A Brandon by any other name is a rose. Or, at the very least, thorns that haven't pricked us yet.
Good, bad, ugly, or unlucky, Brandon Knight is the new starting point guard for your Milwaukee Bucks. Early fan sentiments have understandably swung the PR machine in Mr. Knight's favor, but how much of that is attributable to Brandon Jennings fatigue?
Rather, here's a more pertinent question: Is Brandon Knight a better short and long-term investment than Brandon Jennings? The answer, at least at this point, is ambiguous.
Knight does not have Jennings' sporadically exciting offensive game, but defense and overall upside are enough to justify choosing the former over the latter.
Last season, according to Synergy Sports, Knight registered fewer points-per-possession than Jennings (.83 PPP vs. .88 PPP), and struggled mightily as a pick and roll ball handler (.69 PPP, 20.6% TO) despite starting most of his possessions in those sets. The rest of his production was mostly relegated to transition opportunities (.94 PPP) and spot-ups (.99 PPP), neither of which can be called consistently reliable.
Career-wise, Knight doesn't stack up to Jennings in the areas of PER, turnover rate, or assist rate, all of which are barometers for measuring a point guard's true impact on the game. Knight's penetration is not much to brag about either, as he shot 51.4% FG at the rim and 31% FG between 5 - 9 feet last season.
The New Brandon does have a slightly higher career True Shooting Percentage (51.1% vs. 49.8%), mostly due to his strongest offensive attribute.
Knight's immediate impact will come as a floor spacer and deep shooter. A career 37.6% bomber from beyond the arc (Jennings' is 35.4%), Knight joins Ersan Ilyasova (44.4% 3FG), OJ Mayo (40.7% 3FG), Carlos Delfino (37.5% 3FG), Gary Neal (35.5% 3FG), and Luke Ridnour (31.1% 3FG) in the Bucks' stable of snipers.
Some of the above weaknesses can be attributed to youth (Read Zach Lowe's breakdown at the bottom of Frank's earlier write up), but it's fair to assume the Detroit Pistons knew what they were giving away on the offensive end of the floor.
Defensively, Knight's size (6'3", 189 lbs) should make you feel confident in his ability to fight through screens and disrupt an offense's rhythm. The Pistons were 7 pts/100 possessions better with him on the court last year, and his current backcourt mates (Sorry, Juice) undoubtedly create added pressure on Knight to stay on guard at all times.
Of course, there are some off-court metrics that add value to this deal for the Bucks. Knight is cheaper, younger (21-year-old), and coming to a team coached by a man that has already sculpted a solid point guard out of oft-unforgiving NBA clay.
Essentially, the Bucks hit a middle-of-the-game reset button at the point guard position. But given everything we've seen and experienced with Brandon Jennings at the helm, it feels like neither side was interested in reconciliation, and a move had to be made sooner or later. Whether it was right or wrong remains to be seen.
Just remember how you're feeling right now if history proves unkind to this trade.