- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2011

AUBURN HILLS, MICH. (AP) - One by one, the top frontcourt prospects were taken.

When it was finally time for the Detroit Pistons to pick, they needed to change plans.

The Pistons chose Kentucky guard Brandon Knight with the eighth pick in the NBA draft Thursday night. Enes Kanter, Tristan Thompson, Jonas Valanciunas and Bismack Biyombo _ considered some of the draft’s top frontcourt players _ were gone by the time Detroit’s turn came around.

“We had targeted big guys initially. We said if those guys were gone, then we’re going to take the guy with the best value,” team president Joe Dumars said. “At the point of the eighth pick, the guy with the best value, the best talent on the board, was Brandon Knight. At that point, it was a talent that we didn’t think we could pass up.”

Knight averaged 17.3 points per game as a freshman last season for the Wildcats, helping them reach the Final Four. He joins a Detroit team trying to rebuild after missing the playoffs two straight seasons. The Pistons went 30-52 in 2010-11, and coach John Kuester was fired. The team hasn’t hired a replacement.

Knight said he wasn’t too upset about falling to the Pistons at No. 8.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Knight said. “I think I’m meant to be in Detroit.”

The Pistons added Duke forward Kyle Singler in the second round, with the 33rd overall pick.

Dumars said before the draft he was hoping to add players who “fit the culture” the team is seeking. Veteran Richard Hamilton fell out of favor and was benched at one point last season, one of a handful of ordeals Kuester and his players went through as they struggled to coexist.

Dumars said Knight fits the bill.

“He has one of these incredible work ethics that you hear about _ hours and hours and hours in the gym, totally dedicated _ and what we feel is probably the most high-character guy in the draft,” Dumars said.

The Pistons picked Knight ahead of fellow backcourt prospect Kemba Walker of Connecticut. At 6-foot-3, Knight is taller than Walker, although it remains to be seen how he might fit into Detroit’s plans. Rodney Stuckey, the team’s leading scorer, also plays point guard, and Hamilton and Ben Gordon are also still on the roster.

The roster also includes perimeter-oriented forwards Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva.

Knight says he sees himself as a point guard but is willing to be flexible.

“I’m just going to do whatever the team asks me to do,” he said. “If that’s play off the ball, then I’ll do that. If that’s play on the ball, then I’ll do that.”

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