Washington Wizards 2017 Season Review: Brandon Jennings

Washington Wizards backup point guard Brandon Jennings was expected to bring sixth man level talent to the team after he signed on March 1. Instead, Jennings revealed that although talented, he never found comfort in his role with the team.

Basic Stats: 23 Games, 3.5 PPG (27.4 FG%, 21.2 3P%), 4.7 APG, 16.3 MPG

Playoff Stats: 13 Games, 2.8 PPG (38.9%, 15.4%), 1.8 APG, 13.7 MPG

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be posting individual player reviews for the guys that ended the season in a Washington Wizards uniform. So far we’ve reviewed:

Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Jason Smith

Tomas Satoransky

Trey Burke

In this post we reviewed the play of Brandon Jennings. While he started the season as the backup point guard to Derrick Rose in New York, he finished his season in Washington backing up another former point guard under Coach John Calipari, John Wall.

Jennings is still known around the league to fans as a shoot first point guard, but his play this season has shown that he’s a somewhat changed man. Looking only at the 23 regular season games, this was the first season in Jennings’ career that he shot less field goal attempts per game (4.6) than he had assists per game (4.7).

Still, watching games, it seemed the stat noted above was more because of Jennings reluctance to shoot when open. Too often he dribbled the ball around the perimeter before making a pass late in the shot clock that led to a poor shot attempt.

The Wizards will put a lot of effort and resources this summer into finding a competent backup point guard for Wall. Much was made of his high minute load this season.

He played the fifth most minutes in the league in the regular season, and in the postseason averaged 39 minutes a game. We saw firsthand that he needs to find a way to be more effective in the fourth quarter. Better bench help will help in this regard.

Jennings did bring a level of toughness to the team, similar to that of Markieff Morris. Rather than show strength, Jennings usually did so through trash talk, pestering, and gesturing, but he certainly got in his opponent’s head.

In his short time in D.C., it seemed like he was ejected in every game he played. Sometimes his ejections got the team motivated, other times it didn’t work out as planned and Washington fell apart, and other times it was simply unnecessary.

He also gave our old friend Javale McGee a nice message.

Defensively, he committed to pressuring the ball at almost every moment. Still, his smaller stature, and lack of defensive instincts hurt the team.

Jennings will now be a free agent, and the likelihood he returns to Washington seems low. He’d probably prefer to play for a team that has more minutes available, and a chance to regain a potential starting role in the future.

In New York, he was able to play starting level minutes with Rose in and out of the lineup, but the chaos of the Knicks was too much for him, and others. One potential landing spot is Chicago. When Rajon Rondo got hurt in the playoffs, the Bulls had no point guards to even remotely hold down the fort.

Since the season has ended, Jennings has joined ESPN’s The Basketball Analogy, mostly to talk about the NBA and sports culture, but he also has told some great anecdotes and stories from his season in New York and Washington.

Wherever Jennings ends up, he will provide veteran leadership, and at this point in his career is aware of his role.

Still, his shooting percentages and lack of playmaking on offense really hampered the Wizards to finish the regular season.

In the playoffs, his shooting percentages returned back to his career numbers, but that still was only 38%. When he was open he was usually no threat, either because of poor shooting percentages or lack of aggressiveness.

I still can’t believe the final regular season FG% of 27.4.

Grade: D+

He’s better than he played in his short time in Washington, and hopefully will help a playoff team next season.