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Brandon Knight has eight seasons of NBA experience, but he’s still looking forward to his G League opportunity. “For me, everything is a blessing,” Knight said to the Miami Herald. “You get a chance to hoop, you get a chance to play, you get a chance to be a part of something that this organization is doing. It was easy for me to make that decision.” Making it even easier is the fact that Knight is representing his hometown Miami Heat in the G League as part of the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

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Knight, whose family is from Miami, attended Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest before eventually playing at the University of Kentucky and then being selected with the No. 8 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. “Me growing up in South Florida, it’s a dream even to play here in Sioux Falls,” said Knight, who was picked by the Heat’s developmental affiliate with the sixth pick in last month’s G League Draft. “I don’t take it for granted. This opportunity means the most to me, just growing up watching Tim Hardaway, [Alonzo Mourning], Dan Majerle, [Jamal] Mashburn. Being from down here and having this opportunity, I’m thankful for all the staff, all the management, the owner to allow me this opportunity to come to Sioux Falls and continue playing. It’s a blessing.” Why is Knight, a 6-2 guard, even in the G League at 29 years old? Lingering effects from a torn ACL that forced him to miss the entire 2017-18 season have derailed his NBA career. Knight has played in just 64 NBA games since returning from the knee injury, with his last appearance coming on March 11, 2020 — the day the 2019-20 season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Skyforce, he wants to prove he’s finally healthy. “When I had my ACL, it wasn’t just the ACL,” Knight explained. “It was the ACL, meniscus, a couple other things, as well. So just some lingering stuff that has happened that’s in the past now. It’s clear now. So just proving that I’m good to go. I wish it was just a clear-cut ACL, but my knee was a little bit different. My healing process was a little bit different, took a little bit longer.” Knight worked out for the Milwaukee Bucks last season and then played in the Las Vegas Summer League for the Brooklyn Nets this year. But a bout with COVID-19 just before the start of summer league slowed him a bit in Las Vegas.

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Through it all, Knight is determined to remain positive. “My main thing is no matter what is to keep growing, keep striking the ground, keep building good days to show that I can go through a season and be healthy and be productive, all those things,” he said. “I’ve played a while in the league, but I’m not despising the small beginnings. These small beginnings, you got to start somewhere. So I enjoy rebuilding, kind of tearing down what I did before and starting fresh. I kind of like that. Black Friday Sale Unlimited digital access – $6 for 6 months CLAIM OFFER “That’s really my main goal and of course to show that my knee can sustain. I know that I can play. I did that at the highest level. But just showing that I can hold up and that my knees and legs are what they are, that they’re strong.” The Skyforce opens its season on Saturday against the Iowa Wolves. In the Skyforce’s exhibition win over the G League Ignite on Sunday, Knight finished with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting, two rebounds and three assists as part of a starting lineup that also included undrafted rookies Marcus Garrett, Javonte Smart, D.J. Stewart and Micah Potter. “My main thing, and this is something that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, is it’s not about me,” Knight said. “My main goal here is to help guys around me get better. I’ve had a chance to play in the league. There are a lot of guys here that haven’t gotten that opportunity. So it’s on me to show them the steps to get there and show them an example of what it is to be there before they’re there. You can’t wait until you’re there to act like an NBA player. You got to do it beforehand. “So my main thing while I’m here is to serve the young guys, to serve the coaching staff, to serve the trainers, to be a light, to be as helpful as I can, and to build them up. Because if I build them up, they’re going to in turn be able to help me.”

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Knight averaged 15.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists during his first six NBA seasons, with the Detroit Pistons, Bucks and Phoenix Suns, before tearing his ACL. Since then, he has been working to find a consistent role in the NBA again. Offseason conversations with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra helped create Knight’s latest opportunity with the Skyforce, and he’s looking to make the most of it. Knight can be signed by any NBA team at any point because the Heat does not hold his NBA rights. “I’m here positioned with a team that I grew up watching my entire life,” said Knight, who lives in Southwest Ranches and was training in South Florida before joining the Skyforce in South Dakota. “So it’s dope. It’s tough to put it into words, man. But it puts a smile on my face and it keep me going. “I’ve never said it a whole lot, but I’ve been a Heat fan my whole life. I still am. I always want the best for the city, for the organization. So you better believe whether I’m in a Skyforce uniform or I’m in a Heat uniform that I’m going to put my best foot froward because Miami basketball is what raised me. I take a lot of pride in it.” ▪ The Heat ruled out Marcus Garrett (G League assignment), KZ Okpala (sprained right ankle), Victor Oladipo (right knee injury recovery) and Max Strus (sprained left knee) for Tuesday’s game against the Mavericks. Bam Adebayo will play in Dallas after missing Saturday’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies because of a left knee bruise. The Mavericks will be without Trey Burke (health and safety protocols), Maxi Kleber (left oblique strain) and Kristaps Porzingis (lower back tightness).

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