Brandon Jennings Would Make Dallas Mavericks Perennial Contenders

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2013

Feb 5, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings (3) drives to the basket during the first half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.  Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Jennings is about to hit restricted free agency this summer, and signing with the Dallas Mavericks would put him on a team that would be ready to compete immediately and regularly.

Speaking to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, Jennings absolutely gushed about the team's overall environment and also owner Mark Cuban:

“Yeah, of course,” Jennings said when asked if he could see himself fitting in Dallas. “Who wouldn’t want to play in an environment like this every night?

“You’ve got an owner [Mark Cuban] who’s so into his team. Every time you see the Mavs, you see him cheering or going crazy. They won a championship. They’re about winning.”

Jennings going to Dallas is a definite possibility. The team will have a lot of money to spend this summer and could be in a position to offer him a max contract.

Granted, per the Gilbert Arenas Rule of the current CBA, the Milwaukee Bucks could match any offer Jennings receives. However, is he really worth a max contract on their dime? He is averaging 18.7 points and 6.1 assists per game, plus 1.8 steals, but his shoot-first mentality has his field-goal percentage at a mere 40 percent.

If there's a great deal of money involved, especially a max contract, Milwaukee could be hesitant to match the offer. Dallas, on the other hand, could really use a scoring point guard of Jennings' caliber.

That isn't to say that the Mavericks' current starter at the point, Darren Collison, is not a solid option. He is averaging 12.7 points and 5.5 assists this season and is shooting 38 percent from long range but is not as dynamic as Jennings.

The sad truth is that while Jennings has more room to grow, Collison has already peaked. His current skill set is not going to get any better than it is at the moment.

Jennings, on the other hand, has a high ceiling and could get the Mavericks back into championship contention in the blink of an eye. His shooting percentages may seem a bit low, but that can be attributed to him playing in a system that is not right for him and also not having reliable go-to guys.

In Dallas, that would not be the case. Assuming Rick Carlisle is still the head coach next season, Jennings would be in a fast-paced system designed to utilize his talents well, and he would also have a reliable supporting cast in O.J. Mayo and Brandon Jennings. While he would certainly be one of the alpha dogs on the Mavericks, it would be because he could fill that role and not so much that he has to, as is the case with the Bucks.

Dallas would also need a solid defensive center in the middle, but that trio alone could be enough to help the team contend for championships in 2013-14 and beyond. Jennings has so much potential as a point guard who performs well offensively and makes his team better, and Dallas would give him every opportunity to be that player. In Milwaukee, he'd remain in a funk until either team management brought in a coach that would instill a new system or a solid supporting cast that could consistently produce.

Most important of all, Dallas is a place where Jennings could win. He has the supporting cast there already, and while it may be some time before he becomes a champion there, if ever at all, he would at least be in a situation that would allow him to compete for a title regularly.

That said, Mark Cuban and GM Donnie Nelson had better start crunching some numbers and prepare their pitch to Jennings, as acquiring him could mean the difference between a short-term rebuilding phase and a long-term one.