Bucksketball Podcast

Jennings: “It’s going to be very interesting what the rotation is going to be”

| February 22, 2013

Category: ROTATIONS!

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Minute division amongst Milwaukee’s guards will be very interesting over the next few weeks.

Quick: What do the numbers 39.4 and 41.3 mean to you?

What about 15.8?

Or 29.0?

Those are minute totals. The first two are Brandon Jennings‘ and Monta Ellis’ from the month of February. The third is Beno Udrih’s in February. And the final is J.J. Redick’s minutes per game in February.

29 minutes doesn’t slide into 15.8 very easily. Given that the players that joined Udrih on the way out of Milwaukee hadn’t played in February, it’s natural to wonder where exactly J.J. Redick’s minutes are going to come from going forward.

John Hammond says some sacrifices may have to be made.

“It’s our players’ responsibility to help him fit and it’s his responsibility to fit,” he said when meeting with the media Friday to discuss the trade deadline. “I think if guys are willing to accept the process, there’s no reason it can’t happen. It really comes down to this: Do guys want to win? If you want to win, people will make sacrifices. The sacrifices could be a few minutes a game.”

The most obvious guys to sacrifice some minutes would be Redick’s fellow guards Jennings and Ellis. But Jennings seemed just fine Friday with the minutes he was getting. He certainly gave no impression that he felt overwhelmed or too taxed.

“I’m 23-years-old so I don’t mind playing a lot of minutes, at all,” he said. “I never complain about playing time, I never complain about being tired, I just keep it going. I’m 23-years-old and Monta has played big minutes in Golden State. That’s nothing to us.”

But whether it was fatigue or something else, Jennings and Ellis have been struggling for most of February. While Jennings has played very well since the All-Star break, both he and Ellis have seen their shooting percentages and scoring drop this month.

And while his general manager was brimming with optimism Friday morning, Jennings had a realistic and interesting perspective on the addition of Redick to the Bucks. He’s aware that only so many guards can play and that prior to now, he and Ellis have been certain of crunch time minutes.

“It’s going to be very interesting just to see how the rotation is going to be now,” he said. “As far as Luc (Mbah a Moute) down the stretch, he’s one of our best defenders, he has to play to because he guards the best player down the stretch. It’s going to be very interesting what the rotation is going to be.”

This was one of the problems Milwaukee has faced this season. They weren’t a team without talent, they were a team without top level talent or defined roles. There were enough players with enough skill that anyone could play at any time. This was a bigger problem when Scott Skiles was pacing the sideline, pulling players left and right with apparently little rhyme or reason.

Jim Boylan has brought some consistency to the Bucks bench, but what will he do with a player who doesn’t seem an obvious candidate to take many of his star guards’ minutes, but may be a better fit than they realize?

“You can mix and match and do anything you want,” Boylan said Friday. “All three guys are capable of handling the ball. It will be an experimental thing. We’ll try to see what works. We can put some pressure on other teams by playing all three guys together, seeing how they match up, what they decide to do.”

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About the Author ()

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in January of 2009 because he hated his job. It’s like basketball, but with Bucks instead of basket. I know ... I’m sorry. He might come off as a bit negative, but I'm really not so bad. He just wants the Bucks to succeed, so he points out areas where they are coming up short. Someone has got to do it and he's ornery and opinionated enough to take on that task. He isn't sure if this should be in third person or not. Contact him at Jeremy@Bucksketball.com if you must use e-mail.

Comments (18)

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  1. JP says:

    Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd this is why Monta should have been traded to Atlanta with Ekpe Udoh, Luc Richard, and a first round pick for Josh Smith and Devin Harris.

    BJ-Redick-Ers/Dunleavy-Smith-Sanders in crunch time. Would’ve been so, so sweet.

    I can’t wait for Monta Ellis to mope his way through April after it becomes clear the team runs much more efficiently down the stretch when JJ Redick is on the court. So long as Jennings doesn’t join him in sad face mode, it should be fine.

  2. Justin says:

    whether or not Brando was showing signs of fatigue he wasn’t the same player in the 4th quarter/OT in either Nets game.. we need him to be able to finish because I believe he will definitely be on the court in crunch time

    • Patti says:

      I’m sure BJ & Ellis believe they can play 48 min every night, and they have shown that they can. That’s not the point.

      They need to be focused mentally and they need to have legs rested enough so when they attempt a shot, it will be an attempt that represents their talent.

      It will be silly for any of these three guards to not give their best effort to work together. It won’t increase their playing time if they don’t.
      We don’t want more shots from each of you, we want you to take better shots. Maximize your time on the floor by scoring, not just shooting, and your stat lines will remain the same or better.
      I promise ;-)

      Go Bucks!

  3. Patti says:

    Yeah…only problem with that trade is that Atlanta wasn’t buying it. It was fun being in the running. Give Hammond credit…he was giving it his best shot.

    • charlie_buckets says:

      agreed. The Hawks backed out and the Hawks didn’t want Ellis. Why would they take on a bad $11million dollar contract in exchange for a $13 contract? It wasn’t Hammonds fault.

      I think Steve from Brew Hoop made a good point. The Bucks have showed Josh Smith that they are interested in him. So for better or for worse, he may still become a Buck. we’re gonna be somewhere around $40 million in cap space this summer. Who gets paid? Jennings? Reddick? A Sanders extension? Even if all of them get signed that still leaves quite a bit of money for the FA market.

  4. Sfisch says:

    There’s no sense in coddling Jennings or Ellis
    when they are likely to leave the Bucks, anyway,
    unless maybe they get unrealistic, unjustified contracts.

    This is a good opportunity to see if Jennings and Ellis
    are team players who will take less minutes and become
    more pass-oriented. They can still get plenty of minutes
    and shots, but not carte blanche. If these guys are willing
    to sacrifice for the good of others and the cause of winning,
    they could be good to keep around, if at the right price.

    This is also good audition for coach Boylan (who I have
    a fondness for as I can remember him as an integral part
    of the Marquette champions of the 1970s). Does Boylan have
    the guts to cut some minutes for Ellis and Jennings and even
    sit them when they are playing poorly. For example, during
    the Denver fiasco, Ellis kept jacking up shots with reckless
    abandon and mind-boggling irresponsibility. Why would we
    want a guy like that unless he’s will to make a big change in
    his approach?

    • Chris says:

      Let’s not kid ourselves. BJ isn’t leaving the Bucks. They’re going to match any offer sheet he gets.

      It’s the Bucks.

      • Sillybilly says:

        Possibly….but Dallas is already interested in him and will have a load of cap space to work with this summer. They could do what the Rockets did to get Lin and front-load the offer making it difficult for the Bucks to match. I think Hammond really wants to keep him but the amount of money it might take to match could really handicap us from bringing in talent now and in the future. But the bucks like to be mediocre so I bet we pay him a lot and keep him around.

  5. BOB says:

    PLEASE FATHER TIME… Take us back to Nellie and the boys!! At least Sidney, Marques, Lanier, Sikma, Winters, Bridgman, Pierce, Catchings, Cummings, ETC ETC would give us HOPE and liked the city!!! Herb Kohl is the cancer that killed the milwaukee bucks!!!!!

    John Hammond and the bucks organization are a joke!!! Small market teams like the spurs, nuggets, OKC seem to be able to get to the finals but with the tightassowner we have it will never happen again in brew town!!! They draft like fools and when we do have a chance to trade for true improvements we settle for TRASH!! Now we have 3 guards that can’t guard anyone!! No inside presence and a bench that gives up leads so we can choke the final two minutes EVERY NIGHT!! Well don John… DBAG!! Lets face it Milwaukee fans… We will always BLOW as long as Kohl is the owner!! Don Nelson warned us and he was right on!!

    • Patti says:

      We will always have an NBA team in Milwaukee as long as Kohl is the owner.

    • SikmaForThree says:

      Bob, this is not the NBA of the late 80′s, as much as I loved that period of time in Bucks history. This is an era of Twitter, SportsCenter, free agency, and big marketing dollars. Players can find fame and fortune without team success these days, and as long as they have power to dictate which cities they land in, that makes the plight of small market teams that much more difficult.

      I think the Bucks challenges have more to do with Kohl’s vision than his spending… you can’t spend your way out of this, cuz with the Bucks valuation (last in the NBA), they can’t afford the luxury tax, and they can’t compete with the PR / Branding benefits of the NY’s and LA’s. You had a good comparison with the Spurs, OKC and the Nuggets. If those teams can figure it out, we should be able to as well. However, remember the Nuggets have NOT been to the finals, and as little as 10 years ago were the worst team in the NBA… finishing 17-65. Why are they one of the top teams in the west today? Because they drafted a stud player (Carmelo), laid out a clear plan, and executed it. When momentum started building, they brought in coach who brought a vision for success, and could finish the job of molding young talent into that vision (Karl, the coach WE discarded, by the way). When Carmelo ultimately wanted to leave and chase the PR glitz of NY, they were bold enough to use the pieces they had (Carmelo & JR Smith) to make smart trades and acquisitions, and they continued to draft well… all within their master vision for the team (unselfish, fast paced, defensive minded). They now have a consistent model of success because they consistently find the pieces that fit their system and vision. What system or vision do the Bucks have right now?

      As a side note… interesting you pointed out these 3 teams. Popovich (S.A.) and Karl (DEN) are CLOSE friends… and Brooks (OKC) is a good friend and former assistant of Karl. Should it surprise us that these 3 teams have found success with a personel formula all 3 subscribe to?

  6. Andy says:

    At this point, this is our team. Lets root for them. Redick adds a interesting element, Monta and Brandon need that more consistent third scorer on the perimeter. Now we have it. Even though I wish we got Smith, this team can turn into FTD.

    • Sfisch says:

      I agree that at some point, after venting,
      it’s good to get positive. We still have
      Sanders already growing into possible stardom
      and Henson showing signs of promise. It could
      be great to have a sharpshooter like Redick to
      go along with one in Dunleavy, who has been
      terrifically consistent this season. I’m still
      hopeful about Jennings and hope he can mature
      into a floor leader who moderates his shots and
      takes better care of the ball.

      I really haven’t given up on anybody. Let’s see
      who steps up with effort, court-savvy, teamwork
      and perseverance. I think the fans will truly
      embrace such guys, and I hope these will be the
      guys that management will reward with loyalty and
      generosity.

      We can always get more mediocre players with
      half-hearted attitudes. Let’s try to find the
      guys with heart, hustle, smarts, selflessness…
      and, oh yeah, maybe even a fair amount of talent, too.

  7. Personally, I do not think acquiring JJ Reddick will make the bucks any better. Their primary need was in the front court as they needed a player that can draw in defensive in order to give Monta and Brandon more room; however, on the flip side, for a big man man to be effective, he needs the ball, which is problem because both Ellis and Jennings dominate the ball too much and the far from efficient to say the least. If anything, the move will more than likely cause more friction that anything else, sorry to say.

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