My buddy and I were talking at $1 beer night in Madison (thank you god for Wisconsin) about Brandon Jennings on Thursday and here is what we came up with.
The worst thing to happen to BJ was his 55 pt game. It gave his game unfounded equity. All of the sudden with virtually no NBA experience Young Buck was the King of Milwaukee. It completely distorted people's perceptions of him. It still does. IMO It distorted his own opinion of himself.
The Theory: Brandon is like a guy in a poker tournament who wins a huge pot early. After knocking out two players on a monster hand he is sitting there with a gigantic stack, most likely 3-4 times everyone else at the table. This stack is not a testament to how good of a poker player he is, but rather the fact that he had ONE great hand However, everyone else watching the tournament believes that he is the best player (fans, media) because he is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else in money.
As his chip stack dwindles and he starts to creep towards the middle of the pack, everyone claims the poker player (BJ) is just in a little slump even though his success vs failures are decidedly heavy on the latter, but perception continues to be that he is great because memory will keep going back to that early pot (55 pt-30pt back-to-back). When he fails to win the tournament (finally erase the memory of the 55+30) he is labeled a huge disappointment despite the fact that expectations shouldn't have been that high to begin with.
So how good is Brandon? It is safe to say he is well shy of the D Rose/CP3/ D-WIll level and probably shy of the Westbrook/Rondo plateau as well. So where does he lie? If you take away that improbably hot start to his career you find out that Brandon really reminds one of Mo Williams. Check out each of their first three seasons with MIL. Brandon is years R-3 and Mo is years 2-4 in their careers.
Mo years 2-4: 30 mpg, %s: 43.5/35/85. 13ppg, 5.5apg/ 3.5rpg
BJ years R-3: 34mpg, %s: 39/34.5/81 16.6ppg, 5.4apg, 3.5rpg
A few notes on those splits:
1. Mo beats Brandon in percentages across the board every year (except BJ rookie 3pt%).
2. Brandon has played over 32.5 mpg every year, Mo played 26, 28, and a ridiculous 36.4 in his 3rd year as a Buck.
3. BJ had a half steal more than Mo in every season and about 83 more total.
4. Somebody find me some advance stats to back me up/ refute me. Without advance stats half of you won't find this comparison validated. And of course I am desperate for acceptance and validation.
Anyways, I like that BJ has been going to the rim more often as of late, and that he has taken a step back (literally) to shoot a few more threes than deep twos, but it would appear he is a slightly above average point guard who shoots a little too much and sets-up a little too infrequently which is pretty much how I would describe good ol' Mo Williams.
Regardless, the rest of this season is going to be fun and all the ups and downs have been worth it purely for the entertainment value. Finishing over .500 this season would be encouraging. Final parallel: Mo left Milwaukee after his fourth year in Brew City and ended up in more "Lebron"er pastures. It fairly easy to see BJ taking his talents elsewhere after next year as well.