It is crazy to think that a team with three point guards has been eyeing another point guard now for a long time. But for the Phoenix Suns, it has been the case.
The Suns dealt Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic on Thursday’s trade deadline and in return as part of a three team trade that didn’t have to do with either of those two, they added 23 year-old Brandon Knight from the Milwaukee Bucks.
General Manager Ryan McDonough said on Friday during his post-trade deadline press conference that Knight was not someone who they have just had on their radar since the notion if Dragic wanting to leave came about. For McDonough in particular, you go back to pre-draft evaluations for when Knight first blew him away.
“Brandon Knight has excelled in everything he has done his entire life,” said McDonough. “Going back to our pre-draft research and prep on him and I say our with two organizations now with what we did in Boston and what Phoenix did prior to my arrival. All the background, character and in tell we received was about as good as any player I have ever seen.”
Landing a player of such charter is one of the things that has the Suns the most excited about Knight. He was his High School’s Valedictorian and has a work ethic that McDonough calls “legendary.”
“When he was in Detroit, some of the guys in Detroit told me that they were thinking about changing the combination lock for the gym because he kept coming back at night and they were worried he was going to get burnt out,” mentioned McDonough.
That is Knight off-the-court or during non-game situations, but what about Knight as the player?
“We feel like he should have been an All-Star in the Eastern Conference,” McDonough stated. “He is one of the top three point shooters in the league, he is a big game player, he is a late game player. He’s a game closer.”
Closing games is obviously something the Suns have struggles with this season. At the All-Star break, the Suns are 2-9 in game decided by three points or less, 0-4 in overtime and of course the four game winners on last second shots that have haunted the team this season. Knight has proven to be a guy that likes to take the game winning shot and has proven he can do it.
The question now with Knight is how he will do along side Eric Bledsoe. With Dragic and Thomas gone, Bledsoe is the point guard of this team and Knight will initially play off the ball when both are in the game. They have a connection as they both played for Kentucky but at different times and have taken a similar path to the NBA as they were both one and done’s.
“The thing we like about him and Eric Bledsoe is that they are basketball players,” said McDonough. “I think a lot of people have pre-conceived notions of how the game is supposed top be played and all five positions need to be delineated…I think Brandon and Eric will be leaders of how we play and I think they will play great together.”
After this season, Knight is going to be a restricted free agent. There were reports from Milwaukee that he turned down a nine million dollar a year deal to be with the Bucks long term which is why he was on the trading block. The Suns know that they will have a big decision to make with Knight after this season and have every intention to putting themselves in the best position to have him stay.
“We look forward to his restricted free agency,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby stated. “He’s a terrific player and we will see how it goes over the next couple of months but we have every hope that it will be a long term relationship.”
The Suns are back in action post All-Star break Friday night in Minnesota. Knight looks to make his Suns debut in Chicago against the Bulls this weekend.