After we traded for Brandon Jennings last year, I spent time at my computer looking up his stats for the Bucks and looking at some impressive highlights via youtube. It has long been clear that he has talent...we all know about his rookie year exploits and his ability to reach the playoffs twice in his first few years with Milwaukee (If you are unfamiliar with that term, playoffs are a series of contests played to determine a championship winner). His last season in Milwaukee he averaged 17.5 points, 6.5 assists, shot 40% from the field and 37.5% from 3. His lack of free throw attempts (3.5 per game) and his low FG% were troubling but because of his age, there was a general thought that he would be able to improve in those areas with a new team and with more experience. And then, last season happened.
When he was playing intelligently, he performed like a top ten point guard...but unfortunately he did not play smart often...his 37% FG represents that fact. Despite missing 2 out of every 3 shots, he still managed to get 14 shots up a night. That's ridiculous. Greg Monroe shot 13% better and took 2 fewer shots. I was going to take the time to get some advanced shooting stats for Jennings but I will instead provide insight very succinctly: he sucked at shooting this year.
With his contract though, we are probably stuck with him for at least one more year. We could try to land Lowry in the off-season, but it wouldn't make sense to pay two guys over $16 million at the same position. There also probably aren't many teams who would be willing to take Jennings in a trade with 2 years remaining. BUT, we can make franchise-changing decisions in the 2015 off-season:
1) Trade Brandon Jenning's expiring contract
2) Sign Reggie Jackson
The Thunder will not be able to pay the $6-8 million that Jackson will likely receive on the open market, so, we'll have a play at him. He has been a role player on a winner for the last 3 years, and this year he has really shined as a 6th man:
44 FG%, 34% 3FG, 13 points, 4 assists
Beyond that, the numbers that really matter are 6'3, 205 lbs, and 7'0 wingspan. The guy is a great defender, has an enormous work ethic, and is humble. I've been keeping up with him ever since he scored 23 points in the 4th quarter of a summer league game against....yea, you know.
Reggie Jackson Sets an Orlando Summer League Record with 35 Points! (via NBA)
Jackson is 24 years old, and if you pair him with KCP, that's one of the more promising backcourts in the NBA...and certainly the Eastern Conference. He's a smart player who is already adept at deferring to franchise players...so he wouldn't steal shots from Monroe or Drummond. Again, we wouldn't be able to grab him until the 2015-2016 season...but I think he's the guy to lead us into the Andre Drummond era as our heady and tough point guard. What say all of you?