Brandon Jennings, after struggling and then not playing at all in the fourth quarter in the home loss to Chicago tonight:
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.
Since the offense apparently isn't going through him anymore, I asked Jennings who the offense is going through now:
Obviously it's not me, so I don't know. So I just wait for it. And see what happens.
The frustration is understandable. A starting point guard gig in the NBA at 21 years old is pretty ideal on the surface.
But when your top teammates are Corey Maggette, an oft-injured center who makes less than half of his field goals and can neither get to the line nor make shots from the line, a shooting guard who shoots under 40.0 % from the field, a rotating cast of power forwards who are inclined to shoot jumpers, a defensive specialist, and a three-point specialist who takes more threes than anyone in the NBA but ties for 108th in accuracy, it's like giving a kid the keys to a new Porsche 918, hitching a wagon carrying three new couches to the back, and then telling him that you have signed him up to race on Monster Truck tracks, against Monster Trucks, every few days, for six months. And that the couches must be returned clean as new.
Then again, these words came from someone who is still just a kid (21 years old) and one who only minutes before had just lost another race. On his home track. While his home crowd chanted ultimate praises for his direct opponent.
But is Jennings really not getting the ball anymore? Not according to his 24.9 usage rating, which is a close second to Corey Maggette on the team and almost identical to his 25.6 usage rating from last season. His 14.6 field goal attempts per game also lead the team, and that comes after averaging 14.8 attempts last season while playing just one more minute per game in a slower offense. As currently structured, Jennings needs to feature more prominently in the offense. But he is the point guard, he gets the ball plenty, and so it is up to him to make others around him better (his teammates are having some of the worst years of their respective careers) and do more when given the chance to shoot himself (37.6 FG% this season).
Jennings is actually not suited to be the go-to player on a "team." He would surely fare better as a second or third or fourth scorer. But he is not just on a "team." He is on the Bucks. And nothing could be more clear than this: They just do not have a go-to guy at all.