NBA Lockout, Brandon Jennings and Reminiscing

Jeffrey EngmannCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2011

ATLANTA - MAY 2:  Guard Brandon Jennings #3 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles with the ball during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 2, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks beat the Bucks 95-74.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

It's a bad day in October when you have to be creative to get your basketball fix in. No training camps, no preseason games, no 12th man on the bench balling like he's Kobe for a week. No this is one strange looking October, where on the east coast it snowed heavily. But diehard Celtics and Knicks fans would rather be locked out of their homes than be enduring this NBA lockout that has been as unpredictable as Rajon Rondo's jump shot.

Furthermore, the lockout has been more frustrating than Lebron's fourth quarter performance in the finals to a Heat fan, more nonsensical than a Don Nelson starting five, more inexplicable than a Mike D'Antoni defensive scheme and more disturbing than a Chuck Hayes free throw.

OK, I think you get the picture, but to make it a bit brighter, we should go back to the future. As Slam Magazine, and ESPN have done a great job producing a controversial list to dissect the league's Top 50 players, it may be interesting to take a look at the league's up and coming players and predict their career arc, and think back to who they remind us of.

Today we will take a look at Milwaukee's point of the future: Brandon Jennings.

For some reason, people don't like Brandon Jennings. Maybe it's because he chose to not go to college and played professionally in Italy, or maybe it's because he dissed Ricky Rubio right after the two were drafted. But let's look at the facts.

Prior to Brandon Jennings being drafted, the Bucks were a 34-win team with a star guard whose best days were seemingly ahead of him. Then, amidst a rookie draft class filled with several talented point guards, Jennings stood out and made the Bucks exciting. They won 46 games, and pushed a very good Atlanta Hawks team to seven games. While dropping a double-nickle on the Warriors may be what most remember about Jenning's rookie season, the chemistry that was forming between point guard and center was equally as important.


Then last year happened. Injuries and poor offseason decisions hurt the Bucks and Jennings struggled at times to find his rhythm with his new teammates.

So, who does Brandon Jennings remind you of? He's a streaky, somewhat hot-headed lefty who just has a knack for scoring and winning.

He has the potential to be this generation's version of Nick Van Exel.

Remember the Laker team Van Exel inherited was pre-Kobe and Shaq  and post Divac and Magic. Van Exel hit huge shots in his rookie year and brought excitement to the Laker Forum. Despite his success and an All-Star appearance, Van Exel left right before the Lakers' championship reign this decade. 

So while it may be viewed as a smite to say Jennings will never be an elite point guard, ask anyone who remembers Van Exel, and if they don't at least crack a smile reminiscing about his game, they'd tell you that it's pretty good company to be in.

The bottom line, Brandon Jennings will find it hard to crack the top five point guards in the league anytime soon. But that doesn't mean he can't be the general that runs a championship caliber team.