Fanatics Pre-Draft Scouting Report: Brandon Jennings
Euroleague, 7.6ppg, 1.6 apg, 1.2 spg
OMG. WOW. Brandon Jennings has mad, mad skills. Viewing most of the videotapes is an absolute pleasure. Some of the film makes me feel even worse that I am not recommending him for lottery draft position because this is one analysis that could really come back to bite me. Sometimes GMs and Incidental GMs get it wrong. But, I’ve got to go with my gut — what I see, what I know and what I feel. The bottom line is that there is no way (as Knick GM) I could pick Brandon Jennings over Stephen Curry (and others) in the 2009 draft. (If you look closely at the Europe videotapes, most of you will see why.)
The written reviews about this player are off the charts, including the fanfare afforded him by some astute Fanatics. He has the skills and the body frame for a high quality point guard. If Rubio is the new “white chocolate,” Jennings is a “Deep Chocolate Jason Williams Souffle” with a kick. He is flashy and creative and possesses “basic” pure point guard skills. But he does not have the experience. He was just recently playing in Europe after high school because of a combination of financial need and academic deficiencies. The larger problem however, is that HIS SHOOTING IS ATROCIOUS. He has trouble putting the ball in the basket unless he is hopping on top of the cylinder. His shot is scary bad. Again check the most recent tape of him in Europe in the Roma v. Unicaja game. Wonderfully fast and gorgeous moves, but his shooting form is a form of chucking. (It looks even worse when you compare him to Stephen Curry).
Still, he is seen by many scouts as a high reward pick because of his speed and quickness and his ability to pass on the fly.
Since he is so loved and I think it is overblown, I have included all the video I could so that you get a sense of his skills and the type of person he is. By the way, he seems to be a pretty good kid trying to make his dream come true. He is certainly battling through adversity to make it happen. You must love the effort he is putting into being successful at realizing his dream. His persistence (plus showmanship plus upside) will get him an NBA gig.
IMHO, however, the arc of his story suggests that he will be a journeyman free agent for a few years before he becomes a serviceable role player for a veteran squad.
Jennings is getting a lot of praise and style points for making the brave decision to leave his comfort zone and go to Europe where he had a chance to play ball on a professional level. Brandon is thankful for the experience but less enamored by it than his supporters. About the experience during which his playing time consistently diminished, he says. “If I could do it all over again, I probably would have signed with a smaller team, but things haven’t worked out that bad.”
Despite gaining very little experience as a point guard in Europe, he has practiced a lot to refine his game and to correct deficiencies in his shooting technique. A combination of poor technique, new unstable environment and lack of playing time perhaps led to his poor three point shooting (22% or 22 of 99 attempts).
Statesman2 would certainly appreciate this observation from DraftExpress.net which sounds eerily familiar to his own insights:
The best things that Jennings brings to the table, though, definitely can’t be taught. He’s incredibly fast in the open floor, highly fluid getting up and down the floor, and extremely natural changing directions sharply and attacking the rim. In today’s NBA, where speed is absolutely at a premium like at no other point in time, Jennings has game changing potential as a shot-creator. Look no further than the way a relatively unheralded player like Aaron Brooks has been able to put his stamp on this year’s NBA playoffs for evidence of how valuable a speed demon like Jennings can be in the right offense.
I have looked at all of the available tape several times over and I am certain that it would be a mistake for Brandon to become a New York Knick. He would be better suited for a stable veteran environment where he can be brought along slowly and without the added pressure of the Big Apple and some of their rotten fans. I mean, the guy has almost no point guard experience at a level higher than the Micky D tourney. Even Kobe was not rushed into the forefront and had the advantage of developing with some good players and a teaching coach. Furthermore, Kobe was not a point guard which is by far the most difficult position to play, since a great point must think like five players and a coach.
The scouts cited below accurately detail what he can do. What he can do is great; the way he does it is amazing. He is a showman par And1 Excellence — but points still count for either 3 or 2 points.
- He is jet fast on the break. He zooms down the court and to the basket.
- He has serious hops and can dunk creatively with the best of them.
- He can take the ball to the rim and score when not bumped
- He can beat defenders off the dribble
- He can dribble between his legs
- He doesn’t mind hustling on D, although he reaches behind players a lot
Is that good enough? Can he rebound? Can he lead a team? Can he shoot a mid range jumper instead of a back rim brick?
Are the Knicks a good spot for an unrefined, raw talent? I am not aware of D’Antoni, a point guard himself, ever training a guard this raw. Perhaps Duhon would take Brandon under his wings, but Duhon has his own issues with the D’Antoni offensive system. Quentin Richardson goes out of his way to help youngsters as he has Lee, Robinson and Chandler, but will Richardson be around. But aren’t Q’s days as a Knicks’ senior statesman numbered?
Brandon Jennings may eventually prove that he is worthy of the hype, but for now, IGM believes it is best to catch this pick on the rebound, at the end of a three year contract with his first NBA team. Those who like the kid should wish him the best and hope that he is picked up by an organization that will give him the attention and court time — even in the Developmental League — that he needs to realize his potential. Otherwise, he will just be more fodder for the NBA mill.
I am IGM and I approve this message. If you don’t, holler back.
OUTSIDE SCOUTING REPORTS
Brandon Jennings Video Report
Brandon Jennings at Oak Hill
Brandon at Micky D’s
Brandon at Jordan Classic
Note: There is a must see dunk at the end of this video. Amazing.
Brandon at RBKU Camp
Jennings in Europe v. Tau & Unicaja
Brandon Jennings Interviews
May 12, 2009, Part II
In Rome, Nov. 11, 2008
Jason Kidd on Brandon Jennings