Brandon Jennings admits he was not good last season.
He shot an almost respectable 33.7 percent from three and was okay on the right side of the arc, but once he stepped inside that line things didn’t go so well. He took almost 60 percent of his shots inside the arc and hit just 39.7 percent of them. He struggled to finish around the rim (shooting just 52.9 percent inside three feet) and his pull-up jumper seemed guaranteed to brick. Plus his defense was… unimpressive. To put it kindly. There were flashes of good play — and of course plenty of swagger — but the words “consistency” and “Jennings” were not used in the same sentence last season.
If Jennings doesn’t defend or take better shots for Stan Van Gundy this year, he’ll sit. Or be gone.
So Jennings rededicated and that started with adding 25 pounds of weight, he told Vincent Goodwill at The Detroit News.
“I’m about 185, 190 on my good days,” said Jennings, noticeably thicker but still wiry…
He said the added weight should help on the defensive end, as well as absorbing contact when he goes to the basket.
Reports of off-season weight gain-loss are about as trustworthy as the ones on late night diet infomercials. That said, a trusted reporter did say he looked thicker, so something is there.
As for Van Gundy.
“He’s really big on details and he said you’re gonna have to play defense and give your all, every night,” Jennings said. “He already said it, I’m not expecting you to lock guys up one on one. Guys are just too good. But what we can do is give a good effort and play team defense.”
He’s a stickler for effort and playing smart — every time down the court. Consistency. Like all great coaches he expects, no, demands it. That will be challenge number one for Jennings.
Van Gundy has a lot of issues on his plate (starting with the Andre Drummond/Josh Smith/Greg Monroe front court mess) but he’s not going to be hesitant to get a new point guard if Jennings doesn’t improve.
We’ll see how much the muscle helps with all that, but after watching Jennings for years I’ll want more than words about pounds before I buy in.