MILWAUKEE — Brandon Jennings has put his best foot forward.
Now, it’s out of his hands.
The coaches’ ballots are in as of noon Wednesday and Jennings will find out Thursday if he’s been selected to his first NBA All-Star Game and in the process become Milwaukee’s first All-Star since Michael Redd in 2004.
The All-Star reserves will be announced at 6 p.m. Central on a special pregame show prior to TNT’s usual Thursday night NBA coverage.
“To sum it all up, I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t make it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I did make it, either way,” Jennings said.
The 23-year-old is averaging 18.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, a career-best 5.8 assists and career-best 2.0 steals per game.
Tuesday’s matchup between Jennings and Philadelphia point guard Jrue Holiday was billed as one last chance for two of the best guards in the league to sway coaches to include them on their ballot.
If the head-to-head battle mattered at all, Jennings won decisively. He scored 25 points with seven assists and three steals in a 110-102 Bucks victory, while Holiday had just nine points on 3 of 12 shooting with eight turnovers.
Jennings and Holiday will likely be up against Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Boston’s Paul Pierce and Brooklyn’s Deron Williams for reserve guard spots.
In the NBA, much like the NFL, veterans such as Pierce are hard to beat out. 76ers coach Doug Collins feels both Jennings and Holiday are deserving of making their first All-Star Game.
“To get a decision, you have to knock them out,” Collins said. “When you go to a boxing event, if it is close, usually the king keeps his belt.
“I don’t vote that way. I know as a player I know I wouldn’t want to be kept off the team if I was having a better year than somebody else simply because the guy was a veteran player. As a player, I counted on somebody to give me a chance.”
Jennings thought he was deserving of a spot on the Eastern Conference roster last season but felt Milwaukee’s under-.500 record held him back. Now, the Bucks have a better record than Philadelphia, Boston and Cleveland.
The ballot for coaches has changed this year. They now vote for two reserve guards, three reserve frontcourt players and two wild cards from any position in their conference. The two wild cards certainly increase Jennings’ odds.
“The one thing about Brandon Jennings is he’s playing on a winning team now,” Collins said. “He’s in the playoffs, and his team has a chance to do well. I definitely think he has a great chance to make it.”
Jennings agreed with Collins but won’t be devastated if the news doesn’t go his way.
“This time it’s been different,” Jennings said. “We’ve been winning. I think I’ve answered all the questions so far, but hey, whatever happens, happens.
“We’ll see. To tell you the truth, Thursday will be very interesting. Regardless of what happens, I’m still going to keep playing hard, still going to keep competing because right now we are winning and we’re in a good situation here.”
Other than Jennings, Bucks shooting guard Monta Ellis has a slight chance of making the team. Forward Mike Dunleavy is a leading candidate to be selected for the three-point contest, and rookie forward John Henson could be picked for the Rising Stars Challenge.
Forbes NBA team valuations: According to a story on Forbes.com, NBA teams have grown in value by 30 percent over the last year with the average franchise now worth $509 million.
The New York Knicks are the league’s most valuable team at $1.1 billion, passing the Los Angeles Lakers, who were atop the list last year.
According to Forbes, the Bucks are the least valued franchise in the NBA, worth $312 million. The story says Milwaukee took steps forward despite a $500,000 loss in value due to BMO Harris Bank buying the naming rights to the Bradley Center, as well as the team selling other sponsorships throughout the arena.