With the acquisition of shooting guard J.J. Redick, many wondered what was going to happen to Brandon Jennings. The entire reason the Milwaukee Bucks traded for Redick was to improve their backcourt shooting and that is something that did not sit well with the point guard initially. However, after 36 assists in two games, Jennings is finally beginning to understand his role.
The 23-year-old continues to have a poor shooting percentage since Redick joined the squad–with the exception of Monday night against the Utah Jazz, when he converted 57.1 percent of his shots from the field, but the huge difference over the last five games is that he has greatly reduced his attempts. Jennings may claim that “scoring is easy” and that he must take 30 shots in order for the Bucks to win, but the fact is he just needs to be a productive passer in order for the team to succeed.
In the first three games with Redick in town, Jennings saw his minutes take a hit. Over that span, he went 10-for-30 from the floor while averaging 9.0 points, 5.6 assists and 30.6 minutes per game. The fourth-year player was lost and did not know how to contribute while Monta Ellis and Redick tore it up. Fans took to social media to beg interim coach Jim Boylan to start Ellis at the point and Redick at shooting guard with Jennings coming in off the bench.
Instead of getting down on himself and becoming a parasite in the locker room because he was upset about his playing time, Jennings decided to go back to his roots.
“I always could pass; I always could get my teammates involved and that’s something I’m doing now,” he said, according to ESPN.com.
Jennings is a terrific passer who enjoys watching his teammates making plays off of his assist. This is something that fans in Milwaukee saw in his rookie season. However, without a solid offense around him, the first-round draft pick was forced to become the scorer. This is something he has never enjoyed over the last couple of years, even though a majority of the time he was hurting the team by taking 18-25 shots per game because of his inability to hit a high percentage of them on a nightly basis.
There is no question the Bucks are a better team with the three guards playing their own specific game. Jennings sets up the play, Redick knocks down the trey and Ellis takes the game over every chance he gets. This is the formula for success for a team that has outstanding rebounders and defenders around the basket.
There are still times where Jennings looks as if he is going to fall back to his old habits and take a low-percentage shot, but he catches himself and rights the ship with a quality pass. As long as he continues to keep everyone involved with his outstanding court vision, Milwaukee has a legitimate shot to do some damage in the Eastern Conference down the stretch.