Suns’ Brandon Knight accepting of new role

Oct 4, 2016, 5:38 PM | Updated: 8:18 pm
Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight drives on Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) in the third quarter d...

Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight drives on Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) in the third quarter during an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Phoenix. The HEat won 103-95. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight is entering territory he’s never dealt with regularly as an NBA player.

The Suns’ newly-appointed sixth man has started 315 of the 328 games he’s played during his five-year career.

“I mean, we’ll see, I can’t predict the future, I don’t how it will be,” said Knight after Tuesday’s practice at Talking Stick Resort Arena. “Like I said, I’ll do my best to stay warm, figure it out. You have to be professional about it and remain positive.”

Knight got his first taste of coming off the bench in Phoenix’s first preseason game Monday night against the Spurs. He scored eight points on 4-of-7 shooting with two assists, two rebounds and four turnovers in 17 minutes.

“We are going to be ourselves no matter who’s on the court,” explained Knight, whose starting role was given to second-year guard Devin Booker. “You’re not going to not do a certain thing or do something that you wouldn’t do. No matter who you’re on the court, whether starters or non-starters, I think you’re gonna play your game and be yourself.”

While this might not be the path Knight expected his career to take at the age of 24, or his preference, he’s accepting of the role he’s been placed in because of Suns first-year head coach Earl Watson.

“I respect Earl. Earl did an excellent job of letting me know ahead of time,” said Knight. “He’s (a) straightforward, honest guy and I love him for that. That’s the reason I want to play for Earl, ’cause a lot of coaches wouldn’t handle it that way. I appreciate the way Earl handled it and I respect him a lot for that.”

Watson let Knight and the team know of his decision with the starting lineup before the preseason even started.

The reality of the situation is outside of the perception that comes with Knight losing his starting role — not much is changing for Knight.

Watson has made clear he plans on playing two of Knight, Booker and Eric Bledsoe as much as possible.

That adds up to 96 minutes at the point guard and shooting guard spots, which when divided by three comes to 32 minutes per game for three players.

Acknowledging that Booker could also see some time at small forward and it’s clear there are 32 to 35 minutes for Knight to play.

As long as Knight follows through with his words, there’s no reason he can’t thrive this season and, as is Watson’s goal for him, be in the conversation for the Sixth Man of the Year award.

Penguin Air
San Antonio Spurs' Jonathon Simmons (17) drives past Phoenix Suns' Eric Bledsoe, second from left, and Jared Dudley, left, for a shot during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) San Antonio Spurs' David Lee (10) drives past Phoenix Suns' Tyson Chandler (4) and T.J. Warren (12) to score during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns' Jared Dudley (3) and San Antonio Spurs' Davis Bertans (42) battle for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns' Alex Len (21) gets off a shot as San Antonio Spurs' Joel Anthony (30) defends and Spurs' Dejounte Murray, front, looks on during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) San Antonio Spurs' Jonathon Simmons, right, goes up for a shot against Phoenix Suns' Tyson Chandler, left, during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) San Antonio Spurs' David Lee (10) has his shot blocked by Phoenix Suns' Tyson Chandler, right, during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker, left, falls back after being elbowed by San Antonio Spurs' Patricio Garino (29) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns' Tyson Chandler (4) dunks over San Antonio Spurs' Joel Anthony (30) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns' T.J. Warren, left, scores as he gets past San Antonio Spurs' Davis Bertans (42) during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. The Suns won 91-86. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns' Tyson Chandler dunks against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. The Suns won 91-86. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) San Antonio Spurs' Davis Bertans, middle, blocks the shot of Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) as Spurs' Joel Anthony, right, watches during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. The Suns won 91-86. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns' Archie Goodwin (20) goes in for a reverse layup against San Antonio Spurs' Bryn Forbes (11) during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. The Suns won 91-86. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker, left, looks to pass the ball against San Antonio Spurs' Joel Anthony during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. The Suns won 91-86. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns' Eric Bledsoe (2) talks with head coach Earl Watson during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. The Suns won 91-86. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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