February 01, 2011
A month and a half ago, Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings(notes) broke his left foot and proceeded to sit out five weeks. He returned over the weekend, and hasn't looked that bad coming off the bench for the middling Bucks, spelling starter Keyon Dooling(notes).
Jennings, though, isn't very happy about his first two games back.
Nope, he's unhappy with his minutes. Great.
From The Sporting News' Sean Deveney (warning, this link features an annoyingl embedded video selling something that plays as soon as you click on it):
"If I am going to be having limited minutes, I might as well not be playing at all," he said. "When I get my rhythm, I have to come out because the limited minutes I am in. But once I get going you know how I get. So it kind of took me out of my rhythm a little bit. So if I am going to be on limited minutes, I might as well just not play at all."
Jennings said as much after Monday's tough loss to the Clippers, one that saw his former dunk-contest rival (Jennings was slated to perform until breaking his foot) Blake Griffin(notes) bound his way toward 32 points. Playing just 28 minutes spread over two games can't be fun as a competitor.
But you gotta can this, Brandon.
Because Brandon Jennings was immediately handed the keys to the Bucks in his first season as an NBA pro. He played tons of minutes, took tons of shots and sort of plateaued by the season's second month. And though the 21-year-old has improved a little bit in his second season, he's also shooting well south of 40 percent, which has often been the biggest part of Milwaukee's pitiful offensive showings.
So while I'm more or less convinced I went prematurely gray while fretting over Scott Skiles' minutes allotment as Bulls coach from 2003-07, he's not wrong to make sure his hotshot young point guard's foot doesn't turn to dust due to overuse. And Jennings (who started the first 107 games of his career) would do well to pay attention as he watches the game from his seat, because his offensive contributions had become a bit predictable before he injured his foot.
Chalk it up to the frustration of a young man who has never had to deal with injuries, sitting and not starting at this level. And only pay attention to the rumblings if they sustain. Which we don't believe they will.