Brandon Jennings who as of this season is now the backup point guard for the New York Knicks is an electrifying player who plays at a high pace from tip off, after recent injuries this could very well be the year he finds his feet and can showcase what the league has been missing out on, playing on a contract year in Madison Square Garden the biggest stage in the NBA.
After spending a year playing in the Euro League instead of going to college, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Jennings with the 10th pick in the draft in 2009, this is where he begun to make a name for himself. On debut Jennings almost tallied a triple doubt, clocking 17 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists against Philadelphia. This was followed shortly after by his career high 55 point game against the Golden State Warriors (these weren’t the same Warriors we have grown accustom too), this game was a history making performance in the NBA as Jennings became the youngest player ever to score at least 55 point in a single match. Somehow during this process he earned the nickname The Pterodactyl, a nickname that Jennings himself has claimed is ridiculous and it’s hard to disagree with him.
However, from this point things never quite clicked for him in Milwaukee. Despite great individual performances the team never hit the heights that were expected only qualifying for the play-offs twice in the 4 years he was with the team. He was eventually traded from the Bucks to the Detroit Pistons in a sign and trade deal and he was there starting point, in his first season at Detroit. Jennings equalled a franchise record set by NBA legend Isaiah Thomas tallying 16 assists in the first half of a game against the Phoenix Suns. Showing the league that although the Bucks didn’t want him he still had overwhelming talent and could bring a lot to his team. During 2014-2015 Jennings’s second season in Detroit, he started hitting his true form once again. He was averaging 16.9 ppg 6.6 apg 2.5 rpg and 1.1 stpg off of 40.1 FG% and 36 3FG% for the season. Jennings was playing exceptionally and consistently, any proof of this can be seen with his 24 point 21 assist game against the Orlando Magic. As well as his game winning basket against the Spurs in which he dribbled past the entire defence with 8 seconds on the clock, and scored a floater in the lane at the buzzer. He was grabbing attention from all over the league and finally looked to be living up to the expectations set for him from the get-go of his NBA career.
However disaster happened and Jennings tore his Achilles tendon and ultimately was sidelined for the rest of the season and also missed a big chunk of the following year. When Jennings suffered the injury Detroit bought in Reggie Jackson from OKC and he plugged the hole that was left by Jennings and subsequently he fell off the radar and begun his rehab. When he finally returned he had become redundant to the Pistons and he was traded again, bouncing around the league eventually ending up at Orlando where he steadily became healthy and he played out his contract.
In a crazy summer of NBA free agency where teams laid out huge sums of money on various players the Knicks got Brandon Jennings on one of the best looking contracts of the offseason at 5 Million dollars over 1 year. The Knicks now have Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings as there 1st and 2nd point guards options. And being on a 1 year deal Jennings is playing for his future. With the salary cap set to rise again next season now is the time that Jennings needs to prove his worth to the rest of the league, so the Knicks receive a pumped up Brandon Jennings, who after being traded so much is hungry to prove himself.
He plays with confidence and a intensity that make him great to watch and being at Madison Square Garden means he will get a lot of time to show off these attributes. They were on full display during the Knicks preseason game against Washington on the 10th of October where he was in the face of his opposition all night and scored 11 points during 26 minutes of play. Not the most impressive numbers but the tenacity that Jennings was playing with showed his intent for the season loud and clear.
The combination of Jennings talent and attitude as well as being on one of the most intriguing teams in the league means that Jennings is in with an excellent chance to secure the 6th man of the year award. Depending on how quickly The Knicks can get it together they could finish anywhere from the top 4 in the east to somewhere in the bottom half. They need Jennings to have individual performances that merit receiving this award, and of course Jennings needs these performances too because being on a one year deal he is going to need to prove to teams he is worth spending the big bucks on.
Not only will the Knicks be a team well worth watching because of the mystery of how their new additions will play together but also because of how Brandon Jennings will go about entertaining the masses at MSG, it’s going to be a sight and if he can grab himself an award like 6th man of the year in the process it will be a great recovery story for a player who has lost his way in a league that once look as though it could be his for the taking.