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Brandon Jennings 2012 Mid-Season Report Card


Brandon Jennings. I've probably said enough already. Yet the fate of the Milwaukee Bucks is largely tied to the third-year point guard's development, so here we are back at the drawing board. I created a series of statistical benchmarks using NBA point guard averages from the last five seasons before the start of the 2011-12 campaign, and the mid-point of the season is a great time to check in Jennings to see how much progress he has made.

It's entirely possible that too much has been written about Brandon Jennings. From my story on whether the Milwaukee Bucks should make him the core of a rebuilding project, to a further explanation of why I don't think so, to Mitchell's passionate retort, to Mitchell's concern about the big market comments, to my last best hope for turning Jennings into a centerpiece player, there are more than enough words to cover every angle of his role with the team. Even so, let's keep ourselves honest and check in to see how he is doing in 2011-12.

If you've forgotten about the whole project (or are new to it), make sure to check out the introduction and the preview for Jennings. In essence, here is what I did:

Positional averages for shooting efficiency tend to be pretty consistent year-to-year, so I jumped on and looked up the average values at both positions for the last five seasons. I then used the lowest and highest average values to create thresholds for success, tolerable performance, and failure.

For example, with FG% for PGs, I used the lowest overall average (42.9%) and the highest overall average (44.2) to mark the thresholds for success and failure. Simple enough, right? Since we can't know the actual season averages for the upcoming year in advance, this allows us to use the most reasonable values for our benchmarks. The basic idea for Jennings is that below average efficiency should be considered a failure, while anything above positional averages should be considered a success.

Here's why I did it:

Logicians refer to the stated problem as the multiple endpoints phenomenon. The idea is that if you have a specific measure of success or failure, they become more difficult to achieve, but if success or failure remain generalized concepts, they become much easier to achieve because they include wider sets of outcomes. The problem is magnified when a specific criteria is either implied or asserted, but a generalized criteria is actually used. The phrase "Brandon Jennings will have a solid season" leaves a very generalized criteria that could mean many different things to many different people. Without attempting to specify the meaning of all possible outcomes, the test is no longer objective, and we expose ourselves to the risk that the claim will receive support too easily.

Here's how Jennings' first half of the season rates out relative to positional averages in the NBA: