We’re only a few weeks into the NBA season but the steal of the draft and surefire Rookie of the Year appears to be Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings. Jennings has shown promise since training camp, putting up good numbers during preseason and carrying that over into the regular season. On top of his on-court performance, Jennings has displayed excellent maturity off the court, establishing residence close to the team’s practice facility and buying a practical and relatively cheap Ford Edge to get around. As if his 21ppg, 4rpb, 5apg averages on top of 46% field goal shooting and 86% success rate from the free throw line didn’t tell you how well he and his his 4-2 Bucks were doing, Saturday night’s game against Golden State sure did.
Brandon Jennings scored 55 points against the Warriors to help the Bucks come back for a 129-125 win. Perhaps every bit as impressive as the 55 point total is that the Bucks are now 5-2 and in position to have their best season since their ’01 Eastern Conference Finals run. Jennings didn’t even score in the first quarter and started slowly in the game yet he still wound up with 55, thanks largely to a stellar performance in the third quarter where he scored 29 points. BJ had a stretch in the third where he was on fire, scoring 15 straight points. He also scored 10 points in the final 2:15 to solidify the win. With the outstanding game, Jennings is now averaging over 25ppg and proving that he’s easily the top rookie in the league. In fact, I can’t remember a rookie having a more impressive start to the season; most start out relatively slowly or at least have shaky shooting numbers. Guess Jennings really matured and worked on his skills in his year abroad.
While Jennings’ great start might encourage other high schoolers to try the “straight to Europe plan,” I hope they take away the greatest message of all out of this: it wasn’t just going to Europe that helped Brandon’s game, it was playing professionally plus constantly practicing and trying to improve himself that has made him this good. Some people laughed when he said Ricky Rubio was no better than himself, Ty Lawson, Jonny Flynn, or Tyreke Evans. Now I’m guessing nobody would be laughing. It’s nice to have a new star in the league.