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The Revenge of Brandon Knight Will Not Be Televised

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The Revenge of Brandon Knight Will Not Be Televised
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

When Brian Scalabrine stepped away from the NBA after an 11-year career, the league faced an uncertain future without its resident punchline.

Somehow the Detroit Pistons' rising point guard Brandon Knight has slipped into that role as of late. (Bad news for all of you who, like me, went with the favorite Matt Bonner in the office pool.)

But unlike Scalabrine (or, to a lesser degree, Bonner), Knight hasn't been ridiculed for a goofy appearance or for spending a career scrounging for playing time.

In fact, it's been quite the opposite. Knight has built on his impressive rookie season with a slew of notable numbers: 13.8 PPG, 4.1 APG, 3.4 RPG, 31.1 MPG.

Rather, Knight has stumbled into becoming the butt of all jokes through his impeccably poor timing.

Take All-Star weekend for instance. The Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Friday, to be more precise.

Knight had turned his steady sophomore performance into his second consecutive appearance in the event. His night got off to a promising start as his team (a heavy underdog heading into the exhibition) raced to a 24-point lead in their incredible 90-point first half.

Led by an MVP effort from Kenneth Faried (40 points), Team Chuck soared to a 163-135 win.

 

Late in the second half, though, Knight found himself in one of the most unenviable positions in today's NBA—on the wrong end of a back-and-forth exchange with the game's reigning MVP, Kyrie Irving.

To his credit, Knight held up to a certain degree in what even his family members would have called a one-sided matchup.

But something (or somethings rather) had to give. And those somethings were unfortunately Knight's ankles.

When Irving punctuated a dizzying series of crossovers and between-the-legs dribbles with a step-back jumper, Knight was sent sprawling to the unforgiving hardwood of Houston's Toyota Center.

 

Fast forward to March 10. Knight's Pistons traveled to the Staples Center for a matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers.

If a cross-country voyage for a meeting with the team known as "Lob City" wasn't daunting enough, Detroit's 0-10 road record against Western Conference foes heading into the game left little doubt about where the night was headed.

By the time the final buzzer mercifully sounded, the Clippers' 129-97 rout barely registered a blip on the NBA radar.

The basketball world was buzzing over an otherwise insignificant DeAndre Jordan dunk in the closing minutes of the second quarter that pushed the Clippers' lead over 20 points.

Sadly, Knight was once again in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The 6'3" Knight made the right play, bringing help defense as the other four Pistons defenders occupied the other side of the floor. But Knight's presence did nothing to deter the 6'11" Jordan from racing down the lane and thundering home a lob from Chris Paul in what many are now calling the dunk of the year.

 

While Knight is no doubt seething while plotting his revenge on a basketball world offering nothing more than a finger pointed his direction shaking behind uncontrollable laughter, he's got nothing but time to plan for that moment.

For starters, he's now sidelined indefinitely after spraining his ankle during Detroit's game against the Utah Jazz on March 11 (via Vince Ellis of USA Today).

Whenever he's ready to return to action, he'll still have trouble garnering anything close to the level of attention he's received in the past month. Along with third-year forward Greg Monroe and rookie center Andre Drummond, Knight has helped the Pistons build a bright future.

But with so many key rotation players under the age of 26, that bright future is still a few years away from being realized.

There's no data available to suggest that Knight won't continue to improve on the floor, no matter if his future lies in a lead guard role or as a supportive scorer.

Until the Pistons can start making the kind of playoff noise to match the decibel levels of Irving's crossover or Jordan's monster slam, Knight's not likely to make too many appearances on the national stage.

Well, unlikely to make the kind of appearances he's been hoping for at least.

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