Shootaround: A quiet confidence

Milwaukee Bucks (9-9) vs. Brooklyn Nets (11-7)
6 p.m.

Brandon Jennings has not always been quiet in his career. His career started a year early as he and Sonny Vaccaro launched an aggressive and surprising move to go to Italy instead of play the obligatory year in college. Jennings' gunner style did not quite fit Euroleague and it caused him to slip in the Draft some.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/ZimbioA good rookie year followed by an inconsistent sophomore year left him without a contract extension this offseason and entering a contract year.

Jennings has changed from those early days though and he is playing a much different game now. It is much more measured now. But Jennings can still gun when he needs to and has had some solid performances so far this season. His scoring numbers are down (although he is shooting the ball better than he did last year) but his assist rate is better than 28 percent, his best since his rookie season.

More importantly, the Bucks are playing surprisingly well at .500 so far this season.

Going into Brooklyn will not be an easy task for Milwaukee. The Nets have established a strong home court presence and have played extremely well. The Bucks could realistically play a good game and still come up on the short end. But they remain one of the surprises this season and the development of Jennings' point guard skills have been a big part of that.

The Nets are a big and burly team and that will give Larry Sanders and the Bucks' big men a challenge if this game bogs down. But Milwaukee is not a team to sleep on.

Other Storylines to Watch

-Reggie Evans is having a strong season already. He does nto score much still but his rebounding has been among the best in the NBA. On a per-40 minute basis, Evans trails only Varejao in rebounds per game. Impressive for a veteran who rarely gets stats to show his worth.

-So what about Monta Ellis? Also in a contract year, Ellis is averaging 18.4 points per game but is shooting only 38.9 percent from the floor. While Milwaukee has been winning a fair amount this year, Ellis has struggled to contribute to it as expected.

Tonight's Other Games

Toronto Raptors (4-16) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (13-6)
3:30 p.m.

Andrea Bargnani has been at the center of some trade rumors as Toronto continues its disappointing season. The Raptors are disappointing and Bryon Colangelo has put some of the blame on himself. But the former No. 1 pick from Italy has not been performing or developing as the Raptors expected or needed to make god on the Playoff dreams.

Indiana Pacers (10-10) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (16-4)
7 p.m.

The Pacers were supposed to be joining the Thunder. Well somewhat. Danny Granger is not Kevin Durant and Roy Hibbert is not Russell Westbrook. Instead Indiana was a good young team, committed to defense and able to work together. That has not been the case this season with Granger out so far and Hibbert trying to figure out how to be the team's go-to option. George Hill has stepped up recently to take that burden and so maybe Indiana is turning things around.

Denver Nuggets (10-10) vs. New York Knicks (14-5)
7 p.m./NBATV

Corey Brewer won two national championships at Florida but has bounced around the league in his young career. Stints with Minnesota, Houston and Dallas precluded his time in Denver. But Brewer has begun to found a home and carved out a role in the Mile High City. That could be coming to an end as the rumor mill starts to churn. Brewer could be a valuable asset for the Nuggets as they look to improve their team.

Orlando Magic (7-12) vs. Phoenix Suns (7-14)
8 p.m.

The Suns are on a big losing skid right now as the young team is still trying to figure out how to play together and establish a rotation. At one point this season, Luis Scola was coming off the bench. Then came Michael Beasley off the bench. There have been some surprises (including the injured P.J. Tucker) and some great play from players on this young team. But no doubt, any posteason hopes come down to getting Scola, Beasley, Marcin Gortat and Goran Dragic to play better together.

Utah Jazz (11-10) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (9-11)
9:30 p.m.

The Jazz set some pretty high marks in a blowout win over Toronto. And it was done without Derrick Favor or Al Jefferson. Paul Millsap and the Jazz provided some pretty potent offense. Of course, the Raptors are not the best team in the league and it came at home. The Lakers should provide a stiffer challenge. But Utah is playing with confidence right now.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

Quantcast