Phoenix Suns: Earl Watson is not a good coach for Brandon Knight

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 06: Brandon Knight
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 06: Brandon Knight /

Phoenix Suns fans were more than disappointed that Brandon Knight had a down season, but head coach Earl Watson should be blamed for Knight’s down year.

Before Earl Watson became the head coach of the Phoenix Suns, he was a solid rotation guy during his career in the NBA and Suns player development coach . Watson was hired because his closeness with players and his ability to develop players. To some players he has been great, like Devin Booker who is primed to become an All-Star sooner rather than later. However, Watson has done a terrible job in coaching up combo guard Brandon Knight.

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Knight was brought in from the Milwaukee Bucks to replace the lose of Goran Dragic. Knight played great for former Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek during his first full season as a Sun in the 2015-2016 season. In three out of four months that Knight played for Hornacek, he averaged over 20 points per game, however he was fired as head coach in the beginning of February and the guard did not average over 20 points per game any months after Earl Watson took over.

Some may argue that it was because was adjusting to a new coach and play style. Fair enough, most players do not take middle of the  season coaching changes well. However, a full offseason with Watson did not make things better.

Per Game Table

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Generated 8/9/2017.

Last season, Knight had the worst season of his career. Granted it may have been he played the least amount of minutes per game as well as adjusting to playing off the bench. However, that is not the case if one looks the advanced analytics it can be seen the real reason why Knight struggled.

Shooting Table
% of% of% of% of% of% ofFG%FG%FG%FG%FG%FG%DunkDunkCornCornHeavHeav
SeasonTmGFG%Dist.2P0-33-1010-1616 <33P2P0-33-1010-1616 <33P%Ast’d%FGAMd.%Ast’d%3PA3P%Att.Md.

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/9/2017.

He had to create more shots than normal than his career. The percentage of shots he was assisted on went down drastically this last season. There could be the assumption that Knight could have been more selfish after being regulated to the bench. However, looking at the team stats will reveal a different story. The Phoenix Suns were ranked second to last in the league when it came to the assist category only average 19.6 assist per game as a team.

If the Phoenix Suns are one of the worst teams in assist with two legitimate playmakers in Knight and Eric Bledsoe, it may not be the players faults but rather the Watson’s offensive scheme. Watson’s scheme makes it harder for Knight to be efficient on offense.

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Getting the best out over every player should the focus of every coach and franchise. Earl Watson and the Phoenix Suns must change the offensive if they want the most out of Knight. If Watson does adjust the offensive then he will have one of the best combo guards in the NBA.