Brandon Jennings Will Reinvent Career with Detroit Pistons

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIJuly 31, 2013

Dec 30, 2012; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings (3) brings the ball up court past Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Knight (7) during the second quarter at The Palace. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Detroit Pistons have completed a four-player trade to acquire Brandon Jennings from the Milwaukee Bucks. Detroit agreed to send Brandon Knight, Slava Kravtsov and Khris Middleton to Milwaukee in the deal.

After a tumultuous ride in Milwaukee, Jennings will now reinvent his career with the Pistons.

He was a restricted free agent, but he and the Bucks were unable to come to terms on a contract. Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times reported that Jennings wanted a deal in the neighborhood of $12 million, which had prevented Milwaukee from re-signing him.

Instead, he'll average roughly $8 million over the next three seasons.

It's not quite what he expected, but he should be happy to walk away with this much money.

Jennings is fresh off a season when he averaged 17.5 points, 6.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Those numbers suggest that he was working toward a max contract, but the fact that he shot 39.9 percent from the field offset the quality production.

Fortunately for Jennings, he's out of Milwaukee.


Out of Milwaukee

It's no secret that Jennings has yet to develop an understanding of efficient shot selection. He shot 39.9 percent from the field in 2012-13 and has posted a career mark of 39.4.

Shot selection played a major role in those struggles, but the absence of a defined offensive system and offensive support were equally troublesome.

During the 2012-13 NBA regular season, three of Milwaukee's top five scorers shot worse than 42 percent from the field. As a team, the Bucks checked in at 28th in the NBA by shooting 43.5 percent from the field.

Jennings is hardly the only player worth blaming.

The Bucks played under two head coaches in Scott Skiles and Jim Boylan who both prioritized defense and implemented a rather dysfunctional offensive system. With isolation sets taking precedence over team basketball, quality looks were tough to come by.

In Detroit, there are factors that point toward greater success for Jennings.


Big Men in Detroit

The Pistons have a legitimate case to make when it comes to their upside as a potential postseason team in 2013. Even before they traded for Jennings, they had a core of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith.

That's the type of support that every young point guard would love to have.

Monroe offers the most intriguing complement, as he's one of the best offensive big men in the NBA. The 23-year-old averaged 16.0 points and 9.6 rebounds during the 2012-13 regular season, proving capable of playing both power forward and center.

Most importantly, he's proficient in driving off the pick-and-roll and finishing in traffic.

Smith struggles with shot selection as well, but he's one of the top transition players in the league. Running alongside Jennings in the open court, Smith should have plenty of opportunities to to throw down highlight-reel dunks.

Monta Ellis may be a transition menace as well, but he's hardly the physical specimen or explosive athlete that Smith has proved to be.

With Drummond displaying upside down low, Rodney Stuckey providing quality minutes at the 2, and Kyle Singler displaying versatile upside, there's reason to be intrigued. The key here, however, is the presence of Chauncey Billups.

The veteran mentor is just what Jennings needs to make the leap to elite.


The Billups Factor

Once upon a time, Billups was a young point guard who hadn't yet met a shot he didn't like. He shot worse than 40.0 percent in each of his first four seasons, but after displaying slight improvements in the following two, he became a star in Detroit.

Who better to be the voice of reason as Jennings' career progresses with the Pistons?

Billups is now a Hall of Fame candidate, owning an NBA Finals MVP award, five All-Star Game appearances and the inaugural Teammate of the Year award in 2013. This is not to say that Jennings has a similar trajectory, but one thing is clear: The kid can play.

Any time a 23-year-old averages 17.5 points and 6.5 assists, it's worth taking note of his upside as an NBA star.

After Jennings' turbulent ride in Milwaukee, Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun reported that Jennings told him he's "happy" about the trade to Detroit. This is intriguing news, as Jennings now receives a fresh start with a leader to help him develop.

That's why Jennings will create a new career path in Detroit.


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