Brandon Jennings’ first season in Detroit can be summed up in one word; disappointing. When the Pistons gave up Brandon
Knight among others to acquire Jennings they appeared to be in win-now mode, but the Pistons certainly didn’t do much
winning with Jennings this past season.
Jennings was a constant as he started 79 of 82 games this season, but so were his dismal shooting numbers. Jennings had his worst shooting season since his rookie year back in 2009. His 37% shooting overall and 33% shooting from the 3-point line are sorry numbers that must be improved. Jennings has never been a spectacular shooter, and that is alright. Some guys just aren’t born with it, but then why does he attempt so many outside shots? Jennings attempted just under 6 threes per night while making just under 2. Those are wasted shots each night that lead to transition buckets going the other way.
Jennings needs to start using his electric first step to get to the free throw line more often. Last season Jennings attempted four free throws per game, a career high, but that number is still too low. Jennings is a great free throw shooter, so why not focus on getting to the line more often? In today’s NBA fouls are called for basically any contact in the lane, and Jennings needs to be creating this contact. Other top point guards get in the lane and get to the line or create for teammates. That is the next step for Brandon Jennings offensively. Stop settling, and attack the rim.
Jennings also needs help defensively, as most of the Pistons do. He has the length and quickness to be a solid NBA defender, he just has to want it. Defense isn’t flashy, Jennings is flashy, that is where the two clash. Although, if Jennings truly wants to win he will need to buckle down and defend. He doesn’t need to be the next Bruce Bowen, he just needs to be a part of a solid team defense that rotates, and helps one another.
So what did Jennings do great this season? Assist. He had a career year dishing out 7.6 dimes a night. Up from his previous high of 6.5 in Milwaukee. Jennings is clearly a willing passer, and benefitted from a better surrounding cast (throwing alley-oops to Andre Drummond doesn’t hurt the stat sheet.) He has shown a knack for passing all the way back to his time at the McDonald’s High School All-American Game when he was dishing out assists all over the court while trying to break the game’s record of 13 (He finished with 9.) Stan Van Gundy will only help Jennings to make even better decisions in the new offense.
While this past season was a down one for Brandon Jennings, the talented 24 year-old has shown he has what it takes to play the point in the pros. If he takes the off-season seriously, and works on his game there is no reason to think he won’t have a bounce back year.
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