No one in the draft scared me more than Brandon Jennings...so naturally he's now a Buck. As one of the highest risk/reward guys in the draft, Jennings was scary to pick and equally scary to pass on. Having played only sporadically for Roma in his year abroad, Jennings has been the draft's biggest mystery man, and only after his performance Monday against Jonny Flynn, Ty Lawson, and Jeff Teague did he seem to become a major part of the Bucks' draft discussion. Here's what we do know:
- Jennings' European stats aren't remotely impressive, but given how many 19 year old Americans have played in Europe, it's tough to tell how damning that really is. Still, John Hollinger's translated numbers are "awful" and Ty's analysis also gave him the thumbs down. Yes, I'm concerned about this.
- Jennings' talents--even if unrefined--are undeniable. Though not big (6'1", 170), he's probably got the best first step in the draft and can jump out of the gym. And yes, he showed he could play in high school, averaging 35.5 ppg and 7.5 apg while garnering Parade Player of the Year honors as a senior at Oak Hill.
- Andy Katz reported the Bucks had Flynn ranked higher on their board, but went with Jennings after Flynn went sixth to Minnesota. Interestingly, Skiles has been mentioned as championing Jennings' cause with the Bucks which is...well, surprising. On some level it's reassuring, because if Skiles likes him then he might not be as risky as we think. Or Skiles might just be a terrible talent evaluator.
- What now with Ramon Sessions? The Bucks are no doubt shopping Luke Ridnour hard right now, and moving him soon would certainly clarify things a bit. Short-term Sessions still seems like the obvious starter if he comes back, as Jennings doesn't seem to have the polish needed to get major minutes for Skiles right now. Long-term is less clear--obviously the Bucks didn't pick Jennings to be a career back-up, and Sessions is still just 23 years old. That could make for some awkwardness down the road, but if Sessions can be had for good value then there's no reason not to bring him back and let the two guys fight it out.
- Even if the Bucks let Charlie Villanueva walk, they won't be lacking in the new media-embracing-athlete department. Jennings kept a very interesting blog while in Rome and tweets prolifically as well. I'm sure that's what won over Scott Skiles.
- In terms of making a splash and generating interest, Jennings fits the bill. Given his brash style on and off the court and unique backstory, Jennings should spark about as much initial interest as anyone picked 10th overall.
- The more I think about the more I appreciate the Bucks' willingness to roll the dice. We always say how the draft is usually the only means of acquiring star players, so there's a lot to be said for going after one of the few guys with superstar potential. Is he Allen Iverson? Is he Tony Parker? Is he Sebastian Telfair? We'll have to wait a while to know for sure.