Jennings’ Funny Math No Laughing Matter

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — His demeanor has shifted. The smile is gone.

The gravity of what Brandon Jennings and his Milwaukee Bucks are facing, down 3-0 to the defending champion Miami Heat in their first-round playoff series, seems to have set in for the brash young point guard.

That funny math he used to predict the “Bucks in six” has crumbled over the past eight quarters of this series. It’s no longer a laughing matter, not when your season and potentially your career in Milwaukee is potentially coming to an end.

Jennings has vowed to play until the final buzzer in Sunday’s Game 4, hoping to stave off elimination for at least one more games. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that this series is every bit the mismatch most of us thought it would be on paper. And it’s even tougher to avoid the obvious question that will linger between now and free agency for Jennings and the Bucks. Do they stick together after four extremely productive years for Jennings, a restricted free agent at season’s end?

He’s helped the Bucks to the playoffs twice, his rookie season and this one, and he’s shown his many critics that his decision to bypass college for a one-season detour in Italy did nothing to damage his NBA stock. But in a league filled with as diverse and talented a group of point guards as its potentially ever had, where exactly does a player like Jennings fit?

“Great question,” an Eastern Conference general manager said. “His rookie season I felt like he was going to join that group of elite point guards, especially after what he did to the [Atlanta] Hawks during the playoffs. He showed off playmaking skills and scored at will in the postseason, doing things you don’t normally expect from a rookie. And he’s been solid ever since. But I don’t know that he’s moved into that tip tier of point guards. He’s not there, not yet.”

Jennings has averaged an impressive 17.0 points, 5.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 291 career regular season games. Considered more of a scorer than a facilitator, Jennings has proven himself capable of handling both responsibilities for the Bucks. Still, there is some uncertainty about his desire to stick around in Milwaukee during what could be a complete rebuilding situation this summer.

His backcourt mate Monta Ellis can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent this summer. And Samuel Dalembert, Mike Dunleavy, Marquis Daniels, J.J. Redick and Joel Pryzbilla will all be unrestricted free agents this summer.

The Halloween deadline for Jennings and the Bucks to agree on an extension of his rookie contract passed without either side admitting that they were even close to getting something done.

That’s one reason why this series against the Heat is such a showcase event for Jennings. It’s his final platform before free agency to remind the league that he’s a player a franchise can build around. The upset guarantee and his 26-point effort in Game 1 was the ideal buzz and result for Jennings early on.

But he’s managed just 24 points in the two games since the opener, shooting 8-for-30 from the floor and 1-for-14 from beyond the 3-point line. The Heat have stymied the Bucks’ offense late in all three games, eliminating the pick-and-roll as an option for Jennings and Ellis when the game is one the line.

“One of the problems we have with that is our size in the backcourt,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “We’re not a big team. So when they are out there trapping and staying with the ballhandler like that, they are putting a lot of pressure on you, first of all. Secondly, they have good size. It’s easy for me stand up in the huddle and say ‘we’ve got to make a quick pass, we’ve got to move that ball and take advantage of them double teaming.’ But sometimes it’s hard to do. They are flooding the strong side and cutting off passing angles and it makes it difficult to find the right man, the open man, with a pass. It’s usually a cross court pass and those are always dangerous because of their speed and activity.”

This is one of the premier defensive teams in the league we’re talking about in the Heat, who boast quality perimeter defenders in not only LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but also Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Ray Allen.

Chalmers and Cole have taken a particular interest in limiting Jennings, both of them no doubt smarting from the brash attitude and words Jennings has been sure to share with the world.

“They are really getting physical,” Boylan said. “It’s playoff basketball. So there is a lot more contact than in the regular season. And anytime we use any sort of pick-and-rolls, they are double-teaming him and putting pressure on him. That combination is difficult. And they are focused in on both [Jennings] and Monta. They did what they needed to do, be physical, be big and cut off those angles for finding people.”

At 23, Jennings is probably done growing. So there is nothing he can do about that size disadvantage and the fact that the Heat are executing flawlessly in wearing him down. But he has at least 48 minutes left to prove that his skill set can best whatever advantage the opposition brings to the show.

That Bucks in six stuff is obviously history.

Whether or not Jennings’ time with the Bucks is, however, … well, only time will tell.


  1. Pancho22 says:

    I can see Jennings going to the Lakers. He would be a decent piece. He’s definitely an upgrade to steve blake and the other guard who cant shoot to save his life (name not even worth remembering). He’s going to go to a big market team, for sure. He loves the glamour and money.
    I wonder where Eliis will go. He has pure scoring talent. The Bobcats could REALLY use some of that… or the wizards. He would go great will Wall.
    Where do you guys think Eliis and Jennings wil go?

  2. Aaron says:

    Jennings, better yet Buck’s backcourt just need a legitimate big man. Think about what OKC did when they acquired Kendrick Perkins – OKC wanted hustle and muscle at that time considering that they are a young team. I think that’s what the Bucks are missing. Jennings and Ellis are both scorers they’ll have their nights but they can’t do it all.

  3. HeatFansExist says:

    Jennings is a GREAT player, but he must have forgotten that the Heat is the team that, at a point, went 27-0. The Heat isn’t a team to underestimate. (In my opinion) The Heat is the best team in the NBA, but I’m not saying the Bucks are a bad team; they just aren’t better than the Heat.

  4. Black_Legend says:

    I would love to see him at detroit next year…

  5. Go Bucks-take it to them-leave it all out on the floor-fooreeeal!!!

  6. Sacramento Royals 916 says:

    Bucks in 8

  7. tony says:

    Bucks in 7!

  8. Mantautas Jonas says:

    Norris Cole is best perimeter defender in NBA: stripped Kyle Irving and Jennings on drives. Big guys can shoot over Cole, but Cole is too fast for people driving around him. Once Jennings realized Cole could stop him, Jennings became a non-factor. Who would want Jennings with his swag, but lack of determination to become the best? I see NO work ethic in Jennings.

    • jack nicholson cried says:

      avery bradley is the best on ball perimeter defender in the game sorry to burst your bubble

    • jack nicholson cried says:

      but if jennings was on the heat next year you would praise him.funny how lebron had no work ethic in his last few games with the cavs.he wanted out thats why .a league of punks

  9. Shawn Kemp No. 1 says:

    Jennings should go to China

  10. nvicto says:

    lol the heat all day boy.. jennings was dreaming about those 6 games against miami hahaha

  11. danito says:

    lakers need a young piont guard, they should go for him . nash is great but he is old and injured all the time, and cant play defense . we need some young blood, jenning a good fit that can create his own shot.cuz lakers have the best bigs in nba , best player at his position in kobe, a decent sf in meta. they just need a decent piont guard that can defend and a good bench

  12. theholyspectator says:

    jennings is a solid PG in the nba with a lot of room for growth, bucks are a terrible team and for a guy like him he needs more help. im sure all these L’s hes accumulated has given him plenty of experience points,buts its time to take your talents else where..

  13. LeBron iZ DeezD says:

    that boy Jennings just 23… great kid and all with a long bright future ahead…but iz a shame… dat da boi ain’t DEEZD.

  14. Miami x Kid says:

    Jennings is a comedian bring out the brooms

  15. HMH says:

    “But he’s managed just 24 points in the two games since the opener, shooting 8-for-30 from the floor and 1-for-14 from beyond the 3-point line.” Funny thing is, that is Jenning’s typical play at times — the guy is a high-volume, low percentage shooter who doesn’t really understand how to get teammates involved and make them better around him. One GM is not sure whether he’s a top-tier player?! We the fans know he ISN’T!!! Sheesh….

  16. Some Guy says:

    Potentially, this article had a lot of potential potentialities.

  17. beyKrewz says:

    BUCK IN 6!!
    Jennings was right after all.

  18. PistonsFan93 says:

    What a narcissistic attitude man. How are you going to predict YOUR team winning in six games? That’s what he gets for talking meaningless smack. The Bucks will never be better than the Heat so just play your best and finish strong because your season is ending in one more game. “The Bucks in 6 games”. Please……

    • HeatFansDon'tExist says:

      Yeah he should just go out and say, “We will lose in 4.” You have to have some confidence otherwise there’s reason to be in the league. In no way was that talking smack. If anyone else would’ve said something like that nobody would care, but he’s on the Bucks and not some big market team.. They may have done terrible to finish the season, but I didn’t see anybody take their spot in the playoffs. Especially not the Pistons.

  19. W/E says:

    Bucks in 6?!?!? HAHAHAHA time to move to China for Ellis, Jennings and Co..

  20. Mitch says:

    Four productive seasons for Jennings? Struggling to reach 40 percent shooting every season screams inefficient and unsuccessful if you ask me.

  21. slobodan says:

    wait a minute boylan – you have excellent big men who can give the heat lots of hell and all you can say is that the heat stifle your guards and that’s that, no chance to do better, end of story? of course the heat are better at 1 to 3 but they are clearly weaker at 4 and 5 and instead of pushing the ball into paint all that mil is doing is running around the perimeter waiting for jennings and monta to get lose and pour 30 in, each. c’mon. and every single game like that.

    • HeatFansDon'tExist says:

      The reason they lost just about every game they did is because as soon as they’re down they throw up 3s. If they would drive dish it to someone in the paint it would be a different story.

  22. ?????? says:

    You mention all those perimeter defenders and leave out Battier? True, with the Heat’s small ball, he is now defending more PFs, but he is still good when he gives Lebron a break and guards some small forwards. He is obviously better than Allen at least.

  23. Alex says:

    Articles should be edited before they are published. Quality of the content suffers greatly when there are numerous grammatical errors as in the article above. Mr. Smith, please proofread before you post.

  24. Da_Beaver says:

    Trade Jennings to Toronto for Andrea Bargnani

  25. dam says:

    bucks fans exist!?!?

  26. MMMM says:

    BUCKS IN 7


    4-0 MIAMI

  27. Don't give a fuk says:

    jenning shouls sign with L.A

  28. jose says:

    Jenning did not learn the lesson , last year.Indiana , NYK and the Celts ,started talking trash about their chances of beating the HEAT,before or in the middle of their respective confrontations with Miami.
    They all lost . Everybody now knows that when Lebron , The King , get acquainted of those boasting pseudo-predictions, he goes mad , sharp and cruel: You do not want to disturb a Furious King !!
    But Jenning is not aware of that and you see what happens.
    HEAT in six …since, in a week or so… is going to be 4 victories with BUCKs and two more against the Bulls…..

    • lol says:

      celtics talked trash? you didnt watched the playoffs then

      • Floridian says:

        Looks like you are the one did not either watch the games or follow the news. Just one media title for you..

        NBA Playoffs 2012: Watch Rajon Rondo Drop Some Trash Talk on the Miami Heat
        “Rondo’s answer? “Them complaining and crying to the referees in transition…”

      • dd def says:

        and did the celts win that one? i’ll give you a hint: the answer’s no. and they did talk trash. so did the heat. that whole series was rough and tumble. did YOU watch it?

      • HeatFansDon'tExist says:

        At least Rondo tells the truth. Call that trash talk if you want.

    • HeatFansExist says:

      There is more to the Heat than LeBron. He isn’t the only one making shots. Without players such as Chalmers, Miller, and the Birdman (Anderson), they probably wouldn’t have won the championships. Don’t just give the credit to LBJ.

  29. slider821 says:

    Curious to see what Jennings decides to do in free agency. I can see a lot of teams going for him; he’s a smart, young, atheltic pg who has stayed free of major injury. I think he’s ready for something new, which may be a bad thing for the Bucks, given that they traded for JJ and will likely let Monta walk.

  30. Grant says:

    If I was Bucks GM I would let Jennings and Ellis go, or do a sign and trade with both of them. Neither of them shoot a high percentage, are small, aren’t the best locker room guys, commit many turnovers, and are about the most unreliable “stars” going around. Of those free agents I would take JJ if it was reasonable, mike dunleavy and big sam dalembert to backup larry sanders. Spare parts marquis daniels, epke udoh, and ish smith can be used in trades. Sanders, ersan, Henson should be kept. This coming off season should be where an ultimatum is given to Mboute. Either you stay in shape and improve your consistency and outside shot or you can go to. Jim Boylan should not be resigned. I would go after someone like brian shaw or nate mcmillan