Brandon Jennings on his role this season:
It ain't like last year. I'm not the go-to guy as I was last year. So I've just got to roll with the punches and when I get the ball, I guess I've got to do something with it. Because I know I probably won't get it back... Just in general, last year, I was more the go-to guy. Things were running kind of through me... So this year I just kind of have to wait. And if it comes back to me it comes back to me. If not, then, hey, it is what it is.
...Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Starting Point Guard!
Hopefully people are upset with Jennings over his most recent comments as well. His failure to accept any responsibility for the performance of the team (and specifically the offense) is as unbelievable as it is disturbing. Jennings has been the centerpiece of this league-worst offense all season long...he is the starter with the highest usage percentage and the lowest shooting percentage across nearly every category and according to any advanced metric among the regular players.
The point to be made about Jennings is this: there can be no debate that with Jennings taking the lead role on offense this season, it has been the least efficient offense in the NBA (I don’t count the Cavs, who have managed to become less efficient while playing a team full of NBA backups over the last few months). Jennings should be professionally embarrassed about his consistently inefficient offensive performance all season long, but he has given no indication that he is ready to accept responsibility. He really doesn't seem to get it. I am officially concerned that he never will get it. There aren’t many stories about players who suddenly transform themselves from terribly inefficient shooters into great shooters in the NBA. I used to tell myself it was all about wild inconsistency brought upon by his youth, but in reality Jennings has been persistently inaccurate for most of his career. For example, did you know that in his 141 career games, Brandon Jennings has only shot over 50% from the field 13 times? Brandon Jennings has had a truly effective shooting night in less than 10% of his NBA games! Sure I could use a more advanced metric like eFG% or TS% that makes adjustments for 3-point shooting, but frankly I am too lazy and I am also sufficiently satisfied that this gets the point across.
The question for all Bucks fans is whether they still think Brandon Jennings is a worthy cornerstone for the future. I am no longer convinced. I cannot survive on the prospect of potential any longer, because I think the projections of his ceiling made last season have become unreachable goals as more evidence on his true skill has become available. One hundred and forty-one games is enough of a sample for me. My best comparison for Jennings at this point is Aaron Brooks: a small streak-shooting, shoot first PG that needs to shoot a very high percentage to make a meaningful impact. [I've posted on JSOnline as Starbury v. Madison, in case this all looks familiar to some readers]. The Rockets decided Brooks wasn’t worthy of being a building block (they didn’t give him the extension he wanted) and shipped him out for spare parts. Brooks’ impending free agency will give more guidance as to what NBA GMs think of a player with skills and stature similar to Jennings...and I don’t think anyone will break the bank to have Brooks around. What makes Brandon Jennings any different (or better) than Aaron Brooks? In my mind, Brooks has been better during his career. As I said before, I can no longer sustain faith in Jennings based on the nebulous prospect of his future potential. Until he actually becomes more effective and efficient, my opinion on him will remain unchanged.
To reiterate: there can be no debate that with Jennings taking the lead role on offense this season, it has been the least efficient offense in the NBA. This is a bad thing. Can excuses be made that he has taken difficult shots out of necessity? Sure. Can excuses be made about his recovery from injury? Sure. But the truth to be reconciled among Bucks fans is that with Jennings as the offensive centerpiece, the Bucks have been the least efficient offense in the NBA. If anyone wants to make assumptions or predictions that the offense would have been just as bad all season with anyone else on the roster taking a lead role, the point is certainly debatable. But that still doesn’t change what actually happened, and I don’t like what actually happened.
What do you guys think? Have I gone too far on Jennings? Am I too down on him? Is the criticism justified? Let me know.