Why Is Jennings Still Unsigned?

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By Jonathan Hartzell, NBA.com

It’s been more than three weeks since the beginning of the 2013 NBA free agency period and Brandon Jennings is still without a team.  The streaky point guard is not only unsigned, but also unmentioned, as there have been few reports of any teams interested in his services.  This must be startling for Jennings who reportedly turned down a four-year, $40 million extension prior to last season, but it makes sense when you realize how little he’s recently provided the Milwaukee Bucks.

Coach Nick of BBallBreakdown simply laid out the problems with Jennings in a video released a few days ago. It’s startling to watch Jennings’ inability to finish with his right hand, play defense and run a productive offense for the Bucks. But it’s not that he lacks talent. This is the same player who torched the Golden State Warriors for 55 points in only his seventh game in the league. The same player who was one of only nine players in the NBA to average more than 17 points and 6.5 assists last season. And he’s only 23 years old!

Brandon Jennings Shot Chart

Brandon Jennings shot chart 2012-13.

But this is where the problems arise. The numbers mentioned above look gaudy and impressive if you ignore the fact that he only shot 39.9 percent from the field while putting them up. He hoisted up almost 16 shots per game last season and shot below 40 percent in 45 of his games. A team simply can’t win when their point guard shoots them out of so many contests.

And his problems on offense make his problems on defense ever more worrisome. Where can he benefit his team? The Bucks scored three less points and gave up 9.7 more points per 100 possessions when Brandon Jennings was on the floor last season, according to NBA.com/stats. Those are staggering splits for any player, but especially for a player who is determined to be the face of a franchise.

In addition to Jennings’ below-average play, he has also been hurt by his status as a restricted free agent. Similar to Nikola Pekovic of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who is also unsigned and restricted, teams are reluctant to make an offer to a restricted free agent like Jennings as his original team holds all of the power. If an opposing team signs Jennings to a low offer sheet, then the Bucks have three days to match and the opposing team has helped them out. If an opposing team signs Jennings to a high offer sheet, then the Bucks don’t match and the opposing team now has a point guard who can’t shoot for the next four years at a high price. If he were unrestricted, Jennings certainly would have been signed by now as there are very few 23-year-old, “starting” point guards on the market.

Unfortunately for Jennings, he is restricted and the Milwaukee Bucks seem completely ready to move on from the flashy point guard. The Bucks additions of Luke Ridnour, Carlos Delfino, and Zaza Pachulia this offseason signal the organization’s attempt to change their culture. They look ready to build around young big men Larry Sanders and John Henson and the return of Jennings could impede their transformation.

But all signs point towards Jennings accepting the Bucks’ one-year, $4.5 million qualifying offer as he may have no other options. This allows Jennings to play wherever he wants in 2014-15 and his Milwaukee return next season gives the Bucks a valuable trade asset at the February trade deadline. Most importantly for Jennings, the qualifying offer would allow him to prove he can be a productive player in the league. As this offseason has shown, Jennings hasn’t convinced many in the league of that yet.

49 Comments

  1. Breezy says:

    I jus think its funny how you guys are saying his not a good player. Jennings avg. 17ppg and 6+ast a game on a really bad team.6+ ast a game on a team where there best other scoring option was Monta Ellis who shoots all jumpers, doesn’t slash to basket and basically a ball stopper one on one player, where mbah- a -mute was your starting SF.. sheesh no other players on that team scored even get to 20ppg other than Jennings and Ellis, so when u know there only two players who can score basically u focus on them n let the other players try to beat you and u live and die with that strategy so yea he had to shoot a lot because with the scoring the be down and out of a lot of games… Btw the coaching was god awful who was there coach I know his name but seriously who was he.. Just picture Jennings on a structured team with good players who actually run plays rockets, Lakers, grizzles, bulls etc… He easily do 19ppg 8ast and shoot 45-50%.B.T.W I’m not a Bucks fan so I’m not bias and I do think Henson, and Sanders will b dominate low post defenders and all-star tandem for a while if they build around them

  2. Bob says:

    The Bucks were Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings with the green light to shoot whenever they wanted. I think Brandon is getting some bad advice. The extension was a good extension because there are so many talented PG’s. (That was mentioned in earlier posts).
    Jennings is fun to watch and has a lot of “highlight reel” in him. He will develop in time. The Bucks gave a nice offer and Brandon wants to play somewhere else. If he steps up and starts hitting a higher percentage of shots and sets up some teammates, he is going to be fantastic.

  3. caloyski says:

    SEKOU, YOU ARE REALLY BIASED–AGAIN YOU ERASED MY COMMENTS THAT IS CONTRADICTORY TO YOUR TRADITIONAL WISDOM– BE BROAD -MINDED AND FAIR!

  4. Pau Gasol says:

    isnt he the player who guaranteed they will win against the mighty heat? what happened next? hahaha all talk deserve the veterans minimum at most or thrown to the dleague.

  5. Laker22256724 says:

    Lakers would teach him well with mentors kobe and nash

  6. sergio says:

    @ben Z

    i m sorry but Tony Parker must be on top of your list. From all the name you have listed he is the only who has ever been the MVP finals. And actually he is the only one on that list to have reached the finals at least three or four time. He is not well represented in the medias, but on the court he just show up like a superstar.
    Derrick Rose is good but he was only good for 2 seasons and injuries started bringing him down, i hope he ll come back quick and explosive as he was before that injury.
    Chris Paul, is good but doesn t have won enough playoffs series. He really need to reach at least the conference finals, Deron Williams by the time in UTAH usually reached the playoffs with Boozer, but the 2nd round was end of the road.
    Irving, Curry, Wall, Conley, and also Rose and Jenning still have a lot to proove,

  7. marc says:

    i think kobe can teach him a little about being a championship-calibre-scoring machine. yeah!

  8. ben Z says:

    here is my top pg list

    1. derrick rose
    2. tony parker
    3. chris paul
    4. russel westbrook
    5. rajon rondo
    6. kyrie irving
    7. step curry
    8. john wall
    9. deron williams
    10. mike conley

    • bowser says:

      U smoking dope if u think 8 pg in the nba better than d will….john wall is a definite help no along with kyrie Irving who has a host if potential….he deserves to be top 6 proven winner

  9. ben Z says:

    hi their. . . for me i think jennings will be a good fit for the indiana pacer’s. . . with the addition of jennings and the return of granger they will be champion’s. . . they are the 2nd best team in the east last season’s with out granger. . . if the unity is their they will be another team in the east with a tittle

  10. Michael Stoll says:

    Raw talent can be coached, and that’s what Jennings needs. He should sign the one year deal that the Bucks will give him and work hard this season to draw attention to big name teams that are saving money for next years big free agency.

  11. matthew mathis says:

    the lakers could use him get rid of nah and blake they claim to be rebuilding and farmar and jennings are 2 athletic pg that the are young and experienced enough.

  12. Cesar says:

    I wanna see him grow. No he is not the ” Elite ” point guard at the moment. But at 23 years old not every player is. They say he turned down a (4yr 40mil ) contract but I think he’s just putting his trust too much in a bad agent which I believe he let go, who was telling him all the wrong things. Shockingly, I think he ‘s the best player on the Bucks and everybody knows they can’t name no one better even if they hate him. With discipline and without boosting his head the Bucks need to let Jennings know his future is bright. They need to show patients in him so the comfort level with him and the Bucks will be mutual.

  13. Nore says:

    It is pretty simple why jennings has not been signed yet. First things first. he’s not even in my personal top 10 of point guards.

    List goes here:

    1. D. Rose
    2. Russel Westbrook
    3. CP3
    4. D. Will
    5. Rajon Rondo
    6. Steph Curry
    7. Tony Parker
    8. Kyrie Irving
    9. Ty Lawson
    10. George Hill

    Runner Ups: Jeff Teague, Mike Conley, John Wall, Holiday.

    You see – he’s at best no. 15 on my list.

    Why did i even told you my personal preferences? Because jennings turned down an extension for 4 Years – worth 40 mill. Thats 10 per Year which is even a little bit to much for a guy like him – i would have offered him 32 mill. for 4 Years. You can’t tell nobody that you’re a franchise guy and that you are worth e.g. 80 mill for 5 years when you are the 15th best at your position. Thats not gonna work.

    And thats exactly why many GMs wont sign him to an offer sheet. If they offer him like in my example 32 mill for 4 years it is obvious that milwaukee is gonna match. And you just don’t want to offer him more than the 40 mill for 4 years which the Bucks had offered him – GMs are fully aware of the most of the offers that took place!

    I would even go so far to think that if he would be unrestrcted he would get an offer like 28 Mill for 4 years, because to be honest, he has a good steal average per game, but he is NOT a good defender by any means. And if you have watched a few Bucks games he is not even a solid playmaker. He CAN BE a really dangerously scorer IF his shooting percentage is constantly good. And theres the next thing. He is too inconsistent. Ok hes only 23 and has a little upside – i agree with that, but i think after you’ve read this block and my comment it should be really clear that he will not be signed to an offer sheet due to his restricted status and he will not get another qualifying offer from hte bucks either after he turned down the 40 mill. he will play his final year at milwaukee and will become an unrestricted free agent in the next summer if his not been traded at the dead line in february.

    • We don’t need players in Milwaukee who don’t wanna be here. That’s why our teams havent been that great , we need players
      who are happy to play here he’s clearl Not .our fans would not embrace him back. He turned down 40m.
      That says it all funny cause we gave him a chance and look how he did us.

      • Nore says:

        Well I am not a Milwaukees Fan but i can imagine how you feel when your arguably best player who has played at your city for 3 Years turns down an offer like that. Well thats the problem with the small market teams. i think the only small marked who really contends is OKC. I feel sorry for you but i think you will do better without jennings. Maybe just like i said he will be traded in February.

      • akeem says:

        Trade him to BKLN. He can be our Nate Robinson.

  14. J says:

    I am more shocked about Nickola pekovic not being signed

    I know he is too inconsistent but… somebody sign him already!!! he is the best PG still on market by a mile sign him!!! anybody!!!

    also I knew he scored 55 points once but I didn’t know that was his 7th game ever!!! usually that means your a future star lets hope he is he should be

  15. underdog says:

    haha

  16. Unkle Daddy says:

    This off season is a moment of growth for Jennings, he needs to realize his future can be bright, but he is not quite the player he thinks he is. If the Bucks didn’t believe in him they wouldn’t have offered him 10 million a year. He needs to prove he is closer to the player he believes he can be in Milwaukee this season, and try for another bidder next off season.

    • ashton says:

      i agree this off season will help him grow more as a better player and a better teammate and well he did say that he wants to be a laker next year so at least he has going in his favor

  17. cmon son says:

    Brandon Jennings is a good player, but he’s been stuck with the Bucks who have done nothing but make the team worse and worse ever since jennings showed up. The only other person on the team who could score is ellis and he can’t play into a system because he dominates the ball too much. Realistically Brandon Jennings is not going to carry your team, but he definitely deserves a starting position on a decent team. It just shows you what happens when a good player gets stuck with bad organization. If Jennings had been drafted by the Spurs he’d be a top 10 PG. He had a hell of a lot more skill than George Hill ever had look how good Hill became after just a few years with Pop.

  18. Bubba says:

    Jennings to Lakers. He needs to sign that 1 year contract and wait until next year for LA.

  19. cflip says:

    Come on, people….

    He just not that good… people are overrating him and his “talent” because of that fluke 50 pt game. Remember Tony Delk and his 50 pt game? He gets those stats because he’s been made the first option of a mediocre ball club and has the green light to chuck up shots, give someone like Ramon Sessions that chance and he’ll put up similar stats. Like Monta, he plays losing basketball, its fun to look at but its losing basketball nonetheless. Sure you can say young and can still grow, but it’s been four years in the league now and he has yet to make any significant improvement to his game at age where guys show fast improvement and his attitude is worsening, sure you can say he can grow but I wouldn’t count on it and it’s his own fault, he’s holding himself back.

  20. Lestath says:

    Wow… he turned down a 4 year $40 million dollar contract to end up with one year $4.5 million, because he expected more. I hope he’s humbled

    • Rocket33 says:

      Or he wanted a different situation than being locked in long term to the Milwaukee Bucks. This is a kid who went overseas instead of playing college in order to earn a living. Drove a reasonably priced car to save money in anticipation of the lockout. I don’t think he turned down money without good reason. I’d say he’s a humble kid, just wants to be in control of where he spends his career.

      With regards to his play he’s been called a poor man’s Allen Iverson and that’s probably a fair comment. No question he has talent, just needs the right coaching and motivation. Lots of comments about Detroit. Coach Cheeks could be the right man to bring the best out of him. Would need to move Brandon Knight though I feel.

      Wherever he goes I wish him luck.

  21. Lil J says:

    Brandon Jennings to the unknown city the lakers cuz Nash is old and can’t do what the 28 year old Nash did but Jennings is 23 and good has a Chris Paul or Nash and that’s why he should with the lakers OR he can do the Rockets because a great PG should have a great C or a PF like Dwight Howard so it’d either la or Houston

  22. Nelson says:

    that’s right come to the pistons we can use him for sure

  23. Spencer says:

    Imagine him on the thunder. With the coachin staff that developed durant, westbrook, harden, ibaka… Imagine it. He would be put at the shoting guard and we would dominate. Sheit

  24. W/E says:

    cause he is a CBA player thats y

  25. 007 says:

    Well as 23 year old PG he still has alot to learn about the totality of the position and maturing as a man.

    In addition, I’m not comparing him to him, Steve Nash won 2 MVP awards and he cannot stop the snot from running from his nose. In the right system and organization I feel Jennings could thrive immensely. If Brandon is so bad how does he continue help lead to the playoffs with a roster and organization that always seem to be rebuilding.

    I didn’t watch the video but the criticism is a bit overboard.

  26. Eric says:

    He should come to the knicks we will gladly happy to have him.

  27. Dean says:

    Any player that can score 50 points, will always have potential as long as they are young. This kid needs motivation more than anything, it’s not exactly like Milwaukee has had a great team the past three years. I think the Celtics should trade Rondo and Gerald Wallace for Jennings, possibly even throw them one of the draft picks from the Nets. The Celtics aren’t getting to the playoffs anytime soon and they desperately need a scorer, whereas Milwaukee needs a ball handler. They missed out on Teague and no doubt still want a PG. No point in keeping Jennings around he will just leave next year as an unrestricted after he opts in, might as well get something for him. Jennings could be a great piece to kick the Celtics rebuild into gear, and Milwaukee will have a very solid lineup with Rondo, and Wallace.

    • broderick says:

      I might be the only person that feels this way but Rondo is way overrated. Besides his defense and rebounding he shoots like a backup center (both from the floor and free throw line) turns the ball over like a rookie and is cancer to chemistry. That being said you might be crazy to trade him for Jennings because they are the same player but they are limited in different ways. Rondo plays D and rebounds but can’t shoot while Jennings shoots better but that’s all

      • Flizz says:

        Rondo is a triple double machine… Jennings is NOT in his league yet dude… I would rather have a triple double threat who can play defense and be a rebounding point gaurd any day… over a non defensive point gaurd who scores In volume with a bad shot percentage…Wouldnt you??? Maybe Im wrong

    • artifex says:

      I guess Rondo isn’t an All Star for no reason…
      So, it’s rather the Bucks who would have to add another quality player plus some draft pick/s.

      Yes, he is very emothional and that’s not always good for the teams chances to win.
      But cancer to chemistry? You haven’t folloed the Celtics then, look for interviews of his teammates, Lee e.g.
      It’s been Rondo who made the move to get the players together – outside the arena… cause he’s quite emotional, personal off the court too.
      And yes, he’s a much better defender! And his shot improved. Saw him at All Star H.O.R.S.E 2010?
      Last season he had 48.4 FG% (15th among starting guards – 8 among who started >10 games). Jennings? 89th…
      I ain’t switch that anytime.

  28. George Green says:

    He should come to LAC and learn from Chris Paul

  29. ac says:

    That video laid it out perfectly. He’s just not that good.

  30. Eugene says:

    The Bucks went on record saying they’re going to bring this guy back and match any offer a team gives Jennings so yes teams stayed away for that reason looking elsewhere for their backcourt. They boxed that man into a corner, unfortunately Jennings is an unorthodox type of individual where this situation probably does not bother him. It’s simple Milwaukee is not a playoff team without Jennings. Sanders is developing well but he’s not a “put it all on me” type of player. I would think that if they put better players around Jennings he would not shoot as much, that just goes to show you how much confidence he has in his teammates and I for one don’t blame him. I do agree that he needs make better choices in terms of his shot selection and how he shoots the ball, along with driving to the basket but at 23 years old and putting up those stats with poor shooting percentage is still quite impressive. The Bucks should be drooling to keep this guy to stay and bring in the right players and coaches to help make this guy the right and best player everyone knows he can be.

  31. Dee says:

    Come on now

    We all know that this guy is the best player on that team, the face of that franchise, and the main reason people showed up to their games. Mind you he’s only 23 and putting up above average stats with the terrible coaching he’s had in Milwaukee, so he’s pretty much just going off raw talent. Under the right coaching this guy can easily be an All-Star and one of the best point guards in the league. Do I think he should get 12 million a year….not at the present time maybe more like 9-11 range but it won’t be too long before he’s worth more than the 12 million he is asking for.

    • slider821 says:

      you’re right, ‘it wont be too long before he’s worth 12m’ but that is only true if he can shore up some of his offensive decisions. Take better shots, fewer tough shots, fewer long step backs, and learn to make his teammates better. We all know he can score but he needs to prove to other teams that he can improve their team before they hop on the Jennings train.

      Right now teams see him as an inefficient scorer. He needs to use this contract year to show him he’s more than that.

  32. Patty says:

    The Milwaukee Bucks are black balling Brandon Jennings and we all know that.

    SHAME ON THE NBA FOR ALLOWING THIS TALENTED MAN TO SIT OUT AS LONG AS HE HAS AND NOT HAVE ANY TEAMS PICK HIM UP.

    BRANDON JENNINGS IS A GREAT TALENT.

    SHAME ON THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS!!!

    • slider821 says:

      how are the bucks blackballing Jennings? Last year the bucks offered him $40m and HE turned them down. Don’t get it twisted.

    • Bigwes95 says:

      The Bucks don’t make him shoot terrible numbers or make bad decisions while on the court. He’s selfish and it shows. The Bucks aren’t the ones not offering him a deal, they did, he turned it down because he wants more money or play in a bigger market. He wants to be in the spotlight even if it’s detrimental to the team or his own play! He’s very talented, but,” Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard” and so far he’s shown he can’t play with other people in the spotlight.

  33. amitpal says:

    Hes to overrated. Maybe this will teach him the importance of team work and actually playing to win, not for stats or fun.

  34. B Radd says:

    Jennings to the Pistons. The Pistons will help him emerge as an all star and with a chip on his shoulder, he’d make every team pay for now picking him up. Jenning to the Pistons means trouble for the opposition. Jenning can shoot all Day and Stuckey just might get better with all the presure on Jennings. The Pistons just don’t know how big and bad they can again become with Brandon at point. Isaia reborned… Imagine that Motown!