Suns’ Brandon Knight accepting of new role
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.