Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Pistons need to make a decision about Brandon Jennings

I can't think of another example of addition by subtraction that quite matches the Pistons' releasing of Josh Smith.
They were 5-23 at the time. The Pistons have won nine of 10 games since. Gone are the endless long 2-point shots, replaced by smart 3-pointers. Bigs Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond have shown a better level of consistency, especially Monroe, who the Pistons very much need to sign long-term to insure a brighter future.
The players Stan Van Gundy brought in, particularly D.J. Augustin and Jodie Meeks, have been differencemakers.
But what about Brandon Jennings. Like Smith, he was emblematic of the Pistons' issues, a genuine talent, but not quite in sync with the concept of winning.
And even during the recent winnings ways by the Pistons, Jennings up and down play has been maddening. The Pistons beat Toronto on the road Monday, which is no small feat considering the Raptors have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Jennings was the biggest reason why with 34 points, 10 assists, just two turnovers and a big steal at the end that completed what would have been an impossible comeback not long ago by the Pistons.
It was like the games Jennings had vs. Cleveland, the Knicks and Sacramento recently, but he had shot just 29 percent from the floor in his previous four games, and is just above 40 percent for the season. It's still all or nothing for Jennings, which has been an issue since he and Smith arrived with the Pistons..
It leads to the question, as the Pistons move forward, whether Jennings and his immense talent will conform to what is necessary to fully turn around Van Gundy's program, or whether he will eventually be part of the addition by subtraction plan.
Jennings is signed through next season at less than $9 million. It's reasonable number, and there is a possibility there will be interest in him. The Pistons wouldn't have to eat $26 million for him like they did with Smith. They could get something of value, perhaps considerable, in return for Jennings, now or during the off season. Would it be a wise move in the bigger picture? Or should they consider signing him long term?
.It's got to be the No.1 bigger picture decision the Pistons are pondering.

My column. The NFL, Roger Goodell and why changes are needed at the top: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20150113/pat-caputo-the-nfl-roger-goodell-and-why-change-is-needed-at-the-top

My column. How Matthew Stafford still falls short of being an elite level QB: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20150111/pat-caputo-matthew-stafford-remains-a-work-in-progress-for-detroit-lions

My column. Jimmy Howard injury, schedule severely test Red Wings: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20150112/pat-caputo-schedule-jimmy-howard-injury-severely-test-detroit-red-wings


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