Bill Simmons on Brandon Jennings

From his most recent mailbag

I have caught chunks of five Jennings games so far, including a decent piece of his 55-point game, but haven’t seen him in person yet. First time I watched him on TV? Blown away. Sometimes you can just tell with these things. I thought Chris Paul played well beyond his years as a rookie; Jennings is a lefty Chris Paul, only if Paul could shoot 20-footers and 3s with a hand in his face. More importantly, his teammates love him. And he has a wonderful sense of The Moment already. I can’t say enough about him. He’s a superstar in training. He’s the first Buck in 25 years who could actually sell tickets and jerseys there. Amazing. He will save basketball in Milwaukee, as long as this early start doesn’t go to his head. And it might.

Regardless, he’s the least likely franchise rookie I can remember. I always make fun of bumbling GMs in this space, so let’s pay tribute for once to someone who absolutely crushed a decision: Bucks GM John Hammond. It’s one of the best draft picks ever. A franchise-alterer. I don’t get floored by much with sports anymore, but this Brandon Jennings thing floored me. Never saw it coming. It more than made up for Rubio fleeing back to Spain for three more years.

While I agree that Hammond crushed this decision (and that Jennings could save basketball in Milwaukee), I don’t think that he’s a lefty Chris Paul. Paul averaged 7.8 assists and 12.1 shots in his rookie season while Jennings is averaging 5.7 assists and 18.7 shots per game. Jennings is more of a lefty Iverson (7.5 assists and 19.8 shots per game). He’s a shoot-first point guard who has the ability to set up others if he wants. Iverson didn’t have much to work with in Philly, and the Bucks’ roster is pretty sparse outside of Andrew Bogut (a good center with a few star qualities), Ersan Ilyasova (a good sixth man with upside), Charlie Bell, Luke Ridnour and Luc Mbah a Moute (rotation players). So it’s no surprise that Jennings is going to shoot a lot. He has to.

After a blistering hot start, he has come down to earth in the last few games. He is 25 of 84 (30%) in his last five games, and the Bucks went 1-4 over that span. The good news is that he is 10 of 19 (53%) from 3PT over that same span. Teams are going to game plan for him now and it’s his job to adjust.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts