brandon-jennings

Pistons get Jennings, corner market on ill-advised jumpers


It's been a busy summer for Joe Dumars in Detroit.  He has re-shaped the Pistons franchise without giving up either of his up-and-coming big men in Andre Drummond or Greg Monroe, or the expiring contracts of Charlie Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey.

When he couldn't pry Rajon Rondo from the Celtics, Dumars moved to Milwaukee, where he secured the services of Brandon Jennings in a sign-and-trade deal. 

The drawn-out saga of restricted free agent guard Brandon Jennings ended Tuesday, as the Milwaukee Bucks agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Detroit Pistons to send Jennings there in exchange for guard Brandon Knight and forwards Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtsov.

Jennings, taken 10th overall in the 2009 Draft, will get a three-year, $24 million contract from Detroit. He becomes the Pistons' starter next season, with veteran Chauncey Billups returning to the team where he was the 2004 NBA Finals MVP to serve as a backup. Detroit selected rookie shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in this year's Draft, and signed forward Josh Smith from Atlanta for four years and $54 million.

The Pistons will likely trot Jennings out in a starting five that includes Chauncey Billups, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond.  That's not bad.  But in Jennings and Smith, the Pistons have acquired two of the most notoriously misguided mid-range shooters in the league.  

Neither Jennings nor Smith have ever shot better than 39% from 16-23 feet (via Hoopdata).  But both love to shoot those shots.  A couple of weeks ago, SB Nation's Coach Nick put together a pretty damning breakdown of Jennings' game. 

Jennings has had some spectacular games over his short career, but his game isn't necessarily built to elevate the play of others right now.  In Smith, the Pistons have a player who can help form a nasty defensive front-line, but will only add to the questionable decisions on the offensive end. 

This may make it a little less surprising that the Pistons are still open to trading for Rondo, a pass-first point guard who happens to be best friends with Smith.  Doing so would move Jennings to the 2, where, while being a little too small for the position, he could potentially be a little happier as shooter.  

That's probably very unlikely unless the Pistons give up Monroe or Drummond.  So they'll go with Jennings as the guy at the point.  He'll improve the team on many nights, and on some, he'll be a problem.  Pistons fans who have been used to not liking what they see on the floor may still be screaming at their TV's when Jennings launches an off-balance three with too much time on the shot clock, but they'll win a few more games with him at the helm.  

At this point, the Pistons are one of the teams in the mix for the fight for the sixth-seventh-eighth seed.  They're in a tough division, though.  The Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls are considered contenders at the moment, and the Cleveland Cavaliers could be tough if Andrew Bynum pans out.  Detroit will have a tough time fighting for one of those low seeds as the third or fourth best team in their division.  

Still, they're better suited to do so now than they were when the season ended.  The Pistons will be nothing if not interesting.  They'll also be a bit frustrating for their fans, but at least they'll be frustrating with a better record than they've had the past few years.

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