Point-Counterpoint: The Bucks’ future with Brandon Jennings

(Today, Eric Buenning tells us why a contract extension for Brandon Jennings is just what the Bucks need. Tomorrow, I ruin everything. – JS)

Brandon Jennings joins Bucks rookies Doron Lamb and John Henson. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

I may not be in the majority here, but I feel strongly that the Bucks should try to keep Brandon Jennings.

Jennings and the Bucks should start talking contract extension soon and if the Bucks are wise, they’ll make the talks productive.

My belief in Jennings is not only because of his steadily improving numbers (which I’ll get to), but because of the thorough impact he could have on the franchise.  I will concede that if some team proposes a loaded trade or is willing to throw way too much money at him, then he is more than welcome to go to greener pastures.  However, if the terms of Jennings’ next contract is even somewhat within reason, I say go for it.

The Bucks should keep Jennings..

— because he hasn’t tapped into his full potential yet.  Now, that’s my personal opinion, but I’ve got some numbers to back me up. Time to bust out some stats (via basketball-reference.com).  Jennings had career highs this (lockout-shortened) season in field-goal percentage, points per game, steals per game, and PER (player efficiency rating).

He also had career highs in Effective Field-Goal Percentage and True Shooting percentage, the latter being above 50 percent.  He also had a .114 Win Shares/48 minutes, his best of his career.  The league average of WS contributed per 48 minutes is .100.  While those numbers aren’t exactly gangbusters, they show that the young Jennings is starting to learn the game better and that he continues to improve in multiple facets of his game.

But the numbers (though they are a good sign) aren’t why I feel the Bucks should keep Jennings.

The Bucks should keep Jennings..

–because he brings excitement to an otherwise insipid roster.  You may ask, “But what about Monta Ellis?”  Ellis is exciting, but he never comes to Milwaukee unless Jennings is there to put him with.  Also, if you’ve watched any of the pre-draft or post-draft interviews with Bucks’ draft considerations, they all talked about how fun and exciting it would be to run with [Ellis and] Jennings.  Without him, what do players have to look forward to when considering coming to Milwaukee?  Jeremy Schmidt?  Actually, no, that’s a big draw for this city, I think.

Also, Jennings’ play in his brief career has given Bucks fans a few classic moments.  If you followed the team since Jennings arrived, you should remember where you were when the Young Buck dropped 55 points against the Golden State Warriors, not even ten games into his career. While that night was memorable because of the scoring feat, there were a few specific things I’ll never forget.  They were:

–Golden State’s refusal to play ANY DEFENSE, WHATSOEVER.

–The awkward interaction between mother and son (3-ish minute mark in the video)

–John McGlocklin losing his mind

–The feeling I and many other fans may have had that night.  It was the feeling that this kid was capable of doing something big, and that we were looking at the future of the Bucks

Then there was a game this year against the Miami Heat where Jennings delivered 7 three-pointers, the last one culminating in him hopping back down the court with this look about him that said “I’m not backing down to anyone, ever.”  Now, couldn’t the Bucks’ franchise feed off of an attitude like that for the next decade?  Why would you want to let that go?

The Bucks should keep Brandon Jennings..

–because he is a great human being.  Yeah, that sounds cliché and what have you, but why not take that in to account when deciding how to direct your franchise’s future?  Jennings has been active in the Milwaukee community, whether it be hosting basketball camps, attending Summerfest sessions (and dancing with old men), or helping out with Habitat for Humanity or serving food to the less fortunate.

You can argue that a lot of NBA professionals do the same things, and I can’t dispute that.  But it feels that Jennings is more accessible than those other stars.  He doesn’t just do the charity appearances.  He hosts parties or he is out on the town, sometimes even bringing fans with. He uses the star status he has achieved to bring the community together.  He is a B-List version of Kevin Durant, and that is high praise that you want to have mentioned when talking about the future of your team.

Like I said, this could all change if some team out there decides to go crazy in free agency in order to lure this kid in.  If I’m the Bucks, I don’t wait to give that team that option.  I lock Jennings down as soon as possible, for as much as it takes within the limits of plausibility.  It’s incredibly rare to have a potential star on your team, let alone a young one who is showing that he is only going to achieve greater things, both on and off the court.

This next month or so should be an interesting one for the Bucks, but I believe that if they want to become consistently relevant and title threats down the road, they need to begin by keeping the Young Buck in Milwaukee.

Categories: The Off Season



  1. Here Here!  I concur, sign Jennings now! He’s likable for an infinite number of reasons, your last qualifier perhaps being the strongest.  Yes, he does appear to possess high character and integrity. And I can’t stress this point enough, he appears not to mind living in Milwaukee.  He might even enjoy it to a degree.  These are the individuals who we want representing us, playing for us. There may even come a point when he actually considers himself one of us, a Wisconsinite.  I tear just descended from my eyelid.

  2. Couldn’t agree more with this.  The only way you can get stars in Milwaukee is through the draft and when you get them, you keep them. Well, the Bucks track record of finding stars in the draft is abysmal.  But Jennings appears to have all the characteristics.  He has swagger, charisma.  You can see the competitive fire in him.  Only the Bucks track record of doing the wrong thing keeps me from being optimistic about us getting an extension done.  Any competent organization locks this kid up and makes him the signature face of the franchise.

  3. I just don’t get the mentality that we can’t move the contract if it doesn’t work out.. Hec they traded Joe Johnson’s terrible contract and Brando had better numbers than Joe last year.. But I am a fan of #3 and he is good for Milwaukee as an ambassador and does seem dedicated to the Bucks now more than ever

  4. Amen…I think a major contributor to Jennings rise in production last year was that he put on about 12 pounds of muscle. If he can get a little bit bigger and start getting more whistles on his drives he will be scoring 20 ppg. His low assist numbers for a point guard dont bother me if the Bucks share the ball as well as they did last year. And the talk of his work in the community is the real kicker for me, the guy does actually seem to enjoy Milwaukee he has great charisma…I say give the man close to the max deal on his extension, Bucks franchise needs a face, for awhile it was Redd and now it’s Jennings
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  5. Take off your rose-colored glasses.
    This guy is not an all-star. He is not a top 30 player. He is too small and too weak. He has had enough time. Rondo was twice as good at this point. The only thing he has is a willingness to sign with the worst bucks team i’ve seen in the last 15 years. We will overpay for him, and probably  ersan, too. And they will both suck even more, based on their higher paychecks. The Bucks need to finish dead last and get a real superstar pick. Now .Meanwhile the Eastern teams that already made the playoffs keep getting better.

    •  @flyingking So the 06-08 versions of the Bucks were better than this current one?  Those two seasons, the Bucks combined to go 54-110 those years.
      I’d imagine it also helps to have Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett on your defending champion team.  You can’t make that comparison with BJ.

    •  @flyingking So, the 06-08 Bucks teams were better than this one?  They combined to go 54-110 those two seasons.
      Also, it probably helps to have teammates and champions like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen.  You can’t compare BJ’s situation to Rondo’s.

      • @ericbuenning @flyingking Brandon haters are going to hate regardless of whatever you throw at them.. doesn’t matter that he was the best PG from the ’09 draft last year statistically.. doesn’t matter that he was second in All-star voting behind D-Rose last year through the first quarter of the season.. doesn’t matter that he is just 22 and actually wants to be yhe face of the Bucks, who are getting no interest from other potential free agents.. none of this matters to the haters

  6. I wouldn’t mind if they keep Jennings, he will keep them competetive……..BUT he hasn’t really shown the quarterback style of play that you think of on championship type teams.  He is more of an individual talent than someone who brings the best out of his teammates. Maybe he will prove me wrong but personally I think it would be best if we trade Jennings now for the highest value and bring in Lin or Dragic. Those two are both high percentage shooters who really focus on utilizing talent around them. Better to have your most athletically talented players at the wing and small forward and have the PG focused on exploiting the best scoring opportunity through ball movement.