Confession: I’ve never seen Brandon Jennings’ 55 point game. Yes, I’ve seen the highlights, but never the game in full. Even though I should probably be putting up some façade that I’m some sort of expert that has seen every Bucks game since Glenn Robinson was born, I’m not going to apologize for missing the biggest moment in recent Bucks history. If you must know, I was doing charity work to try to impress some ladies. So get off my case because I was helping sick children at the time. Now get back on my case because I was doing good things for terrible reasons.
So for me, the 55 point game has always been more of a statistic than an experience. It’s an outlier: a really large number that I look at with no emotion, sometimes even quizzically. And even though I can see past Jennings’ great con or at least I believe I can, I’m still disappointed by him and I honestly can say that I never suspected that. Because despite what some people may believe, there are a wealth of games that Jennings has played well in and do a much better job of showcasing his brilliance and identity. My favorite Jennings game was the one after the 55 point game against Dallas. This game was everything that he wants and defines him. The whole basketball world was watching – high stakes, chiaroscuro: not just toeing the line between scorer and creator, but destroying it all together. His box score for that game: 25 points, eight assists, a monstrous second half plus overtime and the charred remains of Rodrigue Beaubois.
The Allen Iverson comparisons were always bunk. Iverson is perpetually stuck in basketball adolescence. Mind you, it’s the greatest adolescence anyone has ever had anywhere ever, but he was never going to grow up. Jennings always has been moving toward some kind of basketball adulthood. I barely know what I mean by that, but I do know that it has something to do with my previous sentence about the line between scorer and creator and something to do with teamwork and something to do with his admonitions of his 55 points. It has something to do with him becoming more efficient, but not losing himself in stats the same way Terrell Brandon lost himself in assist to turnover ratio. Taking risks. Stopping to smell the flowers, then make a no look pass or a behind the back fake.
Sweep aside all the talk about swag and field goal percentages and what you find is that Jennings right now is about the struggle of becoming an adult. This makes him so much more relatable than he was before. And it’s what makes this season more intriguing than any season he’s had before or any season he’ll have after. The last two years were times for craziness. The future will be a time for settledness. Now is his time for becoming. He knows what he wants to be and he has all the style, speed and handles to make it happen. But even Clark Kent had a hard time becoming Superman.
Ok, that was just a lot of rambling about Brandon Jennings, but seriously, I think about him way too much. I was drunkenly yelling something about Brandon Jennings somewhere along Milwaukee’s North Avenue during New Years. And I realize now that Jennings is the only girl in my life. I think about him way too much. Everything he does affects me more than it should. And when he inevitably leaves, I’ll say he wasn’t that great anyway. If I had his number at that moment, I would have called him and left the best voicemail ever. I think about him too much not just because he’s the Bucks best chance for a star (as well all know stars=wins), but he’s also the Bucks only shot for any kind of acceptance, aesthetically or otherwise, both locally and amongst the basketball blogosphere. Heck, he might be the only guy that can end the Bucks leaving Milwaukee rumors.
I also rambled about Jennings because I did not want to talk about the upcoming game against the Jazz. In terms of watching this game, on a scale of 1 – 10, I’d rather have Batman punch me in the face.
Mike Dunleavy Jr. is expected back for tonight. Beno Udrih is day-to-day. Tobias Harris has muscle soreness, but getting better. Game is in Utah at eight pm central time.
Watch These Guys, Not Other Guys
- Al Jefferson
Al Jefferson in the Salt Lake Tribune:
[Andrew] Bogut’s a special player. … I love playing against him because he makes me step up.
After being embarrassed by a Nene-less Nuggets team, Andrew Bogut needs to bounce back. That’ll be tough against Al Jefferson who has a very refined post game. But the Jazz have been allowing centers to average 19.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game against them.
Somehow Utah scores less than the Bucks, so this game could get ugly quickly. Hey! There’s Alec Burks, we wrote a lot about him this summer. Oh, he never plays, never mind. Well there’s everyone’s second favorite Badger, Devin Harris. Between Harris, Leuer and Greg Stiemsma, this is truly a golden age of Badgers in the NBA.
Ian Segovia is a contributor to Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter, fan us up on Facebook.