Las Vegas Summer League Diary, Day 2, Part 2: The Summer Maturation of Brandon Jennings — Now Print That MSM!!!
(Prior to posting the following observation, Brandon Jennings played his last summer league game, a solid one, against the Raptors. He scored 13 points and handed out 7 assists in a thrilling 84-83 loss which I did not see since I opted to spend time celebrating my nephew’s birthday at the Adventuredome at Circus, Circus. In discussing the game with those who saw it, not much happened that would alter my following observations except claims that Brandon’s shot was on which I find hard to believe if he went 1-4 from the arc, but he was 6-13 overall. Clearly his shooting ability — like that of most guards here — is a work in progress. Jennings averaged 14.6 points on 38-percent shooting, 8.2 assists and 3.6 steals in the Summer League experience. The Bucks finished 4-1. “I played pretty good. I think I showed people I can run the team, lead my team to victories and just be that true point guard,” he told reporters )
IGM and Statesman (and O&B), I saw Brandon Jennings and he conquered part of my personal trepidation about his game. Let’s start with the good stuff because I dare the MSM (Mainstream Media) to pick up on this. Brandon Jennings was an absolute gentleman as he was attentive to his summer league coach and complimentary to a fault to teammates who performed well, especially after one of his deft fastball passes.
I mention this first, because personally I wouldn’t trust the MSM, led by ESPN these days, to treat Mr. Jennings fairly although he is just barely a young kid. So far his youthful bravado and the honesty flowing from his brain to his mouth like a broken water faucet have made him a target for the media which is quick to look for and create tantalizing content. Now the Mainstream Media (reporters and producers alike) is just “laying in the cut” for an opportunity to extend the negative characterization of Jennings — therefore ignoring the fact that he is just a growing kid entering unfamiliar territory in life. If he gives them a little fodder, his maturation will be unfairly ignored and he will be sold iconically as the next Terrill Owens or Mike Tyson to start newscasts and tantalize viewers.
Brandon Jennings, in my mind, can undoubtedly play NBA ball, despite his reported travails in Europe. Not much of a revelation, except that I saw no reason why he shouldn’t be in the NBA for a while, eventually gaining a starting role, probably this year. I don’t fully understand why he wasn’t playing more in Europe, except that he was a junior member of the team and did not garner the respect and deference reserved for the vets on his team.
Jenning’s biggest problems are his ability to hit a jumper and his size. He is lanky, like Nick Young and, sorta kinda, Shaun Livingston, but he weighs about as much as a ‘kerchief. He is going to have his ass handed to him defensively for a while. All it takes to beat him is strength and speed. The speed he has on offense does him no good the way he sizes up his man on offense. He does not play the defender straight up. It seems that he tries to lean the defender to the off hand which doesn’t work much in the NBA. He was blown by regularly. Secondly, whenever he gets hit in the chest while defending someone driving to the basket, he flies backwards like an autumn leaf. Former Knick, old man Mark Jackson, of booty bumping legend, could still score 50 points on this kid by backing him down all day.
He is so thin. My little sister’s wrists are as big as his ankles. He needs to develop his body. With Nick Young’s physique and better lateral movement, Jennings could be a two-way terror.
I love his confidence and the fact that his teammates know that the ball should be in his hands. As soon as the ball is rebounded the outlet goes to Jennings and no one else. He is always a threat to run by you and his coach was constantly encouraging him to speed up the tempo. His drives to the basket are as nice in person as they are on tape. Despite his lack of weight, he has such control over the ball that he knows how to score under the basket with contact. Just an absolute joy to watch.
I also noticed that his passes generally are not fancy. He will showboat every once in a while, but his passes are like Dwight Gooden fast balls: right on the money. He is an excellent judge of the speed at which his teammate is moving and the ball hits them right on the spot.
Bottom line: Jennings was a good pick by Milwaukee from what I have seen. He has been one of the bright spots in the NBA Summer League. I hope for him that he is able to concentrate on his game which will force the media not to concentrate on his mouth. The reputation has been built, but it can be changed especially if he does not take the bait from the media when he gets into New York and they ask him about his “F*ck The Knicks” comments (which were apparently the same sentiments held by mature free agents this summer. LOL).
Related Previous Posts