Tag:Brandon Knight
Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 12:06 am
 

Post-Lottery NBA Mock Draft v.3.1 by Matt Moore

The NBA Lottery was held Tuesday night, with the Cleveland Cavliers landing the No.1 overall spot, and the Utah Jazz moving up to the No. 3 position. Here's our immediate mock draft reflecting the lottery results. This mock draft is by Matt Moore, EOB Blogger. 

Posted by Matt Moore

kyrie-irving-5

1. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Kyrie Irving: The Cavs have to start over and just got a chance to do that. Irving is the consensus best player in the draft. Young, explosive, with an actual jumper, Irving's only questions is a toe injury that he returned from to dominate the NCAA tournament. He'll make for a great building block. The only question now: "Who's dumb enough to take Baron Davis off our hands?"

2. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Derrick Williams. The small-ball lineups for the Wolves next year with Williams at PF and Love at C are going to be awesome. Wes Johnson may spend more time at the 2 with Williams on board. If David Kahn can connive Ricky Rubio to come over, the Wolves are going to improve, finally. If Kahn doesn't screw this up.

3. Utah Jazz -- Brandon Knight. Knight's going to play in combo sets with Devin Harris. If he develops into a better PG, great, they can move Devin Harris. If he doesn't, he'll be an undersized SG, but still a legit scoring threat.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Jonas Valanciunas. You've got the PG, get the big man. Valanciunas is the lone Euro big in this draft who really impresses on the glass and off the pick and roll. 6-11, 240, he and Kyrie can set a new tone in Cleveland.

5. Toronto Raptors -- Jan Vesely. 6-11 forward with aggression. He's a Euro, which is going to mean Colangelo catching flak, but he's the best option. DeRozan slides to the 2 and Vesely's aggression gives the Raptors some much needed attitude.

6. Washington Wizards -- Kawhi Leonard. Kemba Walker's too small to pair with Wall, and the Euro bigs don't help with JaVale McGee and Blatch on roster. Leonard gives the Wizards a talented all-around SF to build around with Wall.

7. Sacramento Kings -- Kemba Walker. Well, the Kings have great size in the backcourt already with Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton. Kemba Walker's not a great fit. He's small, a scorer, and could be a defensive liability. But he's Best Player Available, and the Kings don't have time for a project center.

8. Detroit Pistons -- Enes Kanter. Twin towers with Monroe. 'Nuff said.

9. Charlotte Bobcats -- Donatas Motiejunas. Well the Bobcats' future isn't super bright, so they can afford a project. Motiejunas isn't a great rebounder, but with Tyrus Thomas, maybe he doesn't have to be. Having a versatile low-post big man will help them, provided Jordan doesn't Kwame him.

10. Milwaukee Bucks -- Alec Burks. Bucks need scoring. Burks is a pure scorer. Happily ever after.

11. Golden State Warriors -- Bismack Biyombo. A project for a team with a long-term vision. Incredible physical tools and some explosiveness. Right system, Biyombo's a star. Wrong system, he's a bust.

12. Utah Jazz -- Marcus Morris. A terrible spot for Utah with all the raw size off the board. Morris allows for a trade of Millsap or Jefferson if they don't move the pick itself.

13. Phoenix Suns -- Tobias Harris. Versatility is the Suns' game. Harris' biggest liability is defense. The Suns don't defend much. Convenient.

14. Houston Rockets -- Tristan Thompson. Rough spot for the Rockets as well. Thompson is high-upside, and the Rockets can hope that he can play in some versatile lineups.

15. Indiana Pacers -- Josh Selby. Hey, you can't swing and miss on every Kansas shooting guard, right? Selby's a reach here, but his impressive workouts at Impact in Las Vegas could push him here.

16. Philadelphia 76ers -- Lucas Nogueira. 7-0, high upside. The Sixers can afford to take a project with the core they have. Nogueira could replace Hawes by end of season if things go right, or be the long-term solution.

17. New York Knicks -- Jimmer Fredette. Big name star, explosive scorer, defensive issues limited by system (or exaggerated if you will). Fredette's an easy one here.

18. Washington Wizards -- Kenneth Faried. The Anti-Blatche.

19. Charlotte Bobcats -- Klay Thompson. Can spell Tyrus Thomas when he inevitably gets in foul trouble.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Chris Singleton. Best player available for the Wolves.

21. Portland Trail Blazers -- Reggie Jackson. Nate McMillan says the backcourt must change. It starts here.

22. Denver Nuggets -- Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton falls among all the small forwards, and the Nuggets swoop him up with some big free agent questions lingering for them.

23. Houston Rockets -- Tyler Honeycutt. A solid player to work off-ball with Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin. BPA theorem in effect (Best Player Available).

24. Oklahoma City Thunder -- Davis Bertans. High upside player falls to the Thunder. Perimeter scoring and good size. A Euro replacement for Jeff Green.

25. Boston Celtics -- Charles Jenkins. A versatile perimeter threat with handle, could provide the bench scoring that was so badly missing this year.

26. Dallas Mavericks -- Travis Leslie. Mavericks need wings. The end.

27. New Jersey Nets -- Kyle Singler. A high energy guy with touch to pair with Brook Lopez and never get any rebounds ever.

28. Chicago Bulls -- Nolan Smith. The Bulls need shooters. Smith's the closest thing to it at this point.

29. San Antonio Spurs -- Keith Benson. Anyone who rebounds will do here.

30. Chicago Bulls -- Darius Morris. Hey, they're loaded at every other position. Why not?
Posted on: April 20, 2011 3:19 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 3:24 pm
 

UK's Knight, Jones and Liggins declare for draft

Posted by Royce Young

Much like the Kentucky trio of players that played one year in Lexington and then took their talents to the NBA, Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones have declared for the draft.

Neither has hired an agent as of yet, leaving the door open to return to school. However, with both projected to go in the lottery, I'd imagine they'll stick. They have until May 8 to withdraw from the draft and return to Kentucky.

(Also declaring is DeAndre Liggins, junior. He didn't hire an agent yet either.)

With this draft class seen as universally weak, Knight and Jones help things a bit. Knight will likely be the second point guard chosen behind Kyrie Irving with some projections have him going as high as three. Jones is a bit on the fringe of the lottery, but as a versatile, big swingman in a weak draft, he'll probably find a spot in the lottery.

However, neither of these two Kentucky super-freshmen look near as NBA ready as DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall or even Eric Bledsoe did. Knight has some clear holes in his game. There are a lot of concerns that he is the type of point guard that can step in and take over a team and run it. He's a solid scorer, but doesn't posess the same floor generalship that Irving does.

Jones is just inconsistent. He's incredibly skilled for his size (6-8 with a 7-2 wingspan). He can handle, pass, score inside and out, rebound and defend. His biggest issue is not doing all those things at once. He shot the ball poorly in the NCAA tournament and for most of the conference season. He just seems to have problems bringing it consistently, which in a league with 82 games and a game nearly every other night, is a bad thing.

Like I said, I'm assuming Knight and Jones will stay in the draft. Liggins might pull out, but he could see an opportunity to sneak into the first round with this being a weak draft. His stock rose with a solid NCAA tournament where he hit some big shots. Players like Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger likely influenced these decisions a bit with their decision to stay in school. Especially for Jones who is almost a lock for the lottery now.
Posted on: March 27, 2011 11:49 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2011 1:05 am
 

Nets owner Jay-Z celebrates Final Four with UK

New Jersey Nets owner Jay-Z spent Sunday night celebrating with the University of Kentucky after the team secured a trip to the Final 4. Posted by Ben Golliver. jay-z-kentucky

As the University of Kentucky Wildcats were celebrating a 76-69 victory over North Carolina that sent them through to the Final 4 on Sunday, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that the team was greeted by an unexpected visitor: rapper and New Jersey Nets co-owner Jay-Z.
Jay-Z, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, is a partial owner of the NBA's New Jersey Nets. UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said his visit to the UK locker room wasn't planned in advance.
Peevy wasn't certain if the rapper had been in the stands for the game. He was waiting in the hallway as UK players returned to the locker room after the game, and players were caught by surprise.

“I said, ‘Oh that's Jay-Z!' ” forward Terrence Jones said. “We all gave him a handshake and he came in the locker room, and we just kept screaming ‘Jay-Z in the locker room!' He congratulated us, just said he was proud of us.”
When your team is headed for its fifth straight trip to the NBA Draft Lottery, you might as well get an early start on getting to know your future players, right? Kentucky has two potential lottery picks -- guard Brandon Knight and forward Terrence Jones -- this season after becoming the first program to ever produce five first round picks in 2010. That locker room would be a pretty awesome place to be if you're a fan of basketball, especially if you're a fan of basketball and happen to co-own an NBA team.

I can understand Jay-Z's desire to hang out with winners for a change, but this seems like it should be against some NBA protocol or another. While it's not that big of a deal -- certainly nothing compared to the New York Knicks illegally working out recruits --intentional contact between an NBA owner and future NBA players while they're still in college just months before the draft screams competitive advantage and slippery slope. What's next? Kentucky wins the title and Jay-Z greets them with an Ace of Spades shower and a rainstorm of 100 dollar bills?

In 2007, Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge was fined $30,000 by the NBA for "excessive contact with the family" after sitting with Kevin Durant's mother during the Big 12 tournament. What does that make Jay-Z guilty of here? Excessive dapping? 

Photo of Jay-Z in the Kentucky locker room via YFrog .
Posted on: March 17, 2011 5:52 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 5:59 pm
 

NBA prospect Brandon Knight hits game-winner

Video of 2011 NBA draft prospect Brandon Knight hitting a game-winning layup for the University of Kentucky over Princeton University. Posted by Ben Golliver.

The 2011 NCAA tournament is off to a bang, with a number of Thursday's early games going all the way down to the wire. The University of Kentucky Wildcats -- the No. 1 NBA draft prospect factory going these days -- were involved in a hard-fought tussle with Princeton Tigers. 

With the game tied 57-57 with 30 seconds left, Kentucky ran the clock down, holding for a final shot. Coach John Calipari decided to put the game in the hands of freshman point guard Brandon Knight, who had been 0-7 from the field up to that point in the game. 

Knight used a Darius Miller screen to attempt to free himself off of the dribble. Princeton forward Kareem Maddox switched on to Knight, who used a number of dribble fakes to get by Maddox going to the right. However, Knight wasn't able to turn the corner and, with the clock winding down, he lofted up a right-handed runner over Maddox's out-stretched arms. The shot kissed in perfectly off the glass, giving Kentucky its winning 59-57 margin.

Here's a look at Knight's game-winning layup courtesy of NCAA.com.



Knight, 6'3" and 185, is an athletic, quick point guard known for his ability to score, break his man down off the dribble and elevate. Hailing from Florida, he is ranked as the No. 16 prospect on DraftExpress.com's current mock draft

Knight finished with two points and five assists in 38 minutes. His teammate and fellow first-round draft prospect, freshman forward Terrence Jones, finished with 10 points and two rebounds in 26 minutes. 

Knight, Jones and company, the East region's No. 5 seed, advance to play the No. 4 seeded University of West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday. The Mountaineers defeated the Clemson Tigers 84-76 on Thursday.
Posted on: March 17, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Thursday's NCAA Tournament top draft prospects

A look at the NBA draft prospects playing Thursday in the NCAA tournament. 
Posted by Matt Moore




March Madness. One of the greatest sporting events of the year, where emotions run high and so do the office pools. But the tournament also serves as a reminder to us pro-ball types that the draft isn't that far away, and gives us the best opportunity to see the prospects in a high-profile scenario, under the brightest lights. It's also the first time a lot of NBA fans will pay attention to these players, period. So with that, here's a guide to the players to watch out for in Thursday's first-round games.*

*Sorry, not going to treat the play-ins like a round. They're their own thing, like Neopolitan ice cream.

The "Big name on the marquee" Guy: Kemba Walker, G, UConn
Walker is that guy who all your friends will ask you about in terms of the NBA. "That guy can just play" will be a common phrase. What they really mean is "That guy can really score in college," which is not the same thing at all. This isn't to say that Walker hasn't been phenomenal dropping huge scoring numbers all season and especially in the Big 10 tournament. The questions will be about Walker's ability to translate into an NBA guard at his size. Walker's 6-1 officially (beware the "official" numbers), and that kind of size causes problems for 2-guards (ask O.J. Mayo). Walker's most readily compared to Rondey Stuckey and Jonny Flynn, but defensively, O.J. Mayo may be comparable. Mayo's a shooting gaurd who gets overwhelmed by the size of NBA 2s. Offensively, though, the Flynn-Stuckey comparisons are sound, but have their issues as well. From SBNation's Mike Prada: 
The issue with Walker, though, is something that we've touched on before on this site. Walker, at this point, is essentially a six-foot shooting guard. The comparisons to former Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn, who rode a similar surge in the Big East Tournament two years ago into an ill-fated high lottery selection, are obvious. They are different players, but those differences don't exactly clear up the Kemba puzzle. Walker carries a much more significant load for his team than Flynn does, but he also scored less efficiently and dished out far fewer assists, as we noted. Walker all commits far fewer turnovers, which is a feather in his cap, but also a byproduct, in a way, of his increased usage i.e. he'll occasionally shoot a bad shot instead of committing a turnover, which is better, but not by much.
via Kemba Walker Is A Household Name Before 2011 NCAA Tournament, But Is He An NBA Player? - SBNation.com.

Interestingly, on offense, Walker has the great numbers you'd expect, but Synergy Sports reveals a few interesting facets. For starters, UConn runs a lot of pick and roll with Walker, his second highest play count. He's great at drawing fouls in that set, but that can partially be attributed to the kind of pick and roll defense in college. He shoots just 36% in that set, which is pretty good, but not nearly the 42% he runs off-screen or the 52% off the cut. In short, Walker's a better shooter in catch-and-shoot situations than he is with the ball in his hands (39%). (All numbers courtesty of Synergy Sports.)  
All this won't keep Walker from going top-10, however, since as your friend says, "Man, that guy can (score)." 

Expected Selection: DX: 8 NBADraft.net: 22

Plays: vs. Bucknell, 7:20 p.m. (TNT)

The "Did that guy break the rim? Because I think that guy broke the rim" Guy: Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky

Jones is your prototypical hyper-athletic big who throws down the occasional dunk to make you fear him the way primitive homo sapiens feared lightning. He's also your prototypical tweener who thinks he has a better mid-range than he does. As Tom Ziller at SBNation notes: 
He creates his own shot well; according to Kenpom.com, Jones takes 28 percent of Kentucky's shots when on the court, more than even trigger-happy guard Brandon Knight. Jones is OK at getting to the line -- he won't be a Carmelo Anthony/LeBron Jamesstyle foul-drawer, certainly, but he'll get to the stripe -- and a rather inefficient scorer in total. It's hard to see how Jones could ever become a really efficient scorer at the NBA level -- you can see it in Barnes and Williams, but not Jones. His three-point shot is suspect (though he started the year very well) and despite being Kentucky's best paint option, he relies on his mid-range jumper quite a bit. If that continues, it'll depress his field goal percentage and free throw rate, hurting his value.
via Terrence Jones Looks To Squelch Concerns In 2011 NCAA Tournament - SBNation.com.

Jones has a .64 points per possession mark in the post, and shoots 33% there. That's really, really bad, even among college players who lack footwork, coordination, touch, and a basic understanding of the properties of space.  Jones could really use a better distributing point guard to create opportunities for him, but that's not really Brandon Knight's bag. Jones' defense could be what really helps his stock in the tournament, though. Jones is an elite defender in the post this year, allowing just 32% shooting and fouling just 11% of the time. That's big time stuff. 

In the pros, however, he may be undersized, which means those shooting numbers have to go up, and his ability to defend ISO has to improve. Jones is in the exciting but dangerous area, where if things go right he's a big that can do multiple things, and if they go wrong, he's a wing who can't play in space. 

Expected Selection: DX: 9 NBADraft.net: 11

Plays: vs. Princeton 2:45 p.m. EST (CBS)

The "Gosh, the other Calipari guards were so good" Guy. Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky

Here's the deal with Knight. Your standard point guards that come out of the Calipari's system are athletic wonders who have tremendous speed and vision but can't shoot worth a lick. Brandon Knight is an athletic talent with underwhelming vision who's shooting 44% from the field and 39% from 3-point range this season. That ain't bad. According to Synergy Sports, Knight shot 49% in ISO, 40% in spot-up, and drew shooting fouls 12% of the time in transition. 

So for teams looking at him, if they want someone with upside, Knight may not be the guy. Averaging 4 assists per game, he's more of a scoring point guard. But for teams that want someone who can come in and produce points immediately, he's a good fit. In a system where the point guard isn't the primary playmaker, Knight could be a great fit. And his athleticism is such to see some considerable upside in terms of attack. It's the assist-turnover ratio you have to worry about. If Knight isn't drafted into the right situation, he could struggle. 

Expected Selection: DX: 16 NBADraft.net: 13

The "Jimmer" Guy: Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU

22-years old. Beware the 22-year-old senior. Guys with limited improvement potential are scary for first-round picks. But, I mean, it's Jimmer. I don't have to explain to you who Jimmer is. But I'll throw some numbers out for you. If you throw the ball to Jimmer spot-up? He hits it more than he misses. No matter where. He shoots 55% in spot-up situations. Creating a shot off the dribble, he shoots 39% in ISO situations, despite having to do so 27% of the time he's on the floor and being the primary offensive weapon for BYU with no one close as a second option in terms of effectiveness. He's a monster shooter, there's no other way to put it. 

Defensively, that's the rub. Fredette's limited in size, athleticism, speed, savvy, and ability. There's little options for his improvement, and if he can't, he's looking at being too much of a liability at the NBA level to justify keeping him on the floor as a shooter. From DX's profile: 
The biggest concern about Fredette's transition to the NBA clearly lies on the defensive end. He is a poor defender, even at the college level, showing average length, heavy feet and unimpressive lateral quickness. He rarely gets into an actual defensive stance, fails to get a hand up on shooters and shows little interest in trying to fight through screens. The same laid-back approach that makes him so difficult to get off-kilter offensively is a serious detriment to his work on the other end, potentially making him a liability in the NBA. With all this in mind, one of the biggest factors in determining the type of success Fredette will have in the NBA is the team he ends up on. In a fast-paced offense predicated on getting shots early in the shot-clock and a coach willing to live with defensive lapses, Fredette will be an incredible weapon. Put him in the wrong system, though, with a team that likes to grind it out and a coach who demands perfection on every defensive possession and we could be looking at a disaster.
via DraftExpress NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Jimmer Fredette, Stats, Comparisons, and Outlook.

The best option for him? Model himself after Duke legend J.J. Redick. Redick suffered for two years trying to get any level of appreciation from Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy told him to improve on defense, so Redick committed himself 100% while retaining his natural shooting ability and adding muscle. As a result, Redick is a terrific perimeter defender, the best defender of Ray Allen I've seen in the league. He works constantly, and without complaint, and can also Heat up from the perimeter. Fredette can gain a lot by looking to Redick as a model, even if he's not as athletically gifted as Redick. 
Expected Selection: DX: 17 NBADraft.net: 10
Plays: vs. Wofford, 7 p.m. EST (CBS)
Posted on: November 26, 2010 2:21 pm
 

Hunter's statements ring in Freshmen ears

NBA labor dispute could have impacts not only on NBA players but freshmen headed for one-and-done status.
Posted by Matt Moore

Kyrie Irving was busy tearing up teams on Duke's way to dominating the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Terrence Jones was making a name for himself in Maui. Josh Selby was continuing his ineligibility thanks to Team Melo. Harrison Barnes was struggling to find himself, and Enes Kanter, well, he wasn't doing anything much at all.

The country's best freshmen draft prospects were a little distracted last week when NBA Union head Billy Hunter said he was 99% sure there would be a lockout next season . But don't think the comments didn't trickle their way into the youngsters' ears at some point later, along with Ken Berger's report of hope emerging in the talks just as Hunter talks doom and gloom.

You're going to hear a lot from these kids as the year goes on about how they're not paying attention to the CBA talks. You're going to hear about how they are just focused on their team and trying to win now, for their teammates. And everything you hear is ignoring the reality which is that the current tensions between the owners group and the union has to have these standout freshmen concerned.

The freshmen have a bigger decision because "one-and-done" players are usually the most talented and have the best chance of getting drafted as high as possible. There are certainly exceptions (Evan Turner and Blake Griffin are two that spring immediately to mind). But "one-and-done" has come to mean high profile draft pick in recent years and next year's projected draft class is chock full of them. Five of the top six players projected in the 2011 class by Draft Express are freshmen (though it's hard to argue Enes Kanter is a freshman anywhere at this point).

A lockout means leaving college puts them in a precarious position financially should they elect to jump to the draft this summer. Staying in college increases the odds of injury, their stock dropping, or other forces beyond their control impacting the number of millions they're able to collect when they decide to become a professional.

So it's kind of a big decision.

The question is if the concerns surrounding a lockout for the freshmen will be enough to keep them at their schools next year. If they do talk kids off the professional highwire ledge, it could have huge impacts on next year's college basketball season. Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com isn't convinced the lockout concerns will freeze the freshmen, because they'll have other options to make some dough before their contract dough gets sorted out. But if they do, it'll make for a stellar college basketball season in 2011-2012. As Parrish told F&R:

"I'm not certain a lockout would force everybody back to college the way some suspect because the elite guys, at the very least, will still have options. A freshman coming off a great season and deep run in the NCAA tournament -- Jared Sullinger? Kyrie Irving? Terrence Jones? -- might be high-profile enough at that point to secure endorsements that can't be turned away, or maybe a European club offers big money to bring a 'name' over. Beyond that, academics could always force the hand of a few who never intended to be in school more than a year. So we shall see. But if a lockout comes and guys subsequently decide it's to their benefit to just remain in college, wow, we could be in for a great 2011-12 season of college hoops.

Imagine Kentucky adding Mike Gilchrist, Anthony Jones and Marquise Teague to Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb. Or Duke operating with Kyrie Irving, Quinn Cook and Austin Rivers. Or Baylor putting Quincy Miller beside Perry Jones. Or Texas with Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Myck Kabongo? Or Memphis returning every relevant player from a team currently ranked 14th, and then tossing Adonis Thomas into the mix.

Again, I'm not sure a lockout will create all or even any of this because returning to school wouldn't be the lone option for the current crop of freshmen, especially the ones who spend March turning into household names. But are the possibilities fun to consider? Yes, absolutely."

The union naturally isn't concerned with players who aren't in the league, beyond some preliminary talks about eliminating the age restriction. They've got bigger concerns for established veterans and trying to fend off the losses in revenue share being discussed. (Read more about how the union is softening on that stance in Ken Berger's column here.) But this situation goes to show how massive this lockout situation is. It will hold an impact on the NBA which is enjoyed success it hasn't seen since Jordan retired (the second time), players, owners, agents, and even those youngsters making a name for themselves in front of the student bodies.

It's just another example of a world that could be dramatically altered not by play on the hardwood, but by talks held in boardrooms over the next ten months.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com