I’ll be honest, I had to laugh at this headline myself. Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Jennings an All-Star candidate? Let me explain before you dismiss this notion….
I have (not really) personal stock in Jennings’ basketball career. Jennings was supposed to go to the University of Arizona (my alma mater) to play basketball for legendary coach Lute Olson while I attended. Jennings was by far the most exciting high-school prospect in the country, and was supposed to carry the historic point guard legacy at Arizona for years to come.
Then, we found out he couldn’t pass his SATs several times, and Jennings high-tailed to Europe without too much of an explanation. It no longer mattered that he was being touted by Lute as his best prospect ever. He never attended, and took on an unpopular trend by playing overseas right out of high-school. I admit, I was bitter. I knew what kind of special player he was, and what he could’ve been under the tutelage of coach Olson.
Jennings goes overseas, becoming one of the few players to challenge the “high-school to the overseas” route, became an instant millionaire and catalyst for challenging the NBA‘s age minimum requirement. Though he didn’t fare well in Euroleague (averaged 7.6 pts, 38% fg), he was still drafted by the Bucks with the 10th overall pick in hilarious fashion (youtube it). Jennings had a solid rookie campaign, making the All-Rookie 1st Team, and even scoring 56 points in a game. He provided hope for a NBA franchise who has struggled to be relevant since the days of Jack Sikma.
Outside of that 56-point game, we don’t hear much about Jennings, or the Bucks anymore. They have been playing excellent basketball and exceeding expectations, despite their head coach Scott Skiles resigning mid-season. The Bucks are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings (24-19) and Jennings is having a career year, averaging 18.6 points, six assists, and is among the league leaders in steals at almost two per game. His shooting percentage is still meager (40% FG) but his PER is among the NBA’s elite players.
The Bucks are four games behind the Miami Heat for the lead in the Eastern Conference, and nobody is talking it. Nobody.
With Boston Celtics’ PG Rajon Rondo out for the season with an ACL injury, Jennings should be seriously considered to replace Rondo for the upcoming NBA All-Star Game. I’m sure Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams (dreadful first couple of months of the season), Brook Lopez (may have missed too many games to be considered), or New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith may get the nod over him, but Jennings has been a more consistent player for a team who is clamoring for an All-Star to make them relevant again. Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday are certainly deserving of their All-Star bids, but if you’re looking for a fresh new face who will bring excitement and flair to replace Rondo?
Watch the McDonald’s All-American tape on Jennings and tell me he isn’t a perfect fit to replace Rondo.
Follow @leetreble_ on twitter