VIDEO: Highlights from games played Dec. 2
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Jennings more than open to bench role — The Detroit Pistons won last night against the Phoenix Suns, moving them to No. 10 in the Eastern Conference (and a half-game back of the No. 8 spot) as of this morning. They have picked up some big wins this season — against Cleveland at home, on the road vs. Miami, a 2-0 series edge on Atlanta — but are an inconsistent bunch. Point guard Brandon Jennings is on pace to return to the team in three to four weeks and while Reggie Jackson has entrenched himself as the starter, Jennings isn’t about to rock the boat for his own benefit. Terry Foster of The Detroit News has more:
Brandon Jennings spends too much time on the Internet. He heard from Pistons fans that he might not be a good fit coming off the bench for the Pistons.
He will be rusty. His ego is too big. He is accustomed to being a starter.
That makes Jennings bristle. He sees a young team with potential. He sees a starting unit that is bonding and making things work. The last thing he wants is to disrupt things when he returns to the lineup in three weeks.
“I am not going to mess up the chemistry,” Jennings said. “The starters have chemistry and they have been playing well. If I can come off the bench and help out, then why not?”
“Always in my head (I am a starter),” Jennings said. “But sometimes you’ve got to take the back seat and do what is best for the team.”
And if he never starts?
“I want sixth man of the year,” Jennings said.
Jennings coming off the bench is best for the Pistons. This bench has been inconsistent at best and at least twice cost the Pistons wins.
Forward Stanley Johnson is emerging as its best player. He is coming off a nice 19-point, 10-rebound outing against Houston. If the Pistons can pair Jennings with Johnson, they can become the two J’s crew and get the Pistons through rough spots, particularly in the late third and early fourth quarters.
The Pistons need Jennings but do not want to rush him. He works daily to strengthen his left calf and work on conditioning for a Christmas return. Jennings shoots every day and has gone through every workout except five-on-five scrimmages. He believes his offense will come, but Jennings mostly works on his movement to be a more competent defensive player.
“I am tired of shooting by myself,” Jennings said. “I am tired of not playing one on one with anybody.”
And he is tired of being patient.
“I am feeling pretty well,” Jennings said. “I am more confident. I still have to be patient. That is the main thing. I have been learning patience the whole 10 months.”
VIDEO: Reggie Jackson powers the Pistons past the Suns