ST. FRANCIS, Wis.- The season opened with a tremendous challenge for Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings.
Celtics All Star point guard Rajon Rondo on Friday and then the reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving on Saturday.
The league took note of Jennings’ performance against two of the best the NBA has to offer, naming him the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week.
It’s the second player of the week honor in Jennings’ career, with the first coming in his rookie season following his 55 point outburst against Golden State.
Jennings scored 21 points, dished out 13 assists and grabbed six steals in Friday’s 99-88 victory in Boston and followed up with 13 assists Saturday and hit a buzzer beating three-pointer to give the Bucks a 105-102 victory over Cleveland.
The Bucks point guard leads the league in assists per game (13.0) and is tied for the league lead in steals per game (4.0).
“Just keep it going,” Jennings said following Monday’s practice at the Cousins Center. “At the same time it’s still humbling to be player of the week out of the whole Eastern Conference, with all the great players that are in the Eastern Conference. I just have to keep it going, bring the intensity and keep playing smart.”
Both performances were impressive in their own ways. Friday showed Jennings’ scoring ability, as well as his ability to drive the paint and find open teammates. Saturday, while struggling offensively, Jennings didn’t force his shot, instead facilitated the offense and still had the confidence to take the shot at the end.
“He’s had a big impact on both games,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “That’s a step you always hope young guys take that they can play well whether they are scoring or not and they have an impact on the game whether they are scoring or not. He’s done that for sure in the first two games.”
Jennings admitted that with more help on the offensive end, he feels like he doesn’t have to do everything for the Bucks offense and can be more of a facilitator.
His teammates have taken notice.
“Right now he’s just playing basketball,” Bucks guard Monta Ellis said. “He’s just taking what the defense gives him. If he’s not having a good game offensively, he finds his teammates.
“With this team here, he doesn’t have to do too much to try and do it himself. We have a lot of veteran guys who understand the game. It’s more of a team concept than anything.”