“BOOOO!” and surely a slew of other unnamed expletives rained onto the court this past Wednesday night every single time Brandon Jennings touched the ball on his former home court in Milwaukee.
The boo birds might have had a slight effect early as Jennings struggled to find his touch from the field and he pressed the issue a bit offensively, but once he calmed down he finished the night with 17 points and 11 assists and helped guide the Detroit Pistons to a 105-98 win on the road.
Jennings’ poor reception in Milwaukee was much expected. A promising start to his career in Milwaukee turned sour by the end of his deal and many teams shied away from his services.
Well, one team’s trash turned into another team’s treasure this offseason.
The Detroit Pistons really rolled the dice with the acquisition of Jennings and sent away three young and somewhat promising players in exchange for the enigmatic point guard. It’s still way too early to cast any judgement on this deal, but so far the Pistons are making out like banshees and the Bucks are probably already printing up Jabari Parker/Andrew Wiggins/Julius Randle jerseys, oh and trying to save their franchise?
Brandon Jennings is fifth in the NBA in assists averaging a career-high 8.4 per game. Jennings has even gone as far as saying that he is now “a pass-first point guard.” This is a far cry from his gun-slinging days in Milwaukee and a major sign of maturity from the 24-year-old. Although it can’t be hard becoming a pass-first point guard when you are surrounded by front court talent as prominent as the Pistons’ is, it’s still a promising sign from a player who has yet to scratch the surface of his potential.
Now that Jennings is proving his ability as a true floor leader and facilitator, he has taken his game to whole another level because he also carries the ability to score in bunches and do so creatively. Jennings will never abandon his ability as a scorer and so far he is averaging 15.9 points per game, second on the Pistons after Rodney Stuckey. Having a point guard capable of heating up is definitely a necessity, but Jennings must find a way to shoot the rock more efficiently.
When Jennings has a balance between distributing and finding his own shot, the Pistons have shown glimpses of being a special squad.
The most noticeable facet of Jennings’ game that has correlated to the Pistons is his ability in the open floor in the fastbreak. The Pistons now average 17.1 fast break points per game and that’s tied for fourth in the league (averaged only 13.9 last season). When you match up the unique and freaky athletic abilities of Andre Drummond and Josh Smith with the wizardry of Jennings you get Hollywood-level entertainment.
And that is the key word: entertainment.
The Detroit Pistons are fun to watch again and Jennings is at the forefront. Anyone can shrug off this 9-10 Pistons team and label them a glorified League Pass team with a roster filled with players incapable of working together. That is the easy thing to do, but so far this team with Jennings leading the charge is showing flashes of improvement.
Selfish, careless, and immature. These three adjectives were thrown around in abundance to describe Jennings while in Milwaukee.
Many fans in Milwaukee will still sing that tune and are waiting for Jennings to implode in Detroit, and that’s their own respective opinion and ommission.
But, many Pistons fans would agree that these two adjectives and noun sufficiently describe Brandon Jennings…
Entertaining, promising, future.