Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings: Too Much, Too Soon

Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst INovember 4, 2009

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 03:  Brandon Jennings #3 of the Milwaukee Bucks brings the ball upcourt against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on November 3, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 83-81. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

One week into the NBA season and already several great stories have made their way into the spotlight. Perhaps the most surprising story has been the play of rookie point guard Brandon Jennings.

The journey of the 10th overall pick by the Bucks has been well-documented. He spurned college after high school in favor of playing pro ball in Italy. It's a decision Jennings himself has credited to his early success.

Jennings made it very easy for fans to get excited about his future. In his debut game, he was one rebound and one assist shy of recording a triple-double. He followed that up with back-to-back 20-plus point games against division rivals Detroit and Chicago.

Fans and most media outlets have fallen in love with Jennings. They have vaulted him to the top of Rookie of the Year talk, and some are already throwing out phrases like "future superstar" and "perennial All-Star." That's very high praise for a player who turned 20 less than two months ago.

Before everyone is so quick to anoint Jennings as the next great anything, they should take a closer look at recent Bucks' history. That history will show he is already a player the team might not need.

One of the biggest criticisms of former Bucks point guards was their shoot first, pass second mentality. Throngs of fans became bitter and eventually booed Mo Williams and even Ramon Sessions for their propensity to find their own shots before getting teammates involved.

In his first three games, Jennings has taken 54 shots. To his credit, he is shooting over 48% from the field, showing no signs of intimidation in his new surroundings. He's shooting an even better percentage behind the three-point line, hitting half of his attempts.

In Jennings' defense, Michael Redd has only played a game and a half and will miss at least the next two weeks due to a knee strain, giving everyone the opportunity for more shots. Coach Scott Skiles needs to make sure Jennings doesn't get in any bad habits, however, by taking too many of those shots.

Even when Milwaukee is at full strength, they have no "superstar" player on their roster. They must take on a true team mentality and find the success from the greater good as opposed to any one individual. Hakim Warrick and Andrew Bogut should be the ones to benefit most from Redd's absence, not Jennings.

There is no doubting Brandon Jennings' talent. It's easy to see in the speed and confidence he shows on the court. He may very well be the next great point guard in the NBA, but his time isn't quite yet.

No matter how great of an experience Italy was for him and how that might have sped up his maturity level, he's still just a wide-eyed 20-year-old rookie. Before he grabs the NBA by its throat, he needs to do the same with the Bucks and be a true floor general. He can then worry about being a true superstar.

To read more by Jesse Motiff, click here.