Brandon Knight Brings Star Power, Versatility to Phoenix

Integrity, honor, faith, reliability and consistency – these are common descriptors people use when talking about Brandon Knight as a player and person. That is to say, it’s virtually impossible to find something not to like about what Knight brings to the table for the Suns.

Knight attended Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where he is a living legend – his 3,515 points scored in high school ranks second all-time in the state. But Knight wasn’t just an extraordinary basketball player. One could make a case he was an even more impressive as a student.

“He could go to any school in the country without bouncing a ball,” David Beckerman, his high school basketball coach, said in 2010 to the Kentucky Advocate-Messenger. “He has a 4.3 grade-point average at the No. 1 academic school in Florida. He could not bounce a ball and go to Harvard. He's a once-in-a-lifetime player, but he's also a superb student.”

Before deciding to play basketball at Kentucky in 2010, Knight entertained the thought of Yale as a possible collegiate destination, and even visited the school. Perhaps more remarkable, even though Knight attended Kentucky for just one season, he was technically a sophomore before he entered the NBA Draft due to the Advanced Placement classes he completed in high school.

In college, Knight averaged 17.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 35.9 minutes in 38 games for Kentucky in 2010-11 while leading the Wildcats to the Final Four for the first time since 1998 (he was subsequently named NCAA East Region All-Tournament Most Outstanding Player). Incredibly, Knight tallied more 20-point games (14) than any Wildcat freshman in school history.

His successful time at Kentucky led to the Detroit Pistons selecting Knight with the 8th overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. After averaging 12.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 0.7 steals in 32.3 minutes per game for the Pistons, he was named to the 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Knight finished his first season in the league second among rookies in scoring, fourth in assists, tied for 11th in rebounds and tied for seventh in steals while setting a Pistons’ rookie record with 105 three-pointers made – one of only two rookies that season (Klay Thompson) to make 100 or more threes.

Knight was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013 and – like Eric Bledsoe – has dramatically improved with each passing year – the 2015-16 Suns season being no different. At 6-3, Knight has impressive size, strength and length for a guard. Physically (especially playing in the backcourt), he has every quality needed to be a bona-fide star – pure athleticism, an exceptional work ethic, vision and remarkable body control.

For example, Knight recorded his first career triple-double with 30 points, a career-high 15 assists and 10 rebounds, in addition to four steals on November 16 against the Lakers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Knight joined select company in achieving this line becoming the fourth player to do so since steals became an official stat in 1973-74.

Additionally, Knight became just the 22nd player in NBA history to record 4,000 career points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds before turning 24. Joe Johnson is the only other player to do so who played for the Suns before his 24th birthday.

As a guard, Knight understands how to take over a game whether that’s through scoring or creating opportunities for his teammates. Remarkably, over the last 10 games, Brandon Knight has set then surpassed his career-high in scoring, set a career-high in assists, recorded his first career triple-double, his first two career 30-point/10-rebound games and three double-doubles. Over this 10-game stretch, Knight is averaging 24.1 points (45.5 FG%, 43.8 3FG%, 81.1 FT%), 6.3 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.

It sounds tired, but people like Brandon Knight don’t come around very often – both on and off the floor.

Knight doesn’t try to be a good person with impeccable character; it’s instinctive. Similarly, making basketball easy for his teammates isn’t a conscious decision; that’s just his game.

Needless to say, his style fits seamlessly with Hornacek’s tenacious, fast-paced system.

Oh, and he just turned 24-years-old.