Jennings has been carrying Bucks on his back
MILWAUKEE – It's been a tough start for the Milwaukee Bucks this season, but one bright spot has certainly been the play of Brandon Jennings.
The third-year point guard led the team with 27 points Thursday night in a 102-93 victory over Detroit. That effort comes on the heels of a 15-point, 11-assist outing in a 106-103 victory Tuesday over San Antonio.
"I thought he made good decisions with the ball, and for the most part shot when he should have shot it," head coach Scott Skiles said.
For the year, Jennings is averaging 15.3 points and 6.3 assists and is shooting 42 percent from the field through10 games. That his shot is falling a little more regularly – though admittedly not frequently enough – is an encouraging sign.
Jennings shot just 39 percent from the floor last season. This year, he’s up to 41 percent, but has been much more selective, especially from beyond the three-point arc.
In his last two games, Jennings is 16 for 28 from the field and 4 for 5 on three-point attempts.
Helping his cause is the number of scorers on the court. The addition of Stephen Jackson and a healthy Andrew Bogut has given Jennings more freedom to create for his teammates and allow him to be more selective with his own shots.
During the lockout, Jennings got some friendly advice from two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, who told him the most important part of being a good NBA point guard is to create plays, especially down the stretch.
As he played in various exhibitions in preparation for the end of the lockout, Jennings took the advice to heart.
"That's something I worked on really hard during the summer, making plays when it counted," Jennings said, "Not always shooting it, but just making plays for everybody and getting the best possible shot."
Jennings' playing time has increased of late due to Beno Udrih's shoulder injury. He played 39 minutes Thursday and is averaging 37.7 for the season. With a condensed schedule, Skiles would like to see that number decrease a bit in the near future.
"We want to win as many games as we can," Skiles said. "We're also trying not to play anyone into the ground this early in the season. With Beno out, we lack a little depth there, and (Jennings) knows he's going to have to play some more minutes. But he's been very good."
Skiles has long been pleased with Jennings' work ethic and desire to improve in all aspects of the game. He sees that work paying off, especially through these first 10 games.
"He's trying to learn a difficult position," Skiles said. "The art of spreading the ball around and having vision, those are gifts very few people have at a high level. Some people have them in the middle of the road and have to work at it. He's working through a lot of things."
Before the lockout, Jennings and Skiles spent extensive time working on his game. Skiles' career as a point guard has long been a benefit in Jennings' development.
"I think the work that me and Scott Skiles put in during the summertime is starting to show a little bit, so my confidence is real high," Jennings said.