Faith in Hard Work

Knight isn’t banking on lottery luck for Pistons’ improvement

Brandon Knight logged three-plus hours in the gym Thursday and would have stretched it out even longer but for a commitment to spend an hour at the Lake Orion Hollywood Market to sign autographs. He rushed out of the gym without showering to make it in time and he was back at it Friday morning, planning on a four-hour session this time.

So you can believe his response when you ask if he plans on lugging any lucky charms with him to New York for next week’s NBA draft lottery drawing – the Pistons will have Knight on stage representing them – and he shakes his head.

“I don’t believe in luck – I believe in hard work,” he said.

Maybe the Pistons are hoping Knight’s tangential connection to Anthony Davis, the overwhelming choice as the No. 1 pick in the June 28 draft, will tip the karmic scales their way. Though Davis was arriving at Kentucky as Knight was exiting, they at least share their Bluegrass roots, both leading John Calipari’s Wildcats to the Final Four as freshmen.

“He’s a program changer,” Knight said of Davis, a 6-foot-10 power forward who was the national Player of the Year in leading Kentucky to the national championship. “That’s just my opinion. As soon as he gets adjusted to the system he’s in, what his coach wants and needs from him, I feel he’s going to definitely make whatever team he goes to a much better team and they’re going to be a pretty good defensive team, as well.”

While Davis is a player virtually every lottery team would choose to build around, he would appear to ideally complement the Pistons’ in-place core that includes Knight and Greg Monroe. Davis’ shot-blocking and athleticism would mesh ideally with Monroe’s all-around fundamental soundness. Davis was a guard until a growth spurt after his sophomore year of high school added 7 inches, so while he remains a raw prospect offensively, scouts see in him vast potential at that end, as well.

As tantalizing a prospect as it is to imagine Davis sliding in next to Monroe and giving the Pistons a developing Big Three of players all 21 or younger, Knight isn’t banking on the 1.7 percent chance the Pistons have to win the lottery.

“I’m sure we’re going to get better from whatever happens in the draft,” he said. “I’m confident of that.”

We’ll have more next week from Brandon Knight on