Prior to the season, our own Mike Payne backed up his answer as to who won the preseason point guard battle between Brandon Jennings and D.J. Augustin, giving the nod to Augustin. Stan Van Gundy seemed to disagree, at least to start the season, plugging Brandon Jennings into the starting lineup on Wednesday night for the season opener.
But maybe we should pay more attention to overall minutes and, specifically, which point guard should be finishing close games. That may ultimately be the real controversy.
Jennings started the season opener, but played under 20 minutes in the game and, surprisingly, saw zero playing time in what was a predominantly close fourth quarter (it was a two-point game until the final few minutes). D.J. Augustin played 29 minutes overall and all 12 of the fourth-quarter minutes.
Of course, Van Gundy was asked about this after the game [quotes via MLIVE]:
"I thought he was playing better than Brandon, I guess." [...]
"The answer is you're going with the guys who give you the best chance to win," Van Gundy said. "He (Jennings) wasn't in the paint a whole lot. I wasn't really upset with him. He played most of the first and third (quarters). I wasn't really down on him. I just thought we were getting a little bit more out of D.J.'s pick-and-rolls for a big part of the game."
Jennings was diplomatic about it, although he did confess to being surprised:
"A little surprising," he said. "Never happened before in my career. But hey, it is what it is. We've just got to keep pushing through it."
Jennings, who had a strong showing in the preseason in serving the rock, did not play well by any stretch of the imagination on Wednesday night. Although he made 50 percent of his shots (2-for-4), he turned the ball over more than his assists (3-to-2), which was a far cry from his excellent 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the preseason.
Jennings' struggles may have been a result of him trying to do too much when he did get the ball, as he felt the offense got too bogged down by bad shots.
To be fair to Jennings, Augstin was not much better at running the show. He was better, but he too turned the ball over as often as he assisted (three) and the end results were the same, if not worse.
More in a minute, but until then, now your thoughts.