Just because there's a lockout in place doesn't mean there's no basketball being played. There's European tournaments, summer leagues on both coasts, and the occasional charity game that attracts a few B/C-level stars. Brandon Jennings, who apparently remained in Milwaukee this summer to concentrate on improving his game with the coaching staff (until the Lockout Monster ruined everything), has tried his hand at the latter two, and he's been leaving his mark.
Jennings has been playing, at least intermittently, in the Goodman League, a Washington D.C. area tournament featuring an assortment of high school, college, and professional players. It's one of the best opportunities NBA players have this summer of testing their skills against "top competition." Jennings has also made past appearances in the Drew League, the west-coast counterpart of Goodman that takes place in Los Angeles, only 5 miles from his hometown of Compton.
So what happens when you put a streak-shooting, flashy young point guard in a streetball-styled tournament against non-professional competition?
And that's just the highlight-reel performance. It's tough to find stats from Goodman League games, but according to the league website, Jennings also scored 36 in a game between Da Squad and HOBO. I'd be willing to bet that was about the norm for the games he appeared in.
Of course, those numbers come with plenty of caveats. I doubt very much that these leagues use the NBA 3-point line. "No defense" complaints are overblown almost everywhere other than All-Star games and Slamball competitions, but I'm sure it's hardly a priority in these leagues. And obviously the NBA stars who step on the court are going to be featured whenever possible. Still, 51 points is 51 points, and that slam at the 0:12 mark in the video is pretty awesome.
Naturally, most of the NBA players taking part in these leagues are young players whose skills have yet to fully develop, or older veterans who probably just have nothing better to do. If Jennings' performances this summer tell us anything, it's that he has likely turned the corner in his basketball career; his skills far outmatch the typical summer league participant.
As it turns out, they also vastly outmatch the typical charity game participant. According to Hoopsworld reported Alex Kennedy, Jennings also scored 81 points at a charity game in Long Beach. In this case, "charity game" is probably equatable to "glorified layup-line/shootaround," but still, 81!
With any luck, these exciting totals are a sign of things to come, and Jennings' third season in the NBA will be his true breakout. The Bucks could definitely use it.