2016 FA Roundtable: Brandon Jennings

PLUGH: I really don’t like Brandon Jennings’ game. People sometimes pine over the memory of Jordan Hill being selected two slots ahead of him, but not me. Jennings has a lot of jittery, herky jerky moves and he slings up three pointers in bunches. Most of the time it’s out of the flow of the offense and totally inefficient. It’s like Jamal Crawford on acid. The Knicks reportedly wanted to trade for Jennings at the deadline last year, but the idea of giving anything up for him is sickening. I’m being really harsh in my assessment of Jennings game, but there’s no way to paint the picture kindly. If you look at his shot charts he’s dismally below average in almost every spot on the court. It’s amazing, though, how perceptions change when situations change. With Derrick Rose in tow, Brandon Jennings looks like a nice flier on a one-year, $5 million deal off the bench. Nothing about him changes as a player, but the number of gambles the Knicks have made in other areas makes this feel like a “why not” type of move. If Rose is inefficient as the starter, but plays fast to some positive effect, Jennings doesn’t pose any new problems. If the two of them fail to make a positive impact next year, they can both be jettisoned in favor of bigger fish. I’ll never be a fan of Jennings inefficient style of play, but in this particular spot, I’m not mad.

CRONIN: It seems awfully fishy that this dude couldn’t beat a one-year/$5 million contract out there. It makes me worried that everyone thinks his injuries are just too much. Hopefully not. The upside of the deal is also a bit off. I mean, $5 million for a rotation guy who has had at least a half-year of strong play (before suffering a major injury) is not bad, but when the Knicks are going to be really tight with cap space next year (especially since the NBA is now saying that the cap will be $5 million lower than expected next year), there seems to be little chance of him coming back even if he has a decent year. Let’s hope he has a decent year, though!

MA: Jennings has had good games as recently as March, so I don’t mind taking the risk. Unfortunately, if it does pan out, the Knicks could easily lose him. He’s not the most efficient scorer, but he showed in Detroit and Orlando that he could be a distributor. Defensively, I’ll just look away.

UDWARY: It’s a one year, cheap contract for a likely awful player. Not really much else to say. He is one of the very few guys we could have backing up the PG position that will make you hope Rose can play lots of minutes, though.

FISHER-COHEN: Brian, it could be that Jennings is betting on Rose getting hurt, and even if he doesn’t, who’s he competing with for bench minutes? There’s no more Rambis to stuff Vujacic down our throats, so that leaves just Justin Holiday. In any case, I find it hard to care about Jennings given it’s a one year deal, but here’s my best attempt: I would be less surprised to see Jennings repeat that streak he put up in Detroit before the injury than to see Noah outperform his 14/15 numbers or Rose put up NBA average numbers. He’s still just 26. Even in that hot streak, he couldn’t finish at the rim (like the rest of the Knicks!), so it’s not like he was reliant on quickness and leaping ability back then.

KURYLO: If you want to know how I evaluate a player, unless they’re a defensive juggernaut, the first thing I check is their ts%. Jennings’ career is 49.7%. “Yikes”, I think to myself, “maybe he was bad earlier in his career, and has gotten better.” So I then look at the ts% by season. Brandon’s last 4 seasons were 51.0%, 48.6%, 52.2%, and 49.1%. Some years were better, but nowhere near the league average which usually hovers around 54%.

But I’m curious why Jennings is such an inefficient scorer. Career-wise he’s 35% from downtown, which isn’t an Achilles Heel unlike Rose (30.3%). Next I scan free throws wondering if he just doesn’t convert from the line much. Negative — 3.1 makes per 36 and he makes him at just a tad under 80%. Not great numbers, but well enough.


Then I look at the final component of true shooting percentage, his 2P%. HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL! WHAT THE HECK IS THIS KID DOING ON THE COURT? I COULD PROBABLY — OK I COULDN’T — BUT STILL! HOW MANY NBA MINUTES HAS HE GOTTEN??? ALMOST 15,000! AND NO ONE HAS BEEN ABLE TO GET HIM TO SHOOT PROPERLY? Well maybe he doesn’t shoot that often — 15.8 fga/36. WHAT THE @#@*(@#)*!!!!!

Brandon Jennings shoots two point shots at 41.3%. How bad is that? Let’s answer with a trivia question.

In the 3-point era (1980 season), how many NBA players have amassed 14,000 minutes but have only managed to hit 41.3% of their 2 point shots?
A. 5
B. 10
C. 25
D. 50

[Extra credit name the two Knicks – one player and one coach.]

So my parting thoughts are — how many nights will I be throwing stuff at the tv because Knicks point guards are having “an off night”?

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