As it was mentioned last week, Brandon Jennings has been a player of unique interest in the realm of the Mavericks as the trade deadline approaches. With the help of ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon, the evaluation of Jennings was further enhanced earlier this week. One thing is a given, the young point guard does fit the qualifications of what Mark Cuban and the rest of the front office is looking for in terms of a target as the trade deadline approaches.
Jennings is coming of a 34-point performance in the losing effort to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night. He scored 23 points in the second half of the game that ended up going into overtime.
When thinking about Jennings more, I wanted to gather more information. When deciding where to look, I wanted to talk to someone who actually follows the team and would give an honest assessment of him. I spoke with Jeremy Schmidt, the editor of Bucksketball – the Bucks’ affiliate for the TrueHoop Network. With that in mind, there are quite a few things to examine when looking at Jennings. Let’s look at what we found out.
The Two Man game asks: Jennings is known as a shoot-first point guard with a bad percentage from the field. With your ability to watch him game after game, is the label legit or is it a byproduct of the players he’s been around?
Schmidt: I think it’s legit. It’s not that he’s unwilling to pass or incapable of passing, it’s just that Jennings’ whole career, form probably when he started playing basketball to now, has been successful when he’s been shooting the ball a lot. Perhaps he’d move the ball more with more gifted offensive players around him, but he has never been forced to develop the vision that a Jason Kidd or Rajon Rondo has. So he just doesn’t quite have it.
The Two Man game asks: Scott Skiles has been known as a tough-minded coach and was during his time with the Bucks. How would Jennings react to someone like Rick Carlisle who calls it like he sees it but does it to improve his players?
Schmidt: I think Jennings would respond favorably to Carlisle. He credits Skiles for much of his success and he’s a talented player, one that Carlisle would likely play big minutes. So long as the minutes are available and the critiques are clear, I don’t see why Jennings wouldn’t respond positively.
The Two Man game asks: He’s never played with someone like Dirk. How would his style mesh with an unselfish guy like him who can open up space?
Schmidt: I’d say he’s played with a guy who’s about as good as Dirk in his first year or two. I recently read a Grantland piece where Dirk talked about how all he was capable of doing as a young player was spotting up. That essentially describes Ersan Ilyasova. I think Jennings would thrive if Ilyasova were as talented as creating his own offense as Dirk is. It gives Brandon more opportunities as a catch and shoot player.
The Two Man game asks: Offense is the first thing mentioned with Jennings. How is he as a defender?
Schmidt: He’s passable. He has some of the quickest defensive hands I’ve seen. He is a threat to pick any ball-handler in the league. That’s a rare skill. HE gets lost from time to time and he’s a pretty slight guy, so more physical play can be a problem for him. But he isn’t terrible.
The Two Man game asks: Late game execution has been a struggle for Dallas this year. Does he shy away or play differently in close games?
Schmidt: He shoots a lot. And he doesn’t do it very well. But combine him with a guy who could be the legit first option like Dirk, and maybe he’d be a little better. I don’t think this is a strength of his, but he’ll never be shy, that’s for sure.
So, there you have it. There’s a look from the other side of the table on Brandon Jennings? Are you still skeptical, sold or stepping back?
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.