What Brandon Knightâ€™s Breakout Season Means for His Future
Although he started 135 games for the Pistons in his first two years, Knight was mostly widely known for getting crossed-up by Kyrie Irving in the Rookie-Sophomore game and getting posterized by DeAndre Jordan on an alley-oop.
Now, in his fourth season, Knight has shown many improvements to his game and is having his best season as a pro. Through 44 games this year, some of his per-36 numbers are career highs: 20.0 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.7 rebounds. Knight is also shooting very efficiently: 44.1% from the field, 40.4% from three, and 88.7% from the free-throw line, all of which are career highs.
In regard to more advanced statistics, Knightâ€™s Player Efficiency Rating of 18.4, true shooting percentage of .560, assist percentage of 27.3%, and win shares per 48 of .125 are all career-highs. Also, his offensive rating of 105 and defensive rating of 103 are both the best heâ€™s posted.
As for our own metrics, Knight is posting his highest nERD to date at 2.3. This means Knight would add 2.3 wins to a team full of league-average players over the course of a season if Knight started for them.
2.3 games might sound like a small number, but when compared to his previous nERD scores of -8.4, -8.1, and -5.3, respectively since his rookie season, it becomes obvious that this is his most efficient season from an overall perspective. Also, our nF Efficiency metric, which measures point differential with a player as a starter is also Knightâ€™s career high: 0.8. It was below zero in his first three years: -2.5, -2.7, and -1.7.
Knightâ€™s performance is just in time for his free agency this summer. And according to our metrics, similar players to Knight this year include 2014 John Wall (93.16% match), 2013 Jeff Teague (91.84%), and 2013 Jrue Holiday (91.75%).
Wall signed a five-year max contract this past summer, while Holiday and Teague both signed four-year deals worth $41 million and $32 million, respectively. With the salary cap expected to rise to somewhere near $80 million, Knight will be getting paid quite handsomely this summer as a result of his breakout season.
Brandon Knight is the best player on the Milwaukee Bucks, who are clearly benefiting from his improved play; after winning just 15 games last year, they currently hold the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference at 22-22.