Sunday, June 8, 2014

2014 Season Review: Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings was the less heralded and questioned of Joe Dumars' two major signings last offseason, but his play inspired plenty of discussion of its own in 2013-14.  Acquired in a sign-and-trade for Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton and given a 3-year, $24M deal, Jennings shined at times, but ultimately struggled to find the consistency necessary to help the Pistons win games.  Jennings' main area of disappointment was on the defensive end of the floor, as he looked helpless to guard even the league's average starting PGs.  On offense, Jennings displayed quarters of brilliance here and there, but it always seemed like the best moments were followed by his worst.  No better example stands out than when Jennings produced 16 first-half assists on January 11th against Phoenix, then managed to finish the game with 18 total as Detroit nearly squandered a 13-point halftime lead.  Assuming he's back for the second year of his contract, Jennings will need to be more productive at both ends of the floor.

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15.6 15.5 48.6% 44.1% 33.7% .403 34.4% 14.4%
From a scoring efficiency standpoint Brandon Jennings had the worst season since his rookie season.  Jennings' PER, TS% and eFG% all declined from his last three seasons in Milwaukee, likely due to Jennings doing more of something he simply isn't good at: three point shooting.  Jennings posted the highest three-point attempt rate of his career despite failing to shoot over 34% from deep.  Even casual observers could tell you that Jennings' biggest problem on offense is a lack of self-control.  Fixing that weakness could do wonders for him and the Pistons.  On the bright side, Jennings posted the highest Assist Rate of his career and the 10th best in the whole league, and only saw a slight increase in his turnovers.  
I don't know man, I don't know.  Brandon Jennings was 6 for 38 on from a zone within ten feet of the basket.  He was 6 for 23 from the right corner and 8 for 28 from just inside the top of the arc.  This is the shot chart of somebody who shouldn't shoot unless wide open.  Alas, he attempted the second-most FGs on the team.  This is how you go 29-53.


Jennings was absolutely electric in this game, leading the Pistons back from an early, large deficit.  28 points, 14 assists and he still failed to shoot over 50%!


2014-15 Status: Under contract for $8,000,000 (via

While Jennings' status with the Pistons is much safer than, say, Josh Smith's, there's certainly no guarantee that SVG won't shop him this offseason.  Van Gundy's offense tends to not ask much of the PG from a dynamic standpoint.  Jameer Nelson carved out a successful role in Orlando just moving the ball within the system and shooting when open.  Nelson never had a Usage Rate above 23.2% in his time under Van Gundy, save for his sophomore season.  While Nelson had his troubles with turnovers, he was a very reliable three point shooter; something that Jennings is certainly not.  Will this cause SVG to look elsewhere to find his PG, or can he squeeze the efficiency out of Brandon Jennings?  At first glance it doesn't seem that Jennings is a great fit in the new regime.  On the other hand, he only has two years left on his contract, and is moderately affordable and tolerable if not asked to make decisions on the regular.  I believe that Brandon Jennings can be a piece on a winning team, it will just take his best effort to take smart shots.  At only 24 years old, there's still time for him to figure that out.


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