A month after free agency opened up, Brandon Jennings finally found a new home: The Detroit Pistons. In a deal that will send point guard Brandon Knight to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Pistons have completed their monster offseason overhaul and look poised to claim a top 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Bringing in Jennings could be beneficial to both parties, Detroit wanted to make the jump to relevance now, and Jennings clearly needed a change of scenery. Though B.J. doesn’t come without baggage.
Jennings has had quite the tumultuous career thus far, not even including his time he spent abroad before declaring for the draft. In 2011-12, he posted a 19-5.5-3.5, the best numbers of his career. He shot .418 from the field, a career best and .332 from beyond the arc that year, not great but acceptable. If he can simply match these numbers, with this new cast around him, the Pistons could be a potential matchup nightmare for the world champion Heat. The Heat have trouble against elite point guards and teams with a good interior presence. The Pistons have a gluttony of good big men now (Drummond, Monroe, and Smith), and now have Jennings to abuse Mario Chalmers and whoever else the Heat try to throw at the quick guard.
Another big question surrounding this Pistons squad is whether or not Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups, and Maurice Cheeks can reel Josh Smith and Jennings in, as both players up to this point are known around the league as minor head cases (not Boogie Cousins level, but they both need a strong presence in the locker room to keep them focused on hoops). Both players are hot heads, but if they can be controlled and focused, they can be elite players.
The Pistons now have very potent starting five, but almost nothing from the reserves.
Reserves who will play significant minutes:
Not a ton of depth there. I’m not even sure how much Billups has left in the tank, but he claims he’s ready to guide the youngsters and play minutes on a playoff team, still. Expect Caldwell-Pope to struggle at first, but by the end of the year, he will be the starter.
Jennings has some of the same problems that Josh Smith has, he falls in love with the long twos, and abuses the three-point line. If he would continue to attack the basket, not only would lanes open up for himself, and his teammates, but he would likely raise his free throw attempts per game, which is an easy indicator of a player that dictates the pace of the game.
Pistons are now the sexy team in the East, and they definitely will give the Heat matchup problems, but they won’t go far in the playoffs, yet. They still need to max out Monroe and Drummond’s defensive qualities, and the rookies Siva and Caldwell-Pope have to prove they can play at the NBA level.
The biggest question is, what hairstyle will Jennings wear in Detroit? My vote, full flat top.
Minnesota is still taking their sweet time with Pekovic, but no teams really have any cap space left, so where else can he go? It looks like the worst case scenario for both sides is that the ‘Wolves will give Pek the Qualifying Offer which will be a one year deal, allowing him to join the highly coveted free agent class of 2014 as an unrestricted free agent, where he could cash out huge after a monster season.
Nate Robinson will be joining his SIXTH team in SIX years, with every new contract, he either under performers and has to reprove himself, or outplays the contract and receives a multi-year deal, when the cycle suddenly begins again. For Brian Shaw’s Nuggets, Nate Rob has to come off the bench, but will likely be in contention for sixth man of the year once again. He could play big minutes early in the season while Shaw mixes around his lineup waiting for Danilo Galinari to come back, but don’t expect Robinson to mimic the numbers he put up for the Bulls last year.
Robinson earned himself a multi-year contract, but we shall see if he sticks in Denver.