Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings says he has lost confidence in his shot… but he’s still shooting


The Detroit Pistons need floor spacing and Brandon Jennings is not providing it.

He was 4-of-16 shooting with four turnovers in the Pistons loss Friday night, and in his last five games Jennings is shooting just 35.5 percent. On the season he is struggling to finish (hitting just 44.9 percent in the restricted area), struggling from the midrange (34.9 percent) and not hitting from three (30.6 percent). He’s only averaged 1.2 free throws a game his last five games.

That’s not stopping him — he has averaged 15.2 shots per game the last five games. He’s still shooting, just not making. Somewhere Bucks fans are just nodding their heads.

Jennings knows he is off and told the Detroit Free Press it’s about confidence.

“I think that’s why my shot isn’t where it is right now,” he said. “I don’t have any confidence in my shot right now. That’s the reason I’m missing, because there’s just no confidence there….

“I’m just out there thinking too much when I’m playing,” he said. “I feel like I’m playing to prove everybody that I can be this fast for a point guard instead of just playing basketball.”

Jennings is still the Pistons leading per-game scorer on the season (15.9 points per game), but when you are shooting that low a percentage you drag the team offense down.

Thing is, Detroit doesn’t have a lot of other options.

Mo Cheeks has tried to change things up by bringing Josh Smith off the bench and starting Kyle Singler, and Singler shot 9-of-13 for 22 points in that role in a loss to the Hawks. However Smith was 0-7 off the bench.

In the end Detroit needs a lot more and better out of Brandon Jennings, but this kind of inefficient shooter is who he is — but this season is worse than normal. If he can get up to his career averages (a career true shooting percentage of 49.6 percent, it is just 44.9 this season) it would help.

Bradley Beal says himself, Wizards trying to reduce long two pointers

Bradley Beal, Kent Bazemore
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Take a look below at Bradley Beal‘s shot chart — 28 percent of his attempts last season can be considered long two pointers. He shot 33.2 percent between 16 and 24 feet last season — already statistically the least efficient shot in basketball.

Also, notice all that green behind the three-point line.

Beal shot chart

It wasn’t just Beal — the Wizards as a team took the fifth most shots between 16-24 feet in the league and the fourth fewest threes per game. It’s why it felt like Randy Wittman was keeping the Wizards’ offense in the dark ages last season.

This season they are stepping into the light and Beal is going to lead the way, he told J. Michael of

“I did evaluate it after the season,” Beal said of the spots where he took so many shots in averaging 15.3 points. “Sat down, looked at film, looked at statistics on paper. It just made sense to eliminate those (long twos). Those are bad shots and as a team that’s what we’re doing now. We want to eliminate those long 2s as much as possible. Just be aware on the floor. It’s going to be hard to say we won’t shoot them because there are going to be times when we’re going to be open….

“I have been working on my stepback,” he said of offseason with Drew Hanlen, a strength and skills coach consultant. “I have been working on my 3s off the dribble this summer.”

This is another step in the Wizards trying to modernize their offense — you will see less of the Marcin Gortat and Nene big front line and more small ball with guys like Jared Dudley getting time at the four. That should space the floor and opening up driving lanes for John Wall. And they will look for threes — Wittman rightly says they are not going to pass up an open two for a contested three, but they have to take fewer long twos. It’s part of what held the offense back.

It’s also good to hear this from Beal, who if he can stay healthy is poised for a huge year. Just how good the Wizards are this season hinges on Beal and Wall taking a step forward together.

Former Suns center Neal Walk dead at 67

Neal Walk
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PHOENIX (AP) — Neal Walk, a tough center on the early Phoenix Suns teams after they drafted him No. 2 overall in 1969, has died at age 67.

The Suns confirmed his passing, calling him “an integral member” of the Suns in their formative years.

Walk had health problems over the years and his condition deteriorated in recent weeks. He underwent surgery 28 years ago to remove a tumor on his spine.

Phoenix drafted Walk after losing the coin flip with Milwaukee to draft Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor).

Walk averaged 20.2 points and 12.4 rebounds in the 1972-73 season. Charles Barkley is the only other Sun to top the 20-point, 10-rebound average.

Walk also played for the New Orleans Jazz and New York Knicks in his eight-year NBA career.