Brandon Jennings has barely had any time to settle into his new digs with the Detroit Pistons, but that hasn’t stopped him from kissing some serious ass. Excuse me, I mean deservingly praising his teammates.
After working out at the Pistons’ practice facility for the first time, Jennings waxed poetic about new teammates Greg Monroe and Drummond, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:
“Andre Drummond, his potential is very high. He’s so young, too,” Jennings said Tuesday after his first workout in the team’s Auburn Hills practice facility. “Greg Monroe, he’s a guy we can get the ball to under the basket and make plays, get buckets. They’re two big, physical guys, too. And with Josh (Smith), bringing him in here, I think we should own the glass this year, defense and offense.”
“I haven’t been able to play with a guy who’s a post presence since Andrew Bogut, somebody you could throw it down to. Now that I have a post presence, and another guy like Josh, who can go get a bucket, Drummond, we can do pick and roll – just all type of options now.”
I make jokes—usually at Brandon’s expense—but this is one time Jennings is right. Drummond is one of the brightest young big men in the NBA, someone who could eventually succeed Dwight Howard as the league’s best center. And I’m not even kidding. Monroe, meanwhile, has been waffling between potential star and glorified role player for quite some time. Either way, he’s more useful offensively than anything Jennings has worked with in the last 18 months (sorry, Larry Sanders).
More so than the substance of the interview—which you should check out, by the way—I’m impressed with Jennings’ willingness to support his team. This could obviously be just the new guy trying to make a good first impression, but it could also be sincere. Jennings never spoke of the Milwaukee Bucks like this, he never sang like a canary for Monta Ellis or even Sanders.
I’m not even sure he spoke so highly of Bogut when they were teammates. That was before my time. Not in the sense that I was too young, but because I swore off watching mediocre basketball altogether. I’m operating under no such pledge now, meaning I’ll be taking in loads of Bucks, Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers games this season.
But look at that, I’ve digressed…
Moving forward, I’m curious to see if Jennings implements the pick-and-roll as much as he says he will. Or rather, if Detroit’s offensive sets live up to his hype.
True to his word, Synergy Sports (subscription required) shows us that almost 35 percent of his offensive possessions came as a pick-and-roll ball-handler last season. And that was next to a rather offensively limited frontcourt. Picture how much he can use it with Drummond and Monroe.
I’m literally thrilled…now it’s time for a reality check.
Of the 565 pick-and-roll sets Jennings ran, he took a shot 436 times, or 77.2 percent. Again, that could change playing next to Drummond and Monroe, but the numbers don’t lie: Jennings likes to shoot, so he shoots. And not well. Only 40.1 percent of those attempts (175) went down, which is actually above his season average from the floor in general (39.9 percent).
Commend Jennings for his verbal chivalry if you must. You probably even should. I know I do, even if only a little bit. Reserve any judgment, though, until the season starts. That’s when we’ll finally see if Jennings can become more of a facilitator, utilizing the two big men he claims to respect by resisting the urge to shoot hap-hazardously.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.