Brandon Jennings says he is bringing lob city to Detroit and that he is going to be a new and improved player ready to lead the Pistons to the playoffs.
"You could say, we're going to bring lob city to Detroit this year," the 23-year-old guard, known for a certain amount of swagger, said at his introductory press conference Tuesday at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
And while this might seem to play into the stereotype of what others say to criticize Jennings -- that he is immature and cocky, it came off more like an excited player that wants his game to recede into the background. To let others have the spotlight while he keeps the show running smoothly.
Because he was speaking less about himself and more about his new teammates.
"It's my first year actually playing with a frontcourt like this, with (Andre) Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh (Smith)," Jennings said. "We have the two top big men in the league, two young guys that have a lot of potential. They're going to take my game to the next level and I'll help take their game to the next level."
And Jennings knows what it is going to take to take his game to the next level -- more efficient play. Many critics of this deal have said Jennings is going to have to change his game if he and his new Detroit Pistons squad is going to reach the goal of making the playoffs. In fact, Jennings is one of them.
"I definitely have to change my game for this team," Jennings said. "The things I was doing in Milwaukee, I won't have to do here. You know, take all those bad shots, because we have so many pieces." Emphasis mine.
Well, if Jennings hasn't spent his time reading criticism of the trade, he has an uncanny ability to get right to the heart of the matter. And Jennings was was refreshing with most of his responses at the press conference after a week of relative silence following the trade that sent him to Detroit on a three-year, $24 million deal in exchange for Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtsov.
And one thing president of basketball operations Joe Dumars made abundantly clear was that this move was about the team taking the next step.
Knight, the younger, inexperienced Brandon, is gone. He had too much to learn and might not be a point guard long term. The team just couldn't take the risk. In his place is an older Brandon. A Brandon with holes in his game, yes, but also armed with obvious point guard skills and a playoff pedigree.
"He's a guy that can score and distribute. .. We also liked the fact that he has five years of pro experience," Dumars said. "We thought he could step right in, hit the ground running and fit with the rest of our guys."
And immediately means now. With big money spent on Jennings and Smith, the odds that the team loses its draft pick to the Charlotte Bobcats, and Dumars in the last year of his deal it is playoffs or bust.
Jennings thinks he will be part of the solution to the playoff drought and is clearly excited to be on a team he sees as more talented than the Bucks team he left behind.
"This year I think you're going to see a whole different player just with all the talent I have around me," Jennings said of his aforementioned big men, while also name-checking Rodney Stuckey. But he acknowledged the older guard that can help him improve his game as well. "The veterans in the locker room, Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Mo Cheeks, Joe Dumars.
"Now I can come in and be myself."
Myself, apparently, is a player that knows how dumb it is to take off-balance 18-footers.
One last note, Dumars confirmed that the team was likely to fill its last roster spot on a big man to finish out the roster. He also said that this was probably the final big move of the offseason unless something came completely out of the blue.