Brandon Jennings in entering his sixth NBA season, and has started in 370 of his 373 regular season appearances.
His position in the opening tip lineup, however, which was once completely solidified, may now be on shaky ground due to having a new head coach in place, a capable guard playing behind him, and a couple of personally shaky performances.
Van Gundy has turned to backup point guard D.J. Augustin for a majority of minutes in the first two games of the 0-2 start.
And it’s obvious that Van Gundy’s decision-making process is bothering Jennings.
When told that Van Gundy said that Augustin has been the better point guard the first two games, Jennings quietly said: “Then he should start and I’ll be the backup, if that’s the case.”
And with that Jennings added: “That’s all I’ve got.”
He then walked away from reporters.
Jennings has historically worn his heart on his sleeve, so this response here shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. He takes pride in his game and is one of those players who truly appreciates playing at the professional level, so any type of demotion wouldn’t be too well-received.
It’s only been two games, but Augustin has outplayed Jennings when he’s gotten the chance. Jennings is averaging just four points, three rebounds and four assists in 17.5 minutes per contest, while Augustin is at 17.5, 4.5 and 4.5 in 30.5 minutes off the bench.
Head coaches will tell you that the players that start the game don’t matter that much; it’s the ones who finish it. It seems a little early to yank Jennings after just two games, but Van Gundy won’t hesitate for a second to do so if he feels that would ultimately give his team a better chance of winning on a consistent basis.
Handling Jennings and the emotional fallout from that decision (if it happens) would be Van Gundy’s first major test in his new role with the Pistons.