Feb 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Brandon Jennings (3) reacts after defeating the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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The Washington Wizards got off to a bumpy start after the All-Star break. But with their recent acquisitions, the Wizards look like they are primed for a breakthrough.
The Washington Wizards hit a bit of a slump after the All-Star break. They lost their second game in the month of February to the Philadelphia 76ers 120-112 on the 24th. They followed that game up with another loss,102-92, to the Utah Jazz.
Since then, they’ve bounced back with two victories. They’ve allowed more than100 points in three of the last four games. But with new players being inserted in the rotation, the defense as well as the bench, is coming along nicely.
In the team’s road victory over the Toronto Raptors on March 1, the Wizards won 105-96. Surprisingly, the Raptors starters outscored the Washington starters 64-60, but it didn’t matter. The Wizards bench outscored Toronto’s 45-32.
The team is still 36-23 and one game ahead of Toronto for third in the Eastern Conference.
Recently acquired forward Bojan Bogdanovic scored 27 points off the bench, going 6-for-7 from the three-point arc. With another matchup with the Raptors looming at home on March 3, they’ll add point guard Brandon Jennings to the mix.
While some critics think Jennings wouldn’t work, point guard John Wall doesn’t mind his style of play. Jennings hasn’t been bad in his eight NBA seasons, averaging 14.8 points, 5.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game in his career.
The past few seasons for him have been a bit rocky. But with an opportunity on the Wizards to be on a playoff team, fans could see a more polished version of Brandon Jennings.
Dec 9, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (3) dribbles the ball past Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. The Knicks defeated the Kings 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
3. Jennings will allow John Wall to close out games
The acquisition of Brandon Jennings will give the Washington Wizards a quality backup point guard to spell point guard John Wall. Wall is averaging 36.7 minutes per game, but only 7.6 minutes in the fourth quarter.
Compare that to point guard Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, who is averaging 10.5 minutes per game in the final period, and the issue is quite clear. The Wizards need Wall on the court to finish games. With Jennings in the fold, it allows Wall to get proper rest.
With a veteran like Jennings, the bench could become a lot more reliable in his hands. He also gives the Wizards another guard to distribute the ball next to Wall if Bradley Beal gets in early foul trouble.
The move also allows rookie Tomas Satoransky to play his natural position at the off-guard position.
Feb 12, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (3) passes around San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
2. Jennings can still be a solid ball distributor on the right team
Brandon Jennings can still be a solid distributor on the right team, and hopefully the Wizards are the right team. During Jennings’ fifth season, his first with the Detroit Pistons, he averaged 15.5 points and 7.6 assists, starting 79 of 82 games.
Despite the Pistons’ 29-53 record during that season, Jennings still managed to post positive numbers. With the Wizards, Jennings brings playmaking ability when the floor is spread with shooters.
With the likes of center Jason Smith and forward Kelly Oubre Jr. on the floor, Jennings will have unselfish teammates who want to win around him. With that being said, it’s hard to see him ruining any type of chemistry the Wizards have already established.
Center Ian Mahinmi is playing the backup center position superbly as well since returning from injury.
Jennings still has playmaking ability. On a playoff team like the Wizards, he’ll be able to show he’s still a quality NBA player.
Nov 22, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (3) reacts during the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
1. Jennings and Bojan Bogdanovic can be a lethal bench combo
Brandon Jennings is a point guard that brings swagger and attitude to a Wizards bench struggling statistically in every category. Since adding forward Bojan Bogdanovic, the Wizards are just 2-2, but Bogdanovic has still found his offense.
The third-year forward is averaging 15.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game. But based on his last performance where he shot 9-for-12 from the floor and 6-for-7 from three, he can also create a lot on his offense.
With Scott Brooks‘ coaching prowess and Jennings ability to improvise, the pieces of the puzzle should fit nicely with Bogdanovic on the floor. He has the ability to space out and get open shots at anytime, as evidenced by his 27-point outburst against Toronto.
Without the ball in his hands, he’ll be allowed to do more than just score.