Rejuvenated Knight aiming to be Cavaliers’ hidden gem

Veteran guard Brandon Knight started in 26 of his 27 games with the Cavaliers last season.

For now, veteran guard Brandon Knight is a member of the Cavaliers, a man in the final year of his contract who is looking to make a difference — both for himself and for his team.

And who knows?

Maybe Knight can still do it.

He’s only 27. He is said to have played particularly well during the pre-camp training camp and bonding session orchestrated by power forward Kevin Love.

And Knight understands this may be the last chance to prove he’s the Knight of old, the player he was before tearing up his knee as a member of the Phoenix Suns in 2017.

Knight has been getting the job done early, as the Cavs get set for their exhibition season opener Monday at home against San Lorenzo de Almagro of Argentina.

“I just try to be myself,” Knight said. “I think I stood out just because people haven’t seen me, like the actual me, in over two years. I was really just myself and I shot the ball well. That’s one of my strengths.”

Knight is viewed as sort of the third wheel of importance in the Cavs backcourt, behind second-year man Collin Sexton and rookie Darius Garland. But Knight started 26 of 27 games to close the season after a trade brought him to the Cavs from the Houston Rockets.

Knight is 6-foot-3 and capable of playing either guard position. He plays both better when he has the explosiveness that he showed prior to the knee injury.

According to Knight, his nimbleness has slowly but almost surely returned.

“I’ve been working on my body a lot, on being quick and being explosive,” he said.

It’s hard to know how soon Garland will be ready, considering he spent most of the first few days of camp working by himself, a minor foot issue limiting his time at going full speed.

So Knight should get a real chance to shine for new coach John Beilein, and likely right away.

While no one mentioned it, Knight’s expiring contract also makes him a strong candidate for a trade should things not work out in Cleveland.

But for now he’s a member of the Cavs and trying to control only the things he can.

“I feel like I’m there. Or even a little bit better,” Knight said. “A little bit smarter, my pace is a little bit better. I feel good. It’s still early. I’m just just trying to maintain that throughout the season and trying to stay on top of doing the right things for my body.”