Detroit Pistons: Who Won the Trade of the Brandons?


Entering the final year of point guard Brandon Jennings’ contract, the Detroit Pistons have had time to step back and determine how the 2013 trade has worked out for them.

Shortly after the free agency period began in the summer of 2013, the Detroit Pistons agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that landed them Jennings on a three-year contract worth $24 million in exchange for point guard Brandon Knight, forward Khris Middleton, and center Viacheslav Kravtsov.

Knight, who was the eighth overall selection by the Pistons in the 2011 NBA Draft, was the team’s starting point guard and one of the most promising young talents on the roster. Although he is most remembered for being on the wrong end of a couple highlight plays, including this dunk by the Clippers’ Deandre Jordan, he was improving on both ends of the court and always showed hustle and heart.

Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

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Knight flourished in Milwaukee, averaging over 17 points and 5 assists per game in two plus seasons with the Bucks before being traded to Phoenix at the deadline last season. Knight was flipped to the Suns in a three-way deal that netted them Michael Carter-Williams from Philadelphia and Miles Plumlee from Phoenix. While Knight’s time in Milwaukee was short lived, he was successful and a borderline all-star during his tenure. The Bucks were also able to acquire their current starting point guard and an athletic young center to strengthen their roster.

Middleton has also flourished and earned a starting role for the Bucks, contributing in multiple categories for the team. The Bucks are one of the most promising teams in the league with a young roster loaded with talent coached by Jason Kidd. Last season, they were able to make the playoffs as a six seed and went six games with the Chicago Bulls before losing the series.

As for the Pistons, the trade has not netted the results they were hoping for. Since the trade, the team has yet to make the playoffs or make any kind of noise in the weak Eastern Conference. Although Jennings has had stretches where he’s played very well, including last season’s magical win streak, he has not led the team to any kind of sustained success. An Achilles injury and inconsistencies had held Jennings back from being the impact player the Pistons were hoping for when they acquired him from Milwaukee.

Another telling sign of the trade was the acquisition of point guard Reggie Jackson from the Oklahoma City Thunder last season the be the team’s new leader. Jennings’ future is up in the air, as both share the same position, need the ball to be most effective, and neither are known for their shooting prowess. Jennings could be a trade target, assuming he plays well coming off such a serious injury when he returns sometime around December.

Thus far, the Bucks have been the clear winner of the trade of the Brandon’s. Jennings is a young, talented player entering the prime of his career in a contract-season, he just needs to stay healthy and play within himself. Stan Van Gundy has re-tooled this roster into a playoff hopeful in the lowly Eastern Conference, and the Pistons will need every bit of help they can get from the young guard.

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