Brandon Knight, the Beginner Buck

Today’s Milwaukee Bucks are fierce, currently tied 2-2 with the Toronto Raptors following Game 4. However, it hasn’t always been this way. One particular Milwaukee player initiated a wave that is the new era, and his name is Brandon Knight.

Originally received in a trade from the Detroit Pistons back in 2013, Brandon Knight had the best seasons of his career with Milwaukee. In his first year with the team, the Bucks went only 15-37, an abysmal record by all means. Milwaukee was set up for a top-lottery pick in the following years draft. That pick would be, number two overall, with which they selected Jabari Parker.

In the 2014-2015 season Knight would go on to average 17.8 points a game, and pave half the road that lead to playoff berth. Before the Bucks could get going, Jabari Parker would go down with an ACL injury through just 25 games. On February 19th of 2015, Milwaukee sent Brandon Knight to the Phoenix Suns in a three-team deal including the Philadelphia 76ers. In return, the Bucks received: G Tyler Ennis, C Miles Plumlee, and G Michael Carter-Williams.

Chicago Bulls v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Three

Following the new additions, the young Bucks went on to reach the playoffs with a 41-41 record. Set to play the Chicago Bulls in the first round, it was a series that would go down in franchise history. After going down 0-3, Milwaukee rallied and took Game’s 4 and 5  by storm. They would go on to be blown out in Game 6, but this was the moment when NBA fans realized the Bucks were on their way.

The 2015-2016 season was one to forget, and the Bucks fell to 12th in the Eastern Conference, out of playoff contention.

Prior to the 2016-2017 season, Milwaukee made some roster adjustments using players acquired in the Knight trade. Tyler Ennis was sent to the Houston Rockets in exchange for mid-range threat Michael Beasley. Point guard Michael Carter-Williams was sent to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Tony Snell, who was expected to add three point depth.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Milwaukee Bucks

Despite losing Jabari Parker again to ACL injury, the Bucks shocked the world and clinched playoff berth for the second time in three seasons. Most of the credit goes to Most Improved Player candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, who lead the Bucks to a 14-4 record in the month of March. Today, the Bucks lost Game 4 but are favored to win the series, reaching their first Conference Semi Finals since 2001 (that roster featured Ray Allen and Michael Redd FYI).

So Bucks fans, next time you’re looking to praise someone for your team’s recent found success, look to Brandon Knight. I present you, the Brandon Knight pyramid:

Brandon Knight
MCW, Miles Plumlee, Tyler Ennis
Tyler Ennis -> Michael Beasley
MCW -> Tony Snell
Miles Plumlee -> Spencer Hawes

There’s no doubting that the 2014-2015 Milwaukee Bucks were the start of something great. Although he was traded mid-season, Knight had lead that team to 30-23, without Jabari Parker and peak Giannis. The first of many Bucks to be sacrificed for the greater good, Brandon Knight set the standard.

In short, Brandon Knight could have never been traded, Kris Middleton would have left in free agency, and the team would be set back for years to follow. Instead, he laid down his career, in hopes of a better Milwaukee. I’m a firm believer that right now, as the Bucks prepare to enter Game 5, somewhere Brandon Knight is whispering “Bucks in 6.” 

All stats and information provided by ESPN, Basketball Reference, and NBA.com. Featured image provided by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

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