Jennings needs to deemphasize shooting

If you look at Brandon Jennings box score line against the Atlanta Hawks, it looks sickly.  He was 1-for-5 for 3 points in 26 minutes.  Actually, he had a nice game.

How?  Pretty much the way he’s been adding value to the Bucks all season — defense.  People have yet to recognize what an excellent defender the young man is.  But I have the evidence.  Jennings defensive impact is demonstrable. 

While he was on the court Sunday, the Atlanta Hawks point guards were actually counterproductive.  And, doing the MWS48 stats for every game, I see a similar thing time and time again.  When Jennings is on the court, opposing point guards get much, much less done than when the Bucks feature any other point guard.  

The problem with Jennings is, he imagines himself to be a great scorer.  He’s not.  He’s a decent shooter from 3 point range, but not from anywhere else.  Particularly not from inside. 

According to, Jennings field goal percentage “at the rim” is 39.7%.  That is last on the Bucks, and well below the NBA average of 60.0%. 

Basically, at this point, Jennings is a bad shooter.  But, he feels (or hopefully “felt”) it was his duty to take shots.  That basically killed his win impact.  At the moment he has a respectable MWS48 of -0.25.  Imagine what it could be if he wasn’t constantly shooting himself in the foot with his 5-for-18 shooting performances. 

Maybe we are about to find out what it could be.  With the arrival of John Salmons and Jerry Stackhouse, there is no reason at all for Jennings to continue his high volume shooting.  None, zero, zilcho.  

Jennings should pare his game down to a modified “Rajon Rondo” where he is concentrating on defense, rebounding, and setting up teammates for scores.  If he does that he will no doubt hear the idiot banter about his scoring reduction, but he will help the Milwaukee Bucks immensely.

13 Responses to “Jennings needs to deemphasize shooting”

  1. Max Says:

    I have a question about Brandon Jennings. Is there any way statistically to take into account how the offense as a whole performs w/ him as opposed to Ridnour running the point. I say this because, despite Ridnour’s infinitely better shooting, the offense seemed much less fluid and dangerous when he was running the show at the end of the Hawks game; basically we had 3 offensive plays, Ridnour pulls up for a long jumper, Bogut is given the ball in the post, and Salmons goes iso. Now I agree that +/- is voodoo, but I must concur w/ some Jennings supporters that he runs the Bucks offense very well, and it languished w/o him vs a good defensive team in the hawks.

    • tywill33 Says:

      Hang on. I’ll reply in a bit. I’m really swamped with files. The short answer is that assists normally quantify that. Also, I checked the popcorn machine, and in the Atlanta game the Bucks were +5 with Rid on the court and I believe -9 with Jennings on the court, so that can sometimes be a mirage.

      More in a bit.

  2. Palamida Says:

    Couple of things:
    To be fair Ty, the league avg. “at the rim” is indeed 60% but PG convert at 56%. Jennings is still awful but I thought it was worth noting.
    You say that Vs. The Hawks when he was on the court the opposing PG’s were counterproductive. Where do you get that data from? 82games have the whole enchilada but you broke it down per game. re you just assuming, or do u have some kind of parser for game logs?
    And as for Rondo by his 4th season Rondo is a complete player, nothing to “pare down to”: he converts at a better then avg. Efg% (compared to other Pg’s and it’s not like he hardly take shots: he takes about 92% FGA as the avg. Pg (while converting at a better clip, mind u).
    That’s that, but I really wanna know how u gather ur data, get back to me on that please.

    • tywill33 Says:

      He is lowest on the team, and I’ll check but I would think near lowest even among PGs. Ridnour does better, and he isn’t exactly a “closer” at the rim.

  3. Palamida Says:

    Dude, i know he’s the lowest on the team! i’m the one that pointed out that he’s 3rd from last in overall shooting eff. in the entire league. I know. I was just saying that u need to compare his “at the rim” % with other PG’s and not with the global league average. BTW check out his monthly splits: 36.5% “ATR” in Jan and 29.5! in Feb. if it wasn’t for his 44% start he’d be breaking some kind of record, lol. Also his 3pt% may be in the 37% vicinity but it’s misleading:
    Nov – 50% ; Dec – 31.3 – Jan 36%; Feb 31.2%. Except for that Nov in which he was stellar- he’s been poor in this regard as well.

    • tywill33 Says:

      Sorry! I was victimized by my own “quick check” technique (I can only see the first ten or so words on the dashboard, and I try to guess where the comment is going).

  4. Jerble Says:

    [This is my second attempt. My e-mail blew up the first time and I don’t know what happened to it. Maybe you already got it?? But it was incomplete.]

    If you think Jennings is “decent” from three, why not recommend he take threes?

    He is also good at 1-pointers (free throws).

    Problem is, if he doesn’t take twos, how is he to get fouled?

    Milwaukee is a good offensive rebounding team. So when he puts up 2-point clangers, they aren’t just Missed Shots. They are Offensive Rebounding Opportunities (OReOs)! It would be interesting to see what his “effective” FG% would be if the OReO effect was taken into account.

    • Palamida Says:

      RE: Jerble
      I think that’s a bit of faulty logic u have going on there, i’ll try to explain myself:
      Sure all PG’s in the NBA drive to the basket. the basic premise is that “driving” is good since it forces the defense to react once you’ve beaten ur man off the dribble. That’s when the PG skills are put the test. Can he make good decisions consistently? can he dish to a good outside shooter whose open? can he find the open cutter in traffic? can he finish? some Pg’s do better at certain aspects than others but the elite ones are at least “sufficient” in all and excel in others, otherwise they will be relatively easy to defend.
      The avg. PG in the NBA (mind u that’s including the 2nd and 3rd string PG’s) records 4.3 Fta per 48 min. Jennings is a somewhat better than that at 5.1.
      Now i’ll address ur argument: Does Jennings HAVE to take 2pt shots in order to get to the stripe? the answer is simple… yes! but so does every other PG in the League! most Pg’s in the league, especially the starters, get to the line as often if not more while converting at a significantly better %.
      so here’s the deal: Jennings was selected with the 10th overall picks. certain pundits and “national experts” even argued that he should have gone higher.
      He himself refused to go to the “green room” when he didn’t get assurances he’ll be a lottery pick. nothing in his European stint suggested he’ll be an above average win producer at the NBA level and still almost everyone believed he was going to be one. I’m not saying Jennings is a bad basketball player (even the 12th man of an NBA team is very talented). and he is young and probably will reach average production at some point. The problem is people STILL believe he’s what they thought he was (for no good reason) before the draft. Eventually he’s going to be overpaid and then (especially in a hard cap situation) he will hold his team back. Even Bogut, the team’s real star believes Jennings is doing a great job. I don’t. If The bucks were indeed a good Oreb team it would only mean they’d be “harmed” marginally less by Jennings abysmal shooting than an inferior Oreb team would. They would however, benefit more if they had a truly productive PG who isn’t 3rd from last in the league. BTW the bucks take 26.25 Oreb per 100 possessions which is exactly the league average.
      In summation if you look at the % of possessions ending in Assists (possesions-FGA-FTA-TO basically) you will find that Brandon is below the PG average (Per min) in that regard. Since we established that he doesn’t get to the line that often, and that his fg% is poor (he does turn the ball over less frequently than avg) now we know that he doesn’t dish as well as some folks would have us think. u can see that in the end, we’re not left with much of a prospect, at least not offensively (which is considered, wrongfully, to be his strong suite). As Ty mentioned he does seem to be adequate defensively but again – it doesn’t amount to much overall. As long as he’s on his rookie salary and assuming some improvement during that stretch he can be somewhat useful to the Bucks. If they make the mistake of extending his tenure say… 7.5M a season? they’ll be making a grave mistake.
      Oh and yeah, a miss can lead to an Oreb but If u ever get the position of head coach in the NBA I would recommend you’d recommend ur players to make shots 🙂

  5. Ryan Says:

    Palamida, you should get a Bucks page of your own going. It’s clear you do a lot of thinking about the team and have some fresh perspectives. Under 40% in the paint sucks no matter what.

    I can’t front any more, we’re hanging in there into March. So if Skiles really wants to play Stackhouse 21 mpg in his 20 games, ask Stack to iso 4 plays in a row, you know, whatever, I’m excited to be along for the ride.

    The 3s keep the Bucks in it many nights. 3% ranking: Stack, Bell, Ridnour, Jennings, Mbah a Moute, Ilyasova, Delfino, Salmons.

    • tywill33 Says:


      Don’t send good writers away! Palamida (or BadgerBucco or anyone with chops) could contribute to this blog! Lord knows I’d appreciate the help… I do the best I can, but there’s only so much I can do.


  6. Dave Says:

    Since the arrival of Salmons Jennings has been doing what TY suggest he do. Jennings all season has needed other scorers to defer to but had few takers.

    Now with Stack and JS, Jennings scroing has gone down, but his 8 assist 0 turnovers two games ago is an example of the excellent job “overall” Jennings has done growoing into that position.

    He is a team guy that will take and hit the big shot. He and Bogut are becoming a nice pair.

    • tywill33 Says:

      The Salmons trade seems to have set off a daisy chain of happy consequences, hasn’t he? His play, Bell to the bench, a reigned-in Jennings…

  7. Palamida Says:

    re: ryan
    Appreciate the feedback, I know I comment at a length that’s well… uncommon but I think fast and write fast so it’s all good 🙂
    Glad someone reads it – to me that’s the whole point of he blogsphere in general. I really dig Ty’s work and perspective and I like to comment here because I figure aside from him, the readers of this blog are probably at a much higher likelihood will be interested in what I have to say and I in what they have to say. For the record i’m not a Bucks fan myself in fact I’m not a fan of any particular franchise :p
    I do find myself rooting for the Bucks in this playoff race and Charlotte to finish 8th (what can I say – I love me a good defense) and I think the Bucks will get it done (not so sure about the Bobcats).
    I also fancy the defensive minded Charlotte whose brass really tried to be competitive this season, unlike many other clubs. (Since Chandler wasn’t really healthy this season, one can only wonder how this club would have fared with Okafor this season).
    Having won the season series with the Cavs and after I watched their last showdown last week, I think they’re a first round opponent the Cavs dread and for good reason. Charlotte has been a powerhouse at home. G. Wallace is well equipped to slow LBJ down (and that’s all u ask can for against him) Tyrus Thomas is a beast and is finally motivated making him a great addition; I predict that series to be an enjoyable one.
    So…. go Bobcats and Bucks!

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