The Brandon Jennings conundrum has finally been solved. He’ll be heading to the Detroit Pistons in a sign-and-trade deal that will bring back Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtsov. Jennings new deal will be for three years, $24 million, per Yahoo! Sports.
The deal is worth noting as earlier reports had Jennings seeking a deal in the four-year, $40 million plus range. Snagging him for less annual money on a shorter deal is a good coup for Joe Dumars. The deal also doesn’t handicap the Pistons cap-space going forward and, barring an extension to Greg Monroe, the Pistons can be players in next Summer’s free agency as well.
Critics were quick to jump on the trade, citing Jennings inefficient play as the main reason the trade was a poor move for Detroit. It’s way too early to tell if this is the case, but there is one thing we know for sure. The Pistons got better in one necessary area: three-point shooting.
Last season, Jennings shot .375% from beyond the arc. That mark is better than every other player set to be on the Pistons roster next year.
His .399% from the field is far from, but his three-point shooting helps make up for this. According to NBA.com, he was above or comparable to league average from every zone beyond the three point arc. Just under 37% of his total shot attempts came from three-point land and an increase in this figure wouldn’t be surprising for next year.
While inefficient in areas, Jennings is not as limited as some critics like to suggest. Last season he was one of just four players to average at least 17 points, six assists and shoot .375 from beyond the arc. The other three: LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Deron Williams. No one would have anything to say if the Pistons acquired any of these players.
Some of Jennings inefficiencies came from forcing bad shots. With Greg Monroe, Josh Smith and Andre Drummond on his team, Jennings will likely see more open looks as teams will be forced to double off of him to the post at times.
Finally, there is the fact that Brandon Jennings was better at almost every statistic than Brandon Knight last season, the main piece the Pistons surrendered in this trade. Knight was better by .2 rebounds per game and shot .008% points better from the field.
If Jennings is nothing more than a better version of Brandon Knight, then the Pistons got better with this trade. Jennings has star value. At only 23, he is still improving and the Pistons now have him locked up on a favorable contract for the next three years.