Jennings eager for a chance to adapt in Detroit

Brandon Jennings can hardly wait to take the court alongside
Detroit’s athletic big men.

”I guess you can say we can bring the `Lob City’ to Detroit
this year,” Jennings said.

That’s quite a boast, considering the Pistons have missed the
playoffs for four straight seasons, but if there was one thing
Jennings tried to make clear Tuesday, it was that he will
absolutely look to pass the ball a bit more than he did in
Milwaukee. Detroit acquired Jennings from the Bucks last week,
hoping the new point guard can be an important part of an extensive
offseason overhaul.

The Pistons also signed forward Josh Smith and guard Chauncey
Billups. They traded guard Brandon Knight in the deal for
Jennings.

It was a flurry of moves that, at the very least, has people
around Detroit talking about the Pistons again. How it will look on
the court is anyone’s guess – and Jennings’ job will be to help
this group become a cohesive unit.

”This year I think you’re going to see a whole different
player, just with all the talent that I have around me, the
veterans that are in the locker room,” Jennings said. ”Now I can
just actually be myself and be who I was five years ago, when I was
in high school, playing AAU basketball.”

The 23-year-old Jennings seems well aware of some of the knocks
against him. He shot 40 percent from the field last season, easily
the worst mark in the NBA for any player who took over 1,200 shots.
Of course, he also averaged a career-high 6.5 assists per game.

”I definitely have to change my game for this team, for my
teammates, everybody to be successful,” Jennings said. ”The
things that I was doing in Milwaukee, I won’t have to do here –
take all those bad shots.”

The Bucks made the playoffs last season with a 38-44 record.
Detroit was nine games worse, and the Pistons made a coaching
change this offseason, bringing in Maurice Cheeks to replace
Lawrence Frank.

Talented big man Greg Monroe is still only 23, and 6-foot-11
Andre Drummond turns 20 on Saturday. That’s what Jennings is
talking about when he says the Pistons have a bright future and
teammates he’ll enjoy playing with.

Detroit added Smith, a 6-foot-9 forward who averaged 17.5 points
for Atlanta last season. The question now is how well he’ll mesh
with the other frontcourt players – and what Jennings and Billups
can add to the backcourt. Drummond was at Tuesday’s news
conference, when Jennings was introduced.

”It’s like I got drafted all over again,” Drummond said. ”I’m
walking into a new situation, a new coaching staff, a new bunch of
players.”

It’s certainly an exciting time for a franchise that has not had
many of them lately. Detroit’s rebuilding process has been slow.
First, Tom Gores became the team’s new owner in 2011 following a
drawn-out sale. Over the next couple years, the Pistons parted ways
with Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince, giving
themselves flexibility.

It felt for a while like this would be the offseason when
Detroit’s patience might finally turn into action – when the
Pistons would put some of their salary cap space to use and be
aggressive in the trade market. That’s exactly what’s happened, and
although it’s hard to say where this lineup ranks in the Eastern
Conference, nobody can accuse Detroit of standing pat.

Team President Joe Dumars doesn’t anticipate any more major
changes, so all that’s left now is the waiting.

”I do feel like the roster that we have right now is a roster
that can compete for the playoffs,” Dumars said. ”I don’t foresee
us doing any more big moves.”