2011 NBA Mock Draft: Brandon Knight Will Lead Toronto Raptors Back to Playoffs
The 2011 NBA Draft features many underclassmen who need to polish a few of their skills before they can reach an elite status at the next level. Brandon Knight of Kentucky is one of those types of players, but he is already very close to looking like he could play a key role as a rookie next season.
That is why he would be a great pick for the Toronto Raptors with the No. 4 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. They will need some guards to work around, and as of now, Knight is sort of a combo guard who can play the point or the two spot at different times on the floor.
Knight can be a bit streaky at times. In some game,s he looks great, where as in others he is almost mediocre. He needs to work on the consistency of his shooting in order to develop into an elite guard at the next level. Right now, he is not quite there yet, although that will not prevent many teams from selecting him in the 2011 lottery.
He had some decent options at Kentucky that he made play better. Think bout what he could do for Andrea Bargnani, who is already turning into an excellent NBA player? Knight could also help DeMar DeRozan improve, as he would have someone to facilitate some more shots for him in the open court.
Chad Ford of ESPN said during the opening weekend of the 2011 NCAA Tournament that there have been ups and downs for Knight as a freshman at Kentucky.
"Scouts got down on Knight in a hurry after a so-so performance in the Maui Invitational Tournament in November," said Ford. "While Knight is clearly talented, his struggles running coach John Calipari's dribble-drive offense had scouts questioning what sort of point guard he'd be in the pros."
But as the season - and Knight - progressed, Ford also added what a matter of months can do for a young player.
"But Knight got better -- a lot better -- as the season progressed, much like two other former Calipari guards, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans," said Ford. "Knight is more comfortable running the offense (especially since Calipari has him using more ball screens) and has been Kentucky's steadiest player this season."
Knight shines in some games, like he did against North Carolina in the Elite Eight, but struggles significantly in others, like in the Wildcats' tourney opener against Princeton. As a freshman, he certainly has plenty of room for growth, but he will need to take significant steps forward to make it in the NBA.
But regardless of how he starts in big games, nobody can question his clutch shooting at the end of games. Although it was his only field goal of the game, he sent Princeton packing at the end of the game. He had a much better start against Ohio State and North Carolina, but he did the same thing toward the end of those huge games as well.
Question his consistency all you want - and I do - but the bottom line is that this kid comes up big every time when it matters most.
That would be very big for the Raptors at the next level.
For more on the 2011 NBA Draft, make sure to check out Bleacher Report Correspondent Jason Heim, who takes a look at the 2011 NBA Mock Draft: Which Wildcat Goes First, Brandon Knight or Terrence Jones?
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