While there are many reasons the New York Knicks should steer clear of Brandon Jennings, one specific reason reigns supreme.
By Chip Murphy
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
Maybe the New York Knicks should heed Albert Einstein’s words and try something different in their seemingly never-ending search for a point guard.
They have a history of pursuing the quick fix veteran who seemingly has no future in the organization. Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups are both prime examples. Both men were towards the end of their careers, and although they helped the Knicks in short spurts the team was left hopeless in their inevitable swift departure. (No, I’m not including “Linsanity.”)
The latest potential quick fix is coming fast and furious in the form Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings.
Playing on an expiring contract, the media has started the machine and some fans have deluded themselves into thinking that Jennings could be their point guard of the future. The Pistons once thought the same thing, but with Reggie Jackson now filling that spot and playing at an All-Star level Jennings is on the trading block.
There’s a few things the Knicks and their fans need to realize about Brandon Jennings.
If you haven’t watched him play you could be in for a monumental shock. For all the fans that love to annihilate Carmelo Anthony for his ball-dominating play, you haven’t seen anything until you watch a Brandon Jennings performance.
Jennings has only played in three games season after missing 11 months to rehab from rupturing his left Achilles tendon. This is to small a sample size to give an accurate portrayal of his game; however, he played 41 games in 2014-15 which is a good barometer for Jennings’s skill set. Let’s examine why the Knicks should stay away from Brandon Jennings.
Think Jose Calderon and then imagine the exact opposite. That’s Brandon Jennings. That may sound great after what Calderon has shown during his time as a Knick, but his problems shouldn’t force New York into thinking that Jennings would be a better fit with their current roster. He just wouldn’t.
The criticism about Jennings’s shot selection and ball hogging has been widely publicized, but let’s dig deeper into his inefficiency.
Jennings averages 16 points per game for his career, but that comes on over 15 field goal attempts per game. Don’t be mislead by his scoring numbers. He has a career effective field goal percentage of 48.2% (the average eFG% this season is 49.5%) showing that he is not efficient from in front of or behind the three point line.
If you want to take a look at Jennings’ basketball IQ, all you need to do is look at his shot selection. In 2014-15, nearly half (49.3%) of his shots were pull-up jump shots and he made just 34.6 percent of those attempts. In fact, according to NBA Stat Tracker, he attempted 382 jump shots that season and connected on only 35.3 percent. Most of his shots came after 7-or-more dribbles, by a significant margin, also shooting below 40% on those attempts, per NBA Stat Tracker. Simply put, Jennings loves to have the ball in his hands and loves shooting it even more.
According to NBA Savant, Jennings had a better shooting season in 2014-15 than in 2013-14 (in which he played 80 games). All you have to do is look at the numbers and you can see, Jennings is an average player. He struggles finishing at the rim, nor is he an exceptional mid-range shooter. To reach his scoring pinnacle, he needs to take those 15 shots per game or else he just isn’t valuable. New Yorkers will get sick of the Brandon Jennings act sooner rather than later; once they realize that his shots could be going to someone else.
The most telling statistics about Jennings of course revolve around how much he has the ball during the game. During the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, he was in the top 10 in time of possession, average seconds per touch, and average dribbles per touch. This can’t work.
A ball-dominating point guard and a ball-dominating superstar in with no rapport being thrown together in the middle of the season is a recipe for disaster. Anthony has had issues with teammates in the past and this team is a tight-knit group that doesn’t need a disruption. That’s all Brandon Jennings would be.