NPH Raptors Draft Watch: Part 1 Brandon Knight
TORONTO, ON- We are in the Point Guard Era. Embrace it or not, but the old school idea of what a point guard is, and what they should do, has been transplanted by a new generation of scoring point guards. Players like Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and MVP Derrick Rose can still pass the ball, but these names have been magnified from their ability to create their own shot, beat defenders off the dribble, and score at will. Yes indeed, this is a point guards league, so where do the Raptors fit in?
Jerryd Bayless is a young and unproven combo guard, and will get his shot next year to show that he belongs. Jose Calderon? Great passer and facilitator of the offence, hell, his consistency at throwing up an alley-oop pass is uncanny. However, the holes in his game far outweigh the benefits. Poor defense, a regressing shot percentage, and that frustrating display where he cuts to the basket, realizes he has no play, runs back to the three point line and resets.
June 23rd quickly approaches, and a fifth overall pick could be used on one of two exciting point guards. The Raptors held workouts with Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker this past week.
NPH will begin a Raptors Draft Watch as we study the players that might be accessible to the Raps with a quick description of the player, and whether the player would be well suited to don a Toronto uniform.
And so we begin with the Point Guards….
Brandon knight averaged 17.3 ppg and 4.2 assists with the Kentucky Wildcats last season. He can be a high level guard for whatever team drafts him.
It is interesting to note that Knight (at his agent’s request) asked for a separate workout with the Raptors where he would not be pitted against Kemba Walker. The reasoning behind this was Knight is projected to go ahead of Walker in the upcoming draft, so any poor performance against Walker in workouts would hurt his draft standing.
Knight has been credited with great size, speed and scoring ability. In his draft workouts, he shot the ball well from the 3-point line in both the pull up shot and while moving according to sources. Although the workout was light on contact, the Raptors had the opportunity to see Knight handle and move with the ball. He was described as having a great motor with a tonne of energy and aptitude for defense.
Knight was impressive in his draft workouts for several teams and is unlikely to fall to number five overall in the draft. If he does, he would be a perfect fit for the Raps. As mentioned earlier, his shooting and passing is above average, but the kicker is his ability to guard his position, something the Raptors have not been able to do for several years. Many current mock drafts have Knight going 3rd overall to the Utah Jazz, who could use a young point guard to spell the injury prone Devin Harris. But if Knight falls in the draft order, expect the Raps to jump at the opportunity for this young Point Guard.
Photo Courtesy: Mike Cassese/Reuters, Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY