One of the wild cards of the top half of the 2011 NBA Draft’s lottery section has to do with the placement of Brandon Knight on team’s draft boards. The talented point guard from Kentucky is still young and obviously coming into his own even after averaging 17.3 points per game last season. It’s clear his stock is high and scouts will love his potential the more they observe, a move that led head coach John Calipari to endorse his jump to the NBA.
One year ago, Scouts, Inc. had Knight as the fourth best player overall (and best overall guard) coming into the college ranks. With a tremendous scoring ability partnered with elite athleticism and quickness, Knight only needed to refine his passing game and rough up some of the younger edges to become a complete player. Those are the kinds of descriptors that will make a team think twice about its draft board.
Mock drafts link Knight to various teams at the top of the draft, from the Utah Jazz at No. 3 overall (where Chad Ford has him going) to the Charlotte Bobcats No. 9 (where Hoopsworld has him). If Knight could possibly slip past the Utah Jazz, why wouldn’t the Cleveland Cavaliers take him at No. 4 and get a dynamic post presence instead with the top overall selection. After all, the guard play from Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions was actually respectable last year for a 19 win team.
Knight’s game is not nearly as refined as Duke’s Kyrie Irving, but point guard isn’t nearly the most pressing issue facing the Cleveland Cavaliers. Instead, a player like Derrick Williams makes sense — someone who can provide an elite scoring presence anywhere down low. The pressure might be on to choose Irving as the best overall player in the draft, but the value doesn’t fit the need. For the Cavs to maximize their two choices, they could take advantage of the back-up Knight gives them at point guard and take Williams instead at the top of the draft.