The 3rd Man In

Brandon Jennings is Not Worth the Hassle

From Compton, California, an athletic six foot one point guard, Brandon Jennings has all of the tools and potential to be great, but he has never lived up to those expectations in the NBA. Though he experienced success early on in his basketball career, it has not transferred into the pro game, and now he has also been reported to be a cancer in the locker room. This brings up the question whether or not the Milwaukee Bucks should resign Brandon Jennings?

Brandon Jennings grew up always being the best player on the court. In high school he transferred to the powerhouse Oak Hill Academy after his sophomore season, and over the course of his two seasons there he become one of the best know high school prospects in the country.

In his senior season he averaged 32.7 points and 7.4 assists, while leading his team to a 41-1 record. His stellar performance earned him some of high school basketball’s most significant awards, including the 2008 Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award, 2007-08 Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia, 2008 Parade Magazine Player of the Year and 2008 EA Sports Player of the Year. His outstanding performance made him the number one ranked high school prospect in the class of 2008 by ESPN.

In the summer of 2006 Jennings had chosen to attend the University of Southern California, but within the following year he changed his mind and instead decided to join the University of Arizona. While this was no surprise since Arizona had great basketball tradition and proven success throughout the years, his next announcement would shock college basketball.

In June 2008, Jennings announced that he was thinking of becoming the first American player to skip college and play basketball professionally overseas. His dreams became reality on July 16, 2008 when he signed a contract to play with Lottomatica Roma of the Italian Lega A, and later a contract with Under Armor to play in the Euroleague. He claimed that this was his best route to gain experience and money until he was eligible to enter the NBA Draft.

Brandon Jennings struggled overseas. He averaged less than 10 points per game, while only adding a couple of rebounds, assists and steals in each contest with both teams he played for. His time spent overseas, was a disaster. He was unable to carry his success from the high school game into the pros, ultimately questioning whether or not he could be successful in the NBA.

The 2009 NBA Draft, ended up becoming a success for Jennings. Although he was not the top overall pick, he was still a lottery pick, being selected tenth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.

In his rookie season, Jennings took Milwaukee by surprise. During his NBA regular season debut on October 30 Jennings was just shy of a triple-double, scoring 17 points with nine rebounds and assists in 34 minutes. While his debut was impressive, scoring 55 points against the Golden State Warriors on November 14, had to be his biggest accomplishment of his rookie season. He went on to lead the Milwaukee Bucks into the playoffs as the sixth seed. Even though the playoffs did not go the way the Bucks had hoped, the future was bright for the young star.

His sophomore season did not go as planned. While he did record his first career triple double on October 30, 2010, he was forced to miss 19 games in late December, through the end of January due to a left foot injury. While his stats remained similar to his rookie season, he did struggle shooting from behind the arc shooting a dismal 32 percent compared to his 37 percent the year before. The Bucks failed to make the postseason, but the expectations were still high for Jennings.

The lockout shortened season, 2011-12, was the best season of his young career. He started all 66 games while recording career highs in points (19.1), steals (1.6), field goal percentage (.418) and minutes per game (35.3). While Jennings had the best season of his pro career, the Bucks missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, and were still waiting for him to have that break out season; everyone knew he was capable of.

The Milwaukee Bucks made the playoffs in 2012-13, even though they had a record below .500, but it was not because of Brandon Jennings. He experienced a disappointing season after the 2011-12 season where he experience career highs in almost everything, causing many people to believe that this would finally be Jennings breakout year. He averaged only 17.5 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game. Not only was he disappointing on the court, but people close to the team speculated that he was a poor locker room guy.

Brandon Jennings is now a restricted free agent and currently has not received an offer from any team. The Milwaukee Bucks have made it known that Jennings is not their first choice. Earlier in the offseason the Bucks made an offer that was later matched by the Atlanta Hawks to point guard, Jeff Teague. They also drafted point guard Nate Wolters and acquired point guard Luke Ridnour from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Bucks are still waiting for Jennings to have a break out season and if he is truly a cancer in the locker room, it is neither worth the time nor money to bring him back. This upcoming year will be a rebuilding season for the Bucks, and it is time to let the young guys play and develop. While Jennings is full of talent, his performance and attitude throughout his short career, show no signs of him ever becoming a franchise point guard.

Although Jennings has all the talent to become an elite point guard, he has been unable to reach his potential. With Jennings poor attitude and struggles on the court it would benefit both the Bucks and Jennings to let him move onto another team, and try to reach his potential with them.

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