Don't worry, Jennings is going to keep shooting

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Thumbnail image for NBA_jennings.jpgBrandon Jennings is not shooting well. He calls it a slump, it seems to be something more.

But the man is frustrated. Understandably frustrated. And frustrated, angry people say stupid things (just listen to sports talk radio for proof).

Like Jennings saying Wednesday night he doesn’t “even know if he wants to shoot the ball,” a comment made after another recent poor shooting performance.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles (who had fans wanting him to shoot less back in his playing days) says he gets the frustration, adding Jennings didn’t mean it literally.

“We’re not fond of that kind of statement,” Skiles said before the Bucks played at the Washington Wizards on Friday night. “He’s too important to our team and our franchise to have any sort of defeatist-type mind-set right now. And he doesn’t, really.”

Skiles chalked up Jennings’ words to coming in the “heat of the moment” after a game — and to Jennings’ being only 20 years old.

Jennings acknowledged his coach’s point after the game, and called his own comments a result of “a moment of frustration, not thinking and just letting my anger out.” He also said he’s “always going to keep shooting.”

Jennings is too good to stop shooting. In fact he should do a lot of it this summer with a shooting coach, because he is a good player who would become fearsome with a more consistent jumper.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.