In the first 11 games of his career, Brandon Jennings averaged 25.3 points on 47.9 percent shooting and 49.1 3-point percentage, 5.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game.
He was very good immediately. Too good. Jennings was a superstar for his first 11 games in Milwaukee, there’s really no other way to phrase it. But 11 games is just enough time to be dangerous in a city with the recent history Milwaukee had in 2009.
If Jennings maintained something close to the production level he produced over his first 11 games over the next four years, he would have been exalted, lawyers would have courted him for commercials and he could be stepping into Ryan Braun’s shoes right now as Aaron Rodgers‘ partner in the local restaurant and good times business.
Bucks fans wanted (hell, we still want to) to believe in something, but they wouldn’t just believe in anything.
By the end of last season, Jennings certainly seemed like “just anything.” Four years into his career, his production was nowhere near what it was over that special first 11 games. It was his fault our expectations got so high, but it wasn’t his fault that we were so desperate that we were still living off 11 games four years later. Those 11 games seem so far in the past now that he’s gone, now that there’s no reason for Bucks fans to try and fool themselves anymore. At this point, he might be as remembered for his sub 30% field goal percentage against the Heat in his final games as the Bucks starting point guard as he is for his 55 point game.
Pistons fans, who didn’t see those first 11 games up close, won’t put Jennings in quite that same stratosphere. However, many Pistons have already recollected the 55-point game since Detroit acquired Jennings.
That 55-point game is not Jennings. We have three years and 71 games’ worth of data to better understand him as a player. If you expect a high-end scorer, you’ll be severely disappointed. Jennings is an acceptable starting point guard, which is a big upgrade for Detroit. Please let that be enough.
Jennings’ tenure in Milwaukee soured, in part, because he couldn’t live up to expectations. Let’s do everyone a favor and not repeat that experience now that he’s with the Pistons – at least until he averages 30 and 9 in his first 11 games next season.