Ex-Cats

Brandon Knight: Not playing ‘difficult,’ but ‘I’m blessed’; plus ex-Cats stats

Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight (11) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Denver. The Nuggets won 127-120.
Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight (11) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Denver. The Nuggets won 127-120. AP

Former University of Kentucky star Tyler Ulis has four or more assists in eight straight games for the Phoenix Suns.

While the rookie point guard’s reent statistics — 10.3 points and 5.7 assists in March — are eye-opening, so is the 10-game stretch of DNPs for another former Wildcat.

Brandon Knight hasn’t played for the Suns since scoring 11 points with four assists in 21 minutes of a 137-101 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 15.

The 25-year-old Knight told the Arizona Republic that it hasn’t been easy not playing, but he’s handling it the best way he knows how.

“Just being myself,” he said in a report on March 11. “Trusting the type of person that I am and knowing that I always try to do things the right way. This season’s been a little different, a little difficult. An adjustment. I’m trying to do things the right way. Whether I’m playing 30 minutes, 35 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes or not playing at all, I’m going to continue to be the hardest worker.”

Watson has been upfront about Knight’s benching, saying after the All-Star break that the Suns need time to evaluate what they have in Ulis, a second-round draft pick.

“We truly have to see if Tyler Ulis can be a dominant ball-handler in the second unit,” Watson told ArizonaSports.com. “To play Brandon Knight with Tyler right now makes no sense because Tyler will sometimes, if not half of the time, will end up being off of the ball. We need to see if Tyler can be that guy.”

Knight told the Arizona Republic that he’ll continue to practice hard and that his confidence remains strong.

“I’ll cheer the guys on and continue to just control what I can control, be positive, be happy,” Knight said. “I’m blessed to be in this situation as it is. A lot of people can’t be here or even fathom to be here, so as long as I just continue to work hard, those things will take care of themselves.”

Skal-WCS combo works for Kings

Former UK stars Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labisierre were in the starting lineup together for the first time Monday night, and the Sacramento Kings defeated the Orlando Magic 120-115.

Cauley-Stein scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 36 minutes while Labissiere had 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots in 20 minutes.

Kings Coach Dave Joerger told The Sacramento Bee that he expects to use the combo of big men more down the stretch.

“We want to see them play together,” he said. “That’s one of the five or six things that I want to see (to evaluate). If we just start with them together, sometimes it’s easier for them to start finding a rhythm together and start working together. … They’re learning. They’re getting better. It’s part of the process of young guys.”

ICYMI

▪  Nerlens Noel’s career path can be traced back to hard-working mom

▪  ‘On another level,’ Suns’ Devin Booker hits another game-winner

▪  Jamal Murray’s big fourth quarter helps Nuggets hold off Kings

▪  A happy birthday, indeed: Anthony Davis scores 46 in overtime win

▪  ‘Sky’s the limit’ for Skal, Murray impresses, plus ex-Cats stats

▪  Guide: Former Kentucky players in the NBA

▪  Davis is highest paid ex-Cat in NBA, but next one on list might surprise you

NBA statistics

Statistics (through March 14) for the 24 former Cats playing in the NBA:

Player

Team

G

Min

Pts

Reb

Ast

Stl

Blk

PER

Eric Bledsoe

Suns

66

33.0

21.1

4.8

6.3

1.4

0.5

20.77

Devin Booker

Suns

66

34.6

21.1

3.1

3.2

0.8

0.3

14.25

Willie Cauley-Stein

Kings

60

16.3

7.1

3.4

0.8

0.6

0.5

15.41

DeMarcus Cousins

Pelicans

64

34.1

26.8

10.8

4.7

1.4

1.3

25.69

Anthony Davis

Pelicans

63

36.1

27.9

11.8

2.2

1.2

2.3

27.48

Andrew Harrison

Grizzlies

60

20.7

6.0

1.8

2.8

0.8

0.3

8.87

Terrence Jones

Bucks

52

24.3

11.2

5.8

1.1

0.8

1.0

16.33

Enes Kanter

Thunder

57

21.6

14.4

6.9

1.1

0.4

0.6

24.11

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Hornets

66

29.5

9.0

7.5

1.4

1.0

1.0

13.90

Brandon Knight

Suns

54

21.1

11.0

2.2

2.4

0.5

0.1

12.61

Skal Labissiere

Kings

18

11.6

5.8

3.8

0.3

0.3

0.4

19.22

DeAndre Liggins

Cavaliers

51

13.5

2.7

1.7

1.0

0.8

0.3

7.73

Trey Lyles

Jazz

62

17.9

6.9

3.6

1.1

0.4

0.3

10.47

Jodie Meeks

Magic

24

21.7

8.9

2.3

1.5

1.2

0.1

13.53

Jamal Murray

Nuggets

67

20.3

9.3

2.5

1.8

0.5

0.3

11.80

Nerlens Noel

Mavericks

35

20.3

9.1

5.6

1.0

1.3

1.0

21.02

Patrick Patterson

Raptors

50

25.8

6.9

5.0

1.2

0.6

0.4

10.45

Julius Randle

Lakers

59

28.7

12.9

8.6

3.7

0.7

0.5

15.87

Rajon Rondo

Bulls

57

26.0

7.1

5.0

6.4

1.4

0.2

12.56

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves

66

36.7

24.5

12.3

2.8

0.7

1.4

25.45

Tyler Ulis

Suns

46

11.5

4.4

0.9

2.2

0.7

0.1

12.84

John Wall

Wizards

64

36.8

23.1

4.4

10.7

2.0

0.6

22.92

Kyle Wiltjer

Rockets

10

3.1

1.1

0.8

0.0

0.0

0.1

2.91

James Young

Celtics

25

8.0

2.6

1.0

0.2

0.3

0.0

10.37

D-League statistics

Statistics (through March 14) for the seven former Cats playing full-time in the NBA D-League:

Player

Team

G

Min

Pts

Reb

Ast

Stl

Blk

Archie Goodwin

Greensboro Swarm

34

32.7

17.0

5.2

2.3

1.2

0.3

Ramon Harris

Grand Rapids Drive

42

21.7

7.0

4.1

1.0

0.7

0.4

Aaron Harrison

Delaware 87ers

32

32.9

18.0

4.6

2.8

1.5

0.3

Dakari Johnson

Oklahoma City Blue

42

29.4

18.3

8.1

2.4

1.0

1.4

Doron Lamb

Westchester Knicks

22

27.4

11.1

3.2

1.5

0.9

0.1

Alex Poythress

Fort Wayne Mad Ants

39

30.5

18.8

7.2

1.5

0.7

1.5

Marquis Teague

Fort Wayne Mad Ants

4

25.3

14.3

2.0

4.5

0.5

0.3

Dennis Varney: 859-231-3514, @ExCats

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