Will Motivated Brandon Jennings Finally Realize Star Potential?
Look, if you don't mind, I'm going to go and bet against Brandon Jennings. The decision doesn't make me all that different from the Milwaukee Bucks, who refused to offer BJ an extension at the deadline.
And, while I'm going to bet against Jennings' star potential, it is not a decision I make comfortably. He's quick, creative, exciting, confident. These are qualities that we associate with "star."
My gripe with Jennings, though, is his deficiencies in some boring, mundane aspects of basketball. He only flies into the lane wildly, hurling contested floaters off the rim and backboard. Jennings would do well to take more jumpers in the lane—like Russell Westbrook—at least to keep the defense honest.
Brandon Jennings only takes 1.2 shots between 10-15 feet per contest (per HoopData) out of his 17 attempts. While the free-throw jumper isn't my favorite shot, Jennings needs to mix it up a bit. He hasn't been efficient enough to justify all the floaters and wild layups.
Here's to hoping that Jennings' 2011-2012 57.7 percent shooting percentage at the rim speaks to improvement in that department. It's still not a great at-rim average, but it's far better than his 51.4 percent mark from the year before.
Jennings remains merely an adequate passer and a shaky shooter. He's getting better in both respects of the game, but I'm more a pessimist than most in regards to player development.
We often assume guys will get better, and they do, just usually not in all aspects of their game and all at once. In the case of speedy, shoot-first point guards, the prime years are earlier.
Brandon Jennings is only 23, but it isn't as though his prime happens at 26 or 27, like it will for so many players. For BJ to become a superstar, it has to happen right now. When Jennings' speed fades, even a little, you're left with a small, shaky shooter.
This is why Brandon Jennings is in a fast race against time. He must improve his jumper and decision making before that quickness erodes. Again, I would bet against it. Again, I wouldn't do so confidently.
Jennings can make this leap, but one thing is certain: He must make it soon.
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