There's been a lot made of the Tayshaun Prince trade in the past 24 hours. Grades for the trade have been handed out (the Pistons received an "A" or "B" from nearly every national sports outlet), new jersey numbers have been picked (Jose Calderon has asked to wear no. 8), and nearly every writer in the Metro-Detroit area has penned their column on Tayshaun Prince's legacy. (click here to read ours) All that is left to do is sit back, wait for what looks to be a big spending offseason, and watch the Pistons and the newly acquired Calderon play out the season.
Jose Calderon Will Make Brandon Knight Better, No Matter the PositionJanuary 31st, 2013 at 11:47 PM
By Phil Fattore
But as Calderon plays out the season, might Brandon Knight be running the risk of playing himself out of the point guard spot?
Despite this being only the midpoint of Knight's first full NBA season (rookie year was lockout shortened), there's already rumblings that the young point guard might be better suited in an off-guard position. Knight looks lost running the point at times, and his development as an NBA floor general has seemingly stalled out. Knight has improved his assist averages by less than one from last season, going from 3.8 assists last season to now, 4.3 assists. His turnovers are higher than last season too, with his 2.6 turnover average last season increasing to 3.0 per game this year. A true sign of stagnant growth, Knight's assist-to-turnover ratio is nearly identical from his first year as his 1.47 rookie ratio became slightly worse at 1.45 so far this season.
Calderon, on the other hand, ranks eighth in the NBA in assists per game with a 7.4 assist average while boasting a 4.44 assist-to-turnover ratio that ranks as the third-best ratio in the NBA. As playing Calderon at the point would likely provide the Pistons with a stronger offensive attack, the likely move would be to put Knight alongside Calderon in the backcourt. After all, it's not like shooting guard duties are foreign to Knight.
The last time Knight played an extensive amount of time at the off-guard position was on Jan. 27 when he played the entire fourth quarter alongside Will Bynum in a 104-102 win over the Orlando Magic. Knight dropped 31 points that night, including nine fourth quarter points while playing the two. All nine points came on spot-up behind the arch shots, and each make came off a drive and dish assist from Bynum. Calderon is a far superior assist-man compared to Bynum, especially with the drive and dish.
As Knight has already shown an ability to move without the ball, with either a slashing move or a spot-up shot, the Calderon-Knight combination could help Knight add to his 12 game tally of scoring 20-plus points. More importantly, the combination will provide the necessary look Joe Dumars needs to gage whether or not to continue with Knight at the one or move him to the two longterm. The point guard need would then be addressed in free agency or the draft. (If the Pistons finish outside the lottery their first round pick goes to Charlotte via the Ben Gordon-Corey Magette trade)
It's important to remember that no matter what happens with Calderon, Knight is not going to be completely written off as an NBA point guard. In fact, putting Calderon at the one could end up playing a huge part in Knight becoming the point guard of the future. When Knight was drafted in the 2011 offseason it marked the white-flag surrender of the Rodney Stuckey point guard experiment. Knight was handed the point guard reins and took a blind stab without having any viable veteran option to lean on, watch or learn from. Even it only lasts until the end of the season when Calderon becomes an unrestricted free agent, Knight finally has a proven veteran to look to for daily point guard example.
With Jose Calderon's arrival there's the possibility that Brandon Knight becomes more of a shooting guard in the eyes of the coaching staff and front office. There's also the possibility that Knight learns from Calderon's experience, gets over the slow growth he's been experiencing, and becomes the point guard the Pistons imagined when they drafted him. Either way, there's reason to believe that Knight can improve with Calderon wearing the Detroit red, white and blue.
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