage the game and to make easy passes/assists without being somewhat turnover-prone. Knight recently turned 21 and is known for his special work ethic and intelligence, so there is plenty of reason to believe he’ll improve a good deal. One side note: I’ve always thought he was going to be like Chauncey Billups, whose PER at age 21 happens to be the same as Knight’s now (12.7).

The Pistons drafted Knight with the No. 8 pick, so a No. 9 ranking is slightly underwhelming – but really, it means Knight was picked about where he should have been.

Also, I’m still not sold on the Knight-Billups comparison that continues to be forced. Leandro Barbosa also had a PER of 12.7 at age 21. What makes Knight more likely to follow Billups’ career path than Barbosa’s?

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