All it takes is one.

The league and basketball writing community are handing out their post season awards, with nary a Phoenix Suns player showing up near the top of the final tallies. But Brandon Knight did garner a vote from one well-respected national writer, Sean Deveney of SportingNews, as one of his top three Most Improved Players for the 2014-15.

From 2013-14 to 2014-15, Knight's primary numbers barely budged for the Milwaukee Bucks - roughly 18 points on 42% shooting with 5 assists and 3 rebounds per game - before being traded to the Suns at the trade deadline. But each number did tick up a bit, and he was able to improve as the Bucks transformed from one of the league's worst teams to one of the East's best. Knight was even in the conversation for the East All-Star team.

Suns fans barely got to see Knight play due to ankle issues though, so I asked Sean Deveney to share why he thinks Knight deserved an MIP vote and how he thinks Knight should fit into the Suns future plans.

I've been a fan of Sean's work on SN for many years now, so when I saw his name on the Knight vote I knew it was a legit vote from respected authority.

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Dave King: You gave Brandon Knight a third place MIP vote (behind Hassan Whiteside and Jimmy Butler). What parts of Knight's game improved so much, in your opinion, to outpace the other improved players you didn't name?

Sean Deveney: I gave him a vote because I thought he really raised his overall game. He was much better as a point guard this year than he had been, and better overall --- a better passer and rebounder, a better 3-point shooter, a better leader. He put himself through a pretty strenuous offseason workout, he spent a lot of time working with Jason Kidd, and that paid off for him. You could see how Milwaukee dropped off without him (they lost 15 of 20 games post-trade). The numbers were not huge in terms of the improvement, but he was playing for a joke of a team in 13-14, and he was just at a much higher level this season.

DK: If I had a vote, I would never consider a second-year player such as Rudy Gobert in the MIP voting. My thinking is that second-year players have an unfair advantage of being allowed to showcase the skills they already had after adjusting to the NBA, rather than specifically those they improved since the year before. How do you feel about voting for second-year players in the MIP race?

SD: Never voted for a second-year player in my 15 years voting for these things. I don't really even like voting for third-year guys ... To me, those improvements are improvements of comfort level and playing time, not actually improving your game, making some adjustment or adding a new wrinkle. I've voted LeBron Most Improved before, when he's done specific things to make his game better, like adding the post-up game. Having said all that, I've always felt the award is ill-defined and thus, sorta dumb.

DK: Reading the tea leaves, one could conclude Knight was targeted by the Suns for a long time, dating even to last summer when Bledsoe was holding out and Dragic was coming up on his final year. There was a rumor of a Suns/Bucks trade offer that one or both teams ultimately declined. Did you hear anything in that regard, either then or more recently? Or do you think Knight was a last-second play at the trade deadline this year to salvage something out of an awful situation?

SD: The Bucks did make an extension offer to Knight. It was not a particularly big one, though, so you can debate whether it was serious. My understanding was that the plan was to see how this season played out with him, make him available if there was a deal that could make the Bucks better defensively and decide on whether to give him a contract or go for a sign-and-trade in the summer.

They were only going to deal him if it would help their defense -- the thinking is, long term, Jabari Parker will give them 20/game so they felt they could sacrifice Knight for D. When the deal for Carter-Williams came along, that cinched it. But it was going to take something big like that to make it happen.

DK: With Knight, the Bucks were already the league's #2 defense (points allowed per possession), so I'm not sure how much they could have improved. But I see your point. Kidd (a DPOY candidate for most of his career) wants the Bucks to be defense-oriented and the potential Knight/Parker tandem didn't fit that mold as a pair.

Sean, I tend to think Knight's personality fits the Suns from a leadership and play calling perspective more than Bledsoe, though Bledsoe is the more talented athlete. Do you see Knight as, ultimately, a full time point guard on a deep playoff team? Or is he simply the best of the lot on the Suns at the moment?

SD: Yeah, I think Knight is a playoff point guard, and I think you can pair him with Bledsoe. (Warning: I thought that about Dragic.) I think Knight has done a good job figuring out his role, as you said, he is a leader, he likes taking the big shot and he's a very smart player. I think he would be willing to play off the ball, because he's become a very good shooter.

But guys say all kinds of rosy things about sacrifice and sharing in training camp, and they say nice things when everyone's happy, but when you get a little adversity and the finger-pointing starts ... it comes unglued really fast. I don't need to tell you that, though, you just sat through a year of it.

DK: We are all highly curious how much Knight will accept the combo guard role next to Bledsoe, but I have to assume that he if he signs, he is smart enough to know what he's getting into. Especially after seeing it play out last year.

Next question, Sean. You mentioned in your April column on the Suns that Knight could command that 4 year, $48 million contract he wanted last fall, if not a bit more due to the rising cap. Do you think Knight is worth the money, to pair next to Bledsoe in Phoenix?

SD: I have no idea who is worth what anymore. This TV deal is going to set things sideways in 2016, of course, but it is going to make things weird this summer, too. You're dealing with the cap as we normally know it on one hand, but you are projecting something else altogether just one year ahead. It's like your rich uncle is on life support. Do you go ahead and buy the new house now?

But certainly, relative to a guy like Jrue Holiday (pre-injuries) or Ty Lawson, you have to put Knight into that category, and they're in that 4-year, $44-48 million range. With normal inflation, that'd be 4 years, $50 mil. But we don't know what normal inflation is in the next 2-3 years.

DK: Final question: if the Suns re-sign Knight, do you see a back court pairing of Knight and Bledsoe in a playoff-caliber starting lineup (assuming improved talent on the front line, which is the Suns biggest need)? Or do you think a re-signed Knight portends Bledsoe or he on the trading block within a year?

SD: I don't think they're a playoff team next year, even with Knight and Bledsoe. But that's because you need something in the front court. Knight/Bledsoe would be undersized at the 2-guard, but the 2-guard has changed. It's more of a specialist role now, you just need to shoot 3s. It's not the Jordan-Drexler-Mitch Richmond 1990s. It's JJ Redick-Danny Green-Wes Matthews time! So you don't need a 6-7 shooting guard anymore.

If you're the Suns FO, you have to sign Knight coming out of he mess that was last season. You can't give away that Lakers pick and then let the piece you got in return walk 5 months later. So, you sign him and see how it goes. And if goes poorly, you hopefully handle it much better than you did this year.

DK: Yep, we all agree that the Suns have to re-sign Knight, and that the final number will likely be higher than his current "worth" due to the pending TV deal raising the cap and contract numbers in coming years. Thanks Sean!

At least Brandon doesn't want to drag it out.

"If it can be quick and easy, that's the best thing," Knight said in April. "You don't wanna go through a fight or anything like that. Or you don't want to drag it out as well. Definitely don't want it to be anything that leads up into training camp."

He is already thinking about how badly it went this spring ("Things kind of went how they went, not how we wanted it to", and how a summer with the team will make a big difference.

He wants to be a leader for this team.

"When you start from summer and you move forward, it's definitely easier to be vocal vs. you know, coming in game 60," he said in April. "You start (the season) with the guys, you start in the trenches. It's easier to communicate with ‘em because you've been there from the jump."

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Many thanks to Sean Deveney of SportingNews!

I hope this Q and A gives Suns fans another national perspective on Brandon Knight's worth to a team. He is a very good player who, like the rest of us, is still wondering how all this free agency will shake out.

"I like it here and I like the way I've been treated so far," Knight said in April. "Top-notch, class organization. I'm looking forward to a future with the Suns."

Here are the top five Phoenix Suns stories from the week that was.

1. If Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg makes the leap to the Association, will the Cyclones make a play for ISU alum Jeff Hornacek?

2. Check out these numbers on how your Suns performed after the trade deadline of the 2014-15 campaign.

3. The annual pre-draft combine is upon us. The six day event features player interviews, athletic and medical testing as well as a series of drills, both dribbling and shooting. Suns GM Ryan McDonough aims to "put a premium" on the player interview portion of the combine.

4. Here's everything you need to know about your Suns and the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, May 19th, in New York.

5. Though the Suns are unlikely to play on Christmas Day, the NBA commissioned a jersey designer to prepare a concept design for Phoenix unis, along with every other team in the league.

Here are the top five Phoenix Suns stories from the week that was.

1. If Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg makes the leap to the Association, will the Cyclones make a play for ISU alum Jeff Hornacek?

2. Check out these numbers on how your Suns performed after the trade deadline of the 2014-15 campaign.

3. The annual pre-draft combine is upon us. The six day event features player interviews, athletic and medical testing as well as a series of drills, both dribbling and shooting. Suns GM Ryan McDonough aims to "put a premium" on the player interview portion of the combine.

4. Here's everything you need to know about your Suns and the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, May 19th, in New York.

5. Though the Suns are unlikely to play on Christmas Day, the NBA commissioned a jersey designer to prepare a concept design for Phoenix unis, along with every other team in the league.

The NBA Draft Combine is underway and most of the testing that does not include a basketball is complete. There was some 5-on-5 play on Thursday, but the most important testing of the past two days were the full measurements on Wednesday and the speed and agility tests on Thursday.

On Wednesday I made the case that the end of the first round and the order of the second round could very well be determined by those 5-on-5 games. While that's not the entire consensus, you could sense some relief from some of the best draft follows on twitter with a more comprehensive look with these prospects.

Here are some of the players that stood out in the first two days.

  • The big winner of the first two days has to be Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. If you were looking for something to push you over the edge to buy into RHJ as a prospect, you got it in these two days. Hollis-Jefferson measured at 6'7" with a 7'2" wingspan, barely missing on the best wingspan of the combine for wings. On Thursday he had the second fastest three quarter sprint, the second fastest lane agility time, and the 11th best max vertical leap. Hollis-Jefferson is a terrific defensive player who can now confirm his elite status even further with athletic scores like that. I expect him to move up a couple of spots and maybe even into the lottery. I would not look into him for the Suns though with his offensive woes.
  • A lot of relief for my four-bedroom house on Montrezl Harrell island. Harrell has big questions about his size, but he thankfully measured at 6'7.5" and confirmed his freaky wingspan at 7'4.25". There was some skepticism to whether or not Harrell was even 6'7" and if his wingspan was actually that insane. Thursday was a big win for him in terms of at least retaining his stock.
  • Robert Upshaw is going to make it even harder for teams to pass on him towards the end of the first round after measuring in at 7'0" tall with a ridiculous 7'5.5" wingspan. Upshaw did not participate in the 5-on-5 like we were led to believe on Wednesday and we can now see why. There's a ton of risk to Upshaw with his off the court stuff, but he's pretty much a lock for the first round now if he doesn't tank his interviews.
  • I talked about Jordan Mickey and J.P. Tokoto on Wednesday and both had huge days in their scrimmages yesterday. Mickey had a near triple-double with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 blocks. Tokoto didn't miss a shot and it included a spot-up three, two pull up jumpers, and some great transition plays. He finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. Both are the type of players that should especially stand out in a scrimmage and both did just that on Thursday.
  • Those two were expected to be around the beginning of the second round, but three guys who were monsters in the scrimmages and probably solidified their draft chances were Rakeem Christmas, Vince Hunter, and Andrew Harrison. Christmas impressed with his activity and fluidity offensively, which is something he needs with his age. Hunter was all over the place with nine offensive rebounds, three steals, and six fouls. Guys with that type of energy have places in the NBA. Lastly, Harrison looked like the best player of the day. If you were familiar with no lottery picks being in the scrimmages you would have thought one had snuck in with the way Harrison was navigating with the ball. He simply looked comfortable with any defender on him during the day and understood the slider aspect of using his speed to attack. The thing I wanted to see from him was being a point guard and he had five assists and zero assists on the day. I would not mind the Suns taking a chance on him in the second round (I promise he's the better brother!)
  • I try to avoid negatives when it comes to just testing, but Frank Kaminsky didn't do himself any favors on Thursday. Kaminsky was the tallest player measured at 7'0.75", but his wingspan was actually shorter at 6'11". Part of Kaminsky appeal is his versatility with playing power forward and center, but a wingspan like that does not bode well for a center. Kamsinky's going to be sacrificing a lot athletically and him having to sacrifice his length as well is a problem. For comparison that was the shortest wingspan of all centers by 3 inches.
  • Branden Dawson did not test well yesterday in any of the speed and agility drills and did even worse in the 5-on-5 scrimmage. I highlighted him on Wednesday, but I don't think he has a chance of being drafted after the slowest shuttle run, lane agility test, and a very average 34.5 max vertical.
Check back next week for more draft coverage.
On Tuesday, May 19, 14 representatives from the NBA’s non-playoff teams will meet at the New York Hilton Midtown for the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery. For the uninitiated, this event will determine...

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