Brandon Knight has said he is ready to "take care of business" when his Milwaukee Bucks face the New York Knicks at The O2 Arena in London next Thursday.
The two teams meet for a regular season game, the latest of the NBA Global Games series.
Knight, 23, is enjoying the best season of his young career, for a new-look Milwaukee team that are much improved under NBA legend Jason Kidd. Kidd, who visited London last year with the Brooklyn Nets, took the reins at Milwaukee in the summer and has already exceeded last season's win total (15) to win 19 of his first 37 this season.
The Bucks had the worst record in the NBA last season, but are now sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference and have a real chance of reaching the play-offs.
Speaking in a Q&A session with the Evening Standard, Knight said he was ready to beat the struggling Knicks when they visit the capital.
You’re putting up career-best numbers this season, shooting at the most efficient rate of your career... what’s enabled you to do that?
Brandon Knight: Just sticking with it, trying to shoot good shots, team-mates getting me better shots and trying to really buy into the system.
Your coach, Jason Kidd, is probably one of the greatest point guards to play the game. What advice on how to lead the team has he given you?
BK: He puts little tablets of wisdom in my ear all the time; not just me but all of us. He’s a great coach; a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge of the game. A lot of things that you wouldn’t think about he does. He does a great job instilling that in all of us.
When the top point guards are talked about, your name doesn’t get mentioned, does that upset you?
BK: A lot of people don’t notice but I’ve got to keep on doing what I’m doing and I know eventually it will come to pass. I can’t control that. All I can do is go out and play each and every night and do my best.
Do you feel like you’re an All Star this year?
BK:That’s for coaches and the fans to decide. My job is just to come out and win games and help my team. However I can do that, that’s my job. Allstar, if that happens, that’s icing on the cake.
Out of the core guys — you, Giannis Antetokounmpo — you’re the one with the longest tenure at the club. Do they look at you for help?
BK: Definitely. I’m a guy that they look at as having a little more experience, not a whole lot, and I just try to do what I do and be a rock for our team and use what Jason is teaching us to the best of my ability. You get through the season with a young team by doing it together. We’ve still got some veterans and they have to get the young guys through when they are struggling.
How far do you think the team have come this season?
BK: Very far, based on where we were last year [the Bucks have won 18 games, three more than the whole of last season when they lost 67 of 82 regular season games] but for us it’s just about not being satisfied and continuing to get better.
What were the expectations at the beginning of the season?
BK: To be a play-off team. It’s not quite halfway through the season but I feel like we’re heading in the right direction.
You’ve beaten the Knicks twice this season [Sunday’s victory at Madison Square Garden left the New York team with a record of five wins and 31 defeats]. That must give you great confidence coming into London?
BK: Definitely. We know they are going to be up and ready to play, though. We’re going to treat it like another game, come out and stick to our principles. Whether it be in London, Milwaukee or New York, we play the same way.
With the Knicks having gone 14 games without a win, is it a foregone conclusion that you will win at the O2?
BK: You never know. The Knicks have a very big fan base there but we just want to take care of business.
Are you looking forward to coming to London?
BK: It will be my second time there. I came with Detroit a couple of years ago and I’m definitely looking forward to it.
The Milwaukee Bucks take on the New York Knicks at NBA Global Games London 2015 at The O2 on Thursday. The game is live on BT Sport and on NBA LEAGUE PASS.
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