With all the changes the Milwaukee Bucks have gone through this offseason, both on and off the court, there have been very few things that fans thought was a certainty. It turned out they couldn’t even count on getting the first pick in the draft despite having the worst record in the NBA, with the Cleveland Cavaliers swooping in and robbing them of that honor with a bounce of the ping pong balls.
But one thing most thought was a sure thing was that third-year player Brandon Knight had earned the right to be the Bucks’ starting point guard. After coming to the team via the Brandon Jennings trade with the Detroit Pistons, Knight impressed just about everyone with his skill and ability to run the floor.He had a breakout season in 2013-14, averaging 17.9 points, 4.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds last year playing in 72 games.
Knight was so good that according to RaccineSportsZone.com’s Gery Woelfel, new owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens gave the OK to see if the team could trade Knight before draft night, thinking they could get another first-round pick for the 22-year-old.
Quite the compliment in a weird sort of way.
As a result many fans and analysts thought it was a lock that Knight would be the Bucks starting point guard for the upcoming season. It seemed to everyone he had not only earned the right but with the organizations’ move toward youth with the drafting of Jabari Parker, Knight seemed to be a perfect fit for what the Bucks’ are building.
And with the addition of head coach Jason Kidd, Knight would be learning from one of the best point guards ever to ever play the game.
Then the Bucks claimed Kendall Marshall off waivers from the Los Angeles Lakers.
In Marshall, the Bucks get yet another young, dynamic point guard who has yet to meet his potential. Last year with the Lakers Marshall averaged 8 points, 8.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 54 games with the Lakers after joining the team in December.
He is known as a passing machine, as his 8.8 assists per game will attest.
While Knight is solid scoring threat whenever he is on the court, Marshall’s strength is in distribution, something that any lover of basketball will tell you is and essential skill for a point guard in the NBA. And like Knight, with Marshall being able to work with Kidd on a daily basis, it will do nothing but improve his game.
So who do the Bucks start at the 1 when the season begins?
A case can be made for either Knight or Marshall. They both bring a different dynamic to the position and can run the offense without issue.
But at the end of the day, it has to come down to who the Bucks see playing for the team in the long run. Who will benefit most from being the starter and running the court with Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo?
Who is their point guard of the future?
When put that way, I would say you have to give Knight a shot first. He played with the team last season and played very well, despite the way the year went and the constant losing.
And there is the fact that while Parker and Antetokounmpo would have more opportunities to score with Marshall on the floor, having a scoring triple-threat that included Knight would make the Bucks a very formidable team on offense.
But even if it wasn’t to work out with Knight, this is the season to experiment and try multiple options. Knight could start the first part of the season and Marshall could get a chance to show what he can do later in the year.
Or Knight could move to the shooting guard spot and Kidd could see both on the floor at the same time.
It’s one of the benefits of rebuilding and being a team no one has any expectations of. You can try new ideas and combinations and know a trip to the playoffs isn’t riding on the outcome.
But one thing is certain: by the end of this season, the Bucks will have an undisputed starting point guard that will lead this team into the future. Let the audition begin.