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3-on-3: Brandon Jennings-Brandon Knight trade

1. How do you grade the trade for the Pistons?

Patrick Hayes: B. Brandon Jennings is better than Brandon Knight right now, and if there’s one thing we should take away from this offseason, it’s that Joe Dumars has fully committed to getting better immediately, future be damned. Any modest improvement will cost them a first-round pick in the loaded 2014 draft and, although I personally think it’s unlikely, Knight is still just 21. There’s at least a chance he develops into a better player than Jennings is right now.

Dan Feldman: A-. Once the Pistons signed Josh Smith and put themselves squarely in win-now mode, it became imperative they upgrade their starting point guard, and Jennings accomplishes that. If the Pistons are pushing themselves out of the top-eight of the draft – and signing Smith almost certainly did that – they had to get beyond the 9-14 range (The Disaster Zone, where they miss the playoffs and send their first-round pick to the Bobcats). Though Jennings’ flaws – erratic shot selection, attitude – could derail his positives, he projects to be much better than Knight, and that’s important for this team. Not getting a point guard better who would definitely be better next season than Knight has been the previous two would be like eating a hotdog without mustard. Sure the dog and bun are the most important ingredients, but without mustard to make it go down, the whole meal would have been ruined.

Jameson Draper: C. Just two months ago, the Pistons’ Andre Drummond-Greg Monroe foundation allowed for multiple possible directions to take the organization. Instead, they just spend loads of money on players who don’t necessarily fit so well in their system. It’s like Joe Dumars looked at points per game for each player in free agency and took the two two players with the highest totals who didn’t garner a lot of interest from other teams. Along the way, it seems the Pistons have lost direction. They specifically signed Chauncey Billups to mentor Knight and help him become a true point guard, but they gave up before the season actually started. Now Billups is an average, old bench player with a point guard, Jennings, who’s not quite as raw and therefore not quite as in need of mentorship. At least Jennings is a talent upgrade and could blossom outside Milwaukee.

2. Is Brandon Jennings the Pistons’ long-term answer at point guard?

Patrick Hayes: He is now. His contract isn’t bad (at least by Ben Gordon standards). Jennings is only 23 and an occasionally brilliant scorer, and I’m interested to see whether his quickness can be deployed in passing lanes the way Allen Iverson’s was in Philadelphia under Larry Brown, when the team featured shot blockers Theo Ratliff and later Dikembe Mutombo to account for Iverson’s gambling. Jennings has yet to prove he can be a reliable NBA point guard, but he still could get better. And if he doesn’t, I doubt he’ll get worse enough that his contract becomes impossible to move.

Dan Feldman: Yes. Jennings has no internal competition, and though the Pistons are still on track to have cap room next summer, Kyle Lowry is the only appealing unrestricted free-agent point guard, and he’s not that appealing. A trade is still possible – I hear Rajon Rondo could be available later – but the impetus is lessened with Rondo, and I believe Joe Dumars will give the talented Jennings time to learn from Maurice Cheeks and Chauncey Billups. A caveat: It sure sure seemed like Rodney Stuckey would at least remain a starter when he signed a similar make-good-but-still-get-paid contract with Detroit, but he sure fell off. Jennings is younger than Stuckey was at that point, but Stuckey was actually playing better preceding that contract. I’ll wouldn’t write in Jennings as the Pistons’ point guard of the future with ink, but a pencil with a shoddy eraser? Sure.

Jameson Draper: It’s too early to tell, but I say no, because a long-term answer right now at point guard should be a pass-first guard. Though Jennings isn’t a pass-first guard, his style could fit the Pistons well enough for now. He’s no longer the No. 1 scoring option like he was with the Bucks, and he has the ability to get the ball down low for easy buckets. Perhaps, he might not shoot so much anymore. There’s always a chance that being in a new environment could change the way he plays. Jennings wasn’t going anywhere in Milwaukee, but he could play well enough in Detroit to please the Pistons and cause them to ignore the positives of a pass-first guard.

3. What is Brandon Knight’s long-term outlook?

Patrick Hayes: Somewhere between Jerryd Bayless and Jason Terry, only better defensively. Knight’s defense was often overlooked last season because of the holes in his game offensively, and the Pistons will miss that. Knight’s defense, work ethic and 3-point shooting are enough to keep him in the league in some capacity for a long time. I’m skeptical he will ever develop into a good starting point guard, but I’m convinced he’ll be a useful player in some capacity for quite a while.

Dan Feldman: He must stop insisting he’s a point guard, one of his paths for getting on the court and actually improving will be at least part hindered by his own stubbornness. A 32-year-old Luke Ridnour is a marginally bigger roadblock to starting at point guard for Knight than a 37-year-old Chauncey Billups would have been, and I’m not certain Knight can clear it, so he should get used to the idea of spending time at off guard. His best position might very well end up being point guard, where he’s indicated he can be a quality defender, but his means of sticking in the NBA might be as a spot-up shooter. It’s too early for him to close one of those options.Still, it’s not quite clear what the Bucks, who also have O.J. Mayo at shooting guard, have in mind. If Milwaukee dedicates to playing Knight big minutes at point guard and developing him – or if he’s forced into that role by a Ridnour injury or ineffectiveness – Knight might finally help the Pistons make the playoffs.

Jameson Draper: I really hope some team nurtures him better than the Pistons did. The Pistons pushed too much responsibility his way early in his career while he was still developing at point guard. Then, they  stunted his growth by pushing him to the wing when they traded for Jose Calderon. If a team allows Knight to grow organically in one position— whichever they choose— Knight could develop into a solid starting guard. He’ll never be a star, but he has the opportunity to be a solid starter with a little consistency.

85 Comments

  • Jul 31, 20133:44 pm
    by alex

    Reply

    I definitely am higher on Knight than most people seem to be.  His combination of work ethic and intelligence will pay off a lot more in future years than people realize.  Package that with his 3 point shot, defense, and speed, I think he’ll end up a very good player.  I expect and Aaron Afflalo type jump in production from Knight in the next 2-3 season.

  • Jul 31, 20133:45 pm
    by Al

    Reply

    If Utah was amenable, this could be a nice followup:
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=mwn8j2u
    Detroit sends out more talent than it brings back, but gets that third string center, someone who can play the 2, and $4MM more next summer.
    Utah gets a talent upgrade, though not enough to really undermine their chances at Wiggins.  And Jerebko can be a useful bench guy I think – just not here.
    Maybe that’s selling too low on Stuck – I’d be happy to swap in CV instead if Utah wanted it.

    • Jul 31, 20133:57 pm
      by alex

      Reply

      It’s not bad.  It adds another guard who can shoot the three and gives us future cap flexibility.  But I don’t think Utah has any motivation.  They don’t want a talent upgrade for next season.  And unless they really like Jonas, why take on a longer term player?  It’s a no deal from their end.

    • Jul 31, 20135:18 pm
      by sebastian

      Reply

      AL, get off the trade machine. Now, that B. Knight has become a Buck, Stuckey’s skill-set is need now more than ever.
      Maybe swapping Charlie V. in the place of Stuckey may work, better.

  • Jul 31, 20133:52 pm
    by Jacob

    Reply

    Dan – I hate mustard. 

    This team could be really fun to watch. Interest will be high going into the season. More eyes will be watching and more seats in the Palace should be filled. That in and of itself is a win for Joe D. Now it’s up to the players themselves and Mo Cheeks to get this talent to play like one unit. Sheed will be an invaluable assistant coach. 

    • Jul 31, 20134:49 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      “Dan – I hate mustard.”

       I don’t know what to do with such a preposterous statement.

    • Jul 31, 20138:06 pm
      by Vonte

      Reply

      Man that is so true I will say the one thing the Detroit pistons really has lacked these past 2 – 3 years is the actual interest in them… They were a boring ass team to watch but now with J smooth and Brandon Jennings at the helm I will definitely be getting tickets to a pistons game esepically if they grow as a team they will be fun to watch 

    • Aug 1, 20139:10 am
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      @Jacob So true….I might even purchase League pass again…Probably not but atleast I considered it for a moment…

      Pistons are going to have to push the tempo…makes for fun basketball to watch…Maybe we become the Lob-city of the East

  • Jul 31, 20133:56 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    one day you guys gotta do a “commentors” version or add one of us in…

    I’m Pulling for BK I really like the kid.. 

    • Jul 31, 20135:20 pm
      by sebastian

      Reply

      I HATE FRANK, I share your sentiments. All the best to young, Brandon Knight.

    • Aug 1, 20135:23 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      It can happen. They used me for one of their 3-on-3s a little over a year ago.

  • Jul 31, 20134:03 pm
    by danny

    Reply

    D minus!!!  I don’t understand the lack of patience with Brandon Knight!  Its absolutely preposterous!    The guy is only 21!!!   This upgrade is so small and potentially temporary and does not justify losing three players and 25 million dollars.  

    we need decisions for the future not just for next year!  this is a very Ben Gorden-esque type trade.   
     

    • Jul 31, 20135:55 pm
      by Ozzie-Moto

      Reply

      Danny, I’ll explain …. 
        First JD mucked around with combo guards for the 4-5 years and it got the team NO WHERE. Unfortunately Knight was the last of THAT stupid idea (not a problem for one combo off the bench but we couldn’t even figure out whether there were better at  SG or PGs)   2  The instincts and floor vision of a PG are probably some of the hardest things to teach. And as a SG he to small.   Lastly and MOST IMPORTANT:    J Dumars JOB is finally on the line  IT WIN NOW or bye bye JD. This is unfortunate NOT that his job is on the line, that he was not gone before this time.  Now we are gambling when we should be building …    

    • Jul 31, 20138:12 pm
      by T Casey

      Reply

       Joe Dumars def hasn’t given up on trying to build around combo guards. Jennings embodies the term.

      • Aug 2, 20139:44 am
        by G

        Reply

        Jennings at least has shown aptitude to play PG. Knight really hasn’t. Jennings has maintained that 2/1 AST/TOV ratio that all aspiring PG’s should have, while Knight hasn’t managed to come close. I think Jennings is still a work in progress as a PG but he at least doesn’t look lost out there. Knight does.

  • Jul 31, 20134:05 pm
    by danny

    Reply

    oh yeah and my interest level has just been downgraded!!!

    thanks Joe…… 

  • Jul 31, 20134:16 pm
    by Al

    Reply

    As far as grading Joe D’s moves, in the universe of moves that were actually possible (i.e. “we should have signed Chris Paul doesn’t count), I think he needs to get some kind of A.  Josh Smith is a huge upgrade, especially defensively, for the 36 minutes he’s playing, at either forward spot.  Jennings is a slight upgrade, with passing skill set that is more useful to us.  KCP and this Luigi character have potential to contribute as shooters.  All for a reasonable price, all without giving up CV or Stuckey’s expiring deal, so we still have flexibility at the trade deadline or next summer.
    The only two complaints I hear about Smith and Jennings, and they are the same for both, are “fit” and shooting efficiency.
    On fit:  Its not like we are gunning for a championship this year or next.  The first step to getting better is to have good players playing more minutes and bad players playing fewer.  How could you possibly complain about having Josh Smith take minutes from Max and CV?  The Thunder and Heat can worry about fit.  For us, I’ll take a year adding talent at reasonable prices, and fiddle with fit later.
    On shooting efficiency:  If Smith can improve his shot selection, he’s an All Star.  If not, he’s a near All Star, because of all the other stuff he does well.  We could be the best shot blocking and rebounding team in the league.  Jesus stop complaining.  Jennings is still young, and has never played on a good team.  His midrange chucking will  be out of place now that he has 3 guys who can really score in the paint to pass too.  Hopefully, he will.  If not, we can move him in a year.  This is a PG-rich league.  Again, good gamble at this reasonable price.
    I, for one, will enjoy watching these guys punish other teams in the paint and knock some dudes on their asses in the playoffs, even if our shooting and spacing are ugly at times.  Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!

  • Jul 31, 20134:16 pm
    by James

    Reply

    “Instead, they just spend loads of money on players who don’t necessarily fit so well in their system.”

    Jameson – How can you say the players don’t fit our system when we don’t know what the system is going to be?  We have a new coach and the roster is vastly different than last year.  It seems to me we’ve made solid upgrades in both talent and athleticism while keeping the core of the team young.  I’m not saying all the pieces fit perfectly as I’m definitely concerned about spacing issues on offense, but I also see lots of potential and positives.  This team is very athletic and should excel at rebounding, producing steals, and hopefully defense.  As I said shooting is a concern, but we probably have the best offensive rebounding front line in the league. Even though we start a large frontline I think we should emphasize pushing the ball at all opportunities. 

    And we can still build around Drummond and Monroe even if Smith and Jennings don’t work out.  We’ll still be able to sign Monroe to a new deal next year and we can do the same with Drummond when his contract runs out in 3 years.  We have limited our ability to do other things in the meantime, but we have not sacrificed our ability to build around Monroe and Drummond.  In 3 years when Drummond gets his second contract he’ll only be 23 years old and Monroe will only be 26, Smith will be in the last year of his deal and Jennings will be gone if he doesn’t work out or resigned if he does. 

  • Jul 31, 20134:21 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    If I were  a betting man I’d say Nate Wolters ends up starting pg. Mayo starts at SG, and Knight is microwave off the bench. And I like Knight. I just think Nate is way underrated, and he’s a great decision maker.

    Realize about Rondo: He won’t be a good option for the Pistons. A pg that cannot space the floor will not be a good option for the Pistons. Rondo will do better with Olynk and Sullinger than he will with Drummond, Smith, and Monroe.

    Rondo made his name making passes to a shooting guard that is the best 3 point shooter in basketball history (Ray Allen), one of the best jumpshooting small forwards in the league, a hall of famer also (Paul Pierce), and the best midrange shooting power forward in history other than Karl Malone/Dirk Nowitski (Kevin Garnett).

    That’s a lot of floor space for a non-shooting PG. Our “Big 3″ is the total opposite of Boston’s former big 3. Why people think Rondo is a good fit for the Pistons is beyond me. Its a tragedy waiting to happen, that will never happen. Knight, Billups, and Jennings all shot 37% + from 3… they are all a better option than Rondo for the Pistons.

    • Jul 31, 20134:24 pm
      by Vic

      Reply

      And Dan you don’t have to get sarcastic at all, the rant about Rondo was directed at the people continually calling for a Monroe for Rondo trade, not at you.

  • Jul 31, 20134:28 pm
    by Holy Crow

    Reply

    hey Dan, we now have a roster spot open for Ben (!) Wallace!

  • Jul 31, 20134:29 pm
    by James

    Reply

    “They specifically signed Chauncey Billups to mentor Knight and help him become a true point guard, but they gave up before the season actually started. Now Billups is an average, old bench player with a point guard, Jennings, who’s not quite as raw and therefore not quite as in need of mentorship.”

    Sorry Jameson, not trying to pick on you, but I tend to disagree with a lot of what you said in this segment.  Based on everything I’ve read your statement is wrong.  Part of the reason Billups was brought on was to help mentor Knight, but that’s not nearly the only reason.  Chauncey can be a positive influence to everyone in the locker room, not just Brandon.  Chauncey can also be a benefit on the court as we really need outside shooting and better decision making considering our roster make-up.  We’ve also seen quotes about the Pistons are looking to the future with Billups and working to integrate him into the front office post career.  Mentoring Knight was one of the many reasons we brought Billups in, not the specific one.

    Also, I think Chauncey can potentially be a much better mentor to Jennings compared to Knight.  Having a good mentor doesn’t make someone a good basketball player.  We obviously have different opinions of Knight and his potential, but I see his ceiling as a 6th man at best. He’s an undersized two guard who’s only above average ability is being a good spot up shooter. Jennings is a better player now and has atleast shown the ability to do some things much better than Knight.  Jennings get’s to the line more, is a much better passer, is a much better pick and roll player, has a better AST/TO ratio and has a much lower TO percentage.  His biggest issues are his atrocious shot selection and lack of fundamentals on defense.  He’s the perfect person to be mentored by Chauncey who has a fantastic shot selection and is still a good team defender even as he get’s up in age. 

    I think it’s more likely that Jennings can improve his shot selection and become a better team defender (he’ll likely always struggle one and one due to his size) than it is that Knight learns how to play the game of basketball well.

    • Jul 31, 20134:31 pm
      by Rich

      Reply

      Yeah, the idea that Billups could mentor Knight but can’t mentor Jennings makes – how can I put this nicely??? – absolutely no freaking sense at all.

      • Jul 31, 20134:55 pm
        by Dan Feldman

        Reply

        I don’t want to speak for Jameson, but I think he’s saying Billups has more value as a mentor to Knight than as a mentor to Jennings, and the Pistons paid Billups for that higher value. I don’t see where Jameson said Billups can’t mentor Jennings.

        • Jul 31, 20135:45 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Epic fail.

          I agree with everything I assume you meant. But you referred to Jennings as both Billups and Knight in this comment while never referring to him as Jennings.

          • Jul 31, 20136:13 pm
            by Dan Feldman

            Yeesh, that was a mess. Edited for clarity (and sanity)

  • Jul 31, 20134:30 pm
    by Rich

    Reply

    If Brandon Knight player for the Cavs, Bobcats, or some other losing franchise the last couple years, we’d have laughed at the idea he was a serious prospect. The list of lottery point guards who were as bad as he was in Year 2 and then had success long term basically begins and ends with Chauncey Billups.  And Billups didn’t have anywhere near the stability Knight had his first two years – same team, same coach, same system, same core players.

    Knight showed no ability to run the point.  He didn’t improve – at all – in year two.  It was time to move on.

    To get even an average starting PG for him was a steal.  The Pistons basically just got a dollar for a quarter and two nickels. 

    • Jul 31, 20134:53 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Well said

    • Jul 31, 20135:12 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Brandon Knight (31.5 mpg):
      13.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.0 apg, 0.8 spg, 2.7 topg, 47.5% efg

      Joe Dumars (30.9 mpg):
      11.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.1 spg, 2.2 topg, 49.9% efg

      Dumars’ second season was better than Knight’s, but not by much.

      “He didn’t improve – at all – in year two.”
      This is completely untrue. Knight was a crap defender as a rookie. 

      • Jul 31, 20135:15 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        I know Dumars was not a lottery PG, but it was the best comparison I could find. In today’s NBA, he’d be a combo G after all.

        But yeah, I don’t expect big things from Knight. 

      • Jul 31, 20136:12 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        Joe Dumars had a true shooting percentage of .543, which is good. Knight is at .511, which is average. Joe also broke the 2-1 assist to turnover ratio while Knight is under 1.5. Joe was a significantly more efficient player than Knight, which meant there was much more hope for him becoming a really good player.

        • Jul 31, 20139:46 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          I acknowledged that he was better. It just wasn’t by a significant margin. And Knight was a better rebounder.

          • Jul 31, 201310:15 pm
            by oats

            I think it was really significant. If Knight had Joe’s numbers I’d have been arguing for him becoming a starter pretty soon. As it is I think Knight needs to make some progress to be a good 6th man. That’s a significant difference.

          • Jul 31, 201310:15 pm
            by oats

            *good starter pretty soon.

    • Aug 1, 20138:52 am
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      @Rich…

      They didnt even have full season when Knight was a rookie, Then in his 2nd reason he played with a horrible, unbalanced , poorly floor based Line-up…. Then the Pistons started winning games it was basically our bench. Charlie, Daye, Drummond, Bynum and Stuckey that was carrying the team….

      Knight was also poorly coached…but im not going to go on and on,,,

      Knight struggled in the P&R offense, and Im fine with the upgrade especially if thats the offense that we are going to mainly run.

  • Jul 31, 20134:34 pm
    by DoctorDaveT

    Reply

    1. A/A-. There is not really much not to like (unless you’re a BK7 fan). Other than Knight, you’re giving up spare parts. Look at it this way: BK7 was maybe the worst starting PG in the NBA last year. Jennings is at least an average NBA PG. That is a huge upgrade. And at 23 years old, he still has room to grow. And with better talent around him – well, this looks like a slam dunk. Also: getting rid of Kravstov & Middleton allows the Pistons to sign Siva if they want to, rather than chance losing him. I like his possibility of running the point in the future – the kid looks skilled in that area. One more thing: if Siva signs, then the roster is at 14, with the need for one more big Body… preferably one who would like to study law somewhere….
    2. Please define “long term.” At 23 and a 3 year contract, he has the potential. Billups and Stuckey certainly aren’t going to take it from him long term. Siva? I don’t know. That will be interesting to watch the next 24-36 months. Let’s play “over under.” My number of months for Jennings in a Pistons uni is 30. Are you over or under?
    3. BK7 will be a good third guard, coming off the bench. He can play well either guard position as the second guy. His future is very bright if he’s willing to play from the bench. The problem is – he’s too good to come off the bench for Milwaukee – but not good enough to lead a good NBA team. Look for him to change scenery again in the not-to-distant future.

    • Jul 31, 20135:40 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I disagree that Jennings is an average starting PG. There are so many star PGs and only a couple crap PGs starting in the league. Below are the other expected starting PGs next year.

      Superstare–way, way better than Jennings:
      Rondo, Williams, Rose, Curry, Paul, Westbrook, Parker

      Fringe stars–definitely better than Jennings:
      Irving, Lawson, Conley, Rubio, Holiday, Lillard, Wall

      Around Jennings’ level:
      Teague, Walker, Calderon, Lin, Hill, Nash, Felton, Dragic/Bledsoe, Lowry

      Worse than Jennings:
      Chalmers, Knight, Thomas

      Total unknowns–probably not yet as good as Jennings:
      Oladipo, Carter-Williams, Burke 

      You could make a case to move Rubio down or Irving up. But the point is that there are a whole lot more starting PGs I’d definitely take over Jennings than there are ones I’d defintely take Jennings over.

      • Jul 31, 20135:43 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Given how much the stars throw off the curve, an average starting PG might well be a top ten PG.

        • Aug 1, 201311:04 am
          by Huddy

          Reply

          I think your point makes sense in the context of the existing PGs in the league, but I think you can also base average on what you want out of a player at a position.  The true rankings of current PGs in the league have a lot of variables like what scoring load they are asked to take, the talent level around them, style of play, etc.  Many top PGs are the best players on their team (or close) and I don’t think that makes finding average easy and I think the state of the league PGs currently doesn’t have to change the meaning of average.  The SG crop is much more limited, but I wouldn’t lower expectations for what average means, I think I would say there are less good options currently.
           

          • Aug 1, 201311:34 am
            by tarsier

            You could look at it that way, but teams don’t compete with historic averages, they compete with who is in the game right now. So even if your PG is better than your SG, in this NBA era, you could be losing the matchup at PG most nights and winning at SG most nights. Hence why I compare to the here and now, but your way has validity, too. 

          • Aug 1, 201311:54 am
            by Huddy

            Yeah I think it takes a bit of both.  You look at what you need at the position to compete in the current NBA and balance it with strengths at other position to see if they can make up for problems at the position in question.  I was mostly trying to show what came to my mind first when I read “average starting PG”.  I do think since the Pistons are so strong in other areas I like the signing because I don’t think they need to compete at a high level at PG to be successful, but it is an upgrade that Jennings has an average ability level at the position in a vacuum even if there are more above average PGs in today’s NBA.  But I know what you mean because it sounds odd saying “most PGs are above average.”

      • Jul 31, 20136:23 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        I’d drop Bledsoe a tier, but I would keep Dragic there. Then again, I’m expecting Bledsoe to be the starting SG. I would also say I expect Vasquez to start in Sacramento, and I’m leaning towards adding him to the around the same as Jennings group.

        • Jul 31, 201310:10 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Sure, obviously these are my opinions (and I did forget about Vasquez but would do the same as you) but the point remains that the average starting PG is well ahead of Jennings.

      • Jul 31, 20137:16 pm
        by jacob

        Reply

        jrue holiday and Jennings stats are very comparable.

        • Jul 31, 20138:28 pm
          by T Casey

          Reply

          If you’re just looking at ppg assists, etc., then yeah they’re comparable. But after factoring in efficiency of scoring, Jrue Holiday is considerably better.

        • Jul 31, 201310:29 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Jrue is actually a plus defender as opposed to Jennings who is a minus on that end so that’s pretty hugely in his favor. Also, the stats aren’t that close. Holiday scored slightly more, got 1.3 more boards per game, 1.5 more assists, and did it on significantly better percentages.

      • Jul 31, 20138:30 pm
        by DoctorDaveT

        Reply

        You’re making my point. He’s at least average – and that’s basically right where you put him. Being “at least average” is a huge upgrade at PG.

        • Jul 31, 201310:15 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Did you not actually read my comment? Because the entire point of it was that he is not “at least average”.

          The average starting PG is probably right about whoever is the 10th best in the league. Jennings is an upgrade over Knight, but this puts him right around 20th best. That is significantly below average. Nobody outside of those top two tiers is an “at least average” starting PG.

          • Jul 31, 201310:43 pm
            by Max

            I don’t like this definition of average starting point guard for a few reasons.   For one, not all of the starting point guards are better than other team’s backups.   The list of potential starting point guards around the league regardless of situation is a lot longer than just the list of projected starters so it seems wrong to reduce the field to 30.   Also, give me a break.  You are positing that the 10th best point guard is average when the player is in all probability an all star or at least borderline.  

          • Aug 1, 201311:25 am
            by tarsier

            The 10th best PG definitely shouldn’t be an all-star. Each all-star team has only 12 spots. That means, on average, it should have 2-3 PGs. With how loaded the league is on PGs, that number becomes 3-4 instead. There really is no room for more than 7 PGs in the all-star game.

            And yes, I am positing that the gap between the best and the 15th best is a lot bigger than between the 15th best and the 30th best. Because that would be expected in a sample with any sort of a reasonable distribution. And that assumption is confirmed by what I see on the court.

            As for your point about backups starting, yes you could redefine things to include everyone who has ever started an NBA game at PG. But those aren’t starting PGs, those are backups who had to start a game for some reason. If you included them in the sample, having an average starting PG would mean you might have the worst starting PG in the league at any given point in time (on the days when the backup PGs aren’t starting). So yes, I’m not simply counting the top 30 PGs in the league, I’m counting whoever is first on each team’s depth chart.

            And yes, when there are about 7 superstars, about 7 really good PGs, and then the rest of the starting PGs are all pretty close in talent, that will make the average PG one of the “really good but not superstar” guys. Think about it this way, if you wanted to get Lawson for Hill, you’d probably have to throw in something of decent value. But if you wanted to get Rose for Lawson, you’d have to really throw in a bunch more assets. And if you wanted to get Jennings for Knight, you don’t have to throw in much at all.

          • Aug 1, 20133:32 pm
            by Max

            What about my point that some backups are better than some teams starters?  Just because one player gets a lot more minutes and therefore puts up better counting numbers doesn’t make him one of the 30 best point guards in the league.   Part of my point is that there are probably at least 40-50 candidates of who could be a starting point guard for a given team and that the distribution of who actually does get to start is a meritocracy towards the top but is somewhat arbitrary towards the bottom.   Fit, whether the team has a wing who can run the offense, the number of teams with super back ups in a given year, the number of clear starters who are hurt, whether a coach prefers a scoring point guard or more of a pass first guard, whether an inferior young player is being given a chance to prove himself and those playing the position in a platoon arrangement all undermine the notion that you can just take the projected starters during the summer and say those are 30 best point guards and use just them to come up with an average starter.   You are using Derrick Rose right now and putting him in the superstar category.  You might have done the same last summer but doing so would have thrown your numbers way off.   Instead of a superstar last year the Bulls had Kirk Heinrich starting at point guard when healthy but Nate Robinson started a lot of games and put up much better numbers than Heinrich and played more minutes when Heinrich was healthy.   Looking at that situation, where either of them one of the 30 best point guards last year and if so which one deserves to be represented?  Certainly not Rose.  

            Similarly, just because 4-7 point guards make the all star team in a given year doesn’t mean there weren’t 10 or more legitimate candidates.   In any given year, the players who actually make the all star game might have more to do with their surrounding cast and how much their team was winning than whether they were strictly the best.    And personally, the way I look at all stars is at least a little bit elastic.   If one of Parker, Westbrook or Curry for instance doesn’t make the all star team next year but are putting up their usual numbers, it’s pretty crazy to say they are not all stars.  

            Another point, I’d say the top 15 point guards in the league right now are all in the top 50 players overall or very close depending on how anyone would rate the players.   Top 50 players are universally above average in my book.   

          • Aug 1, 20135:34 pm
            by tarsier

            The fact that some teams’ backups are better than other teams’ starters does make the average starting PG slightly worse. But it’s amazing how close that is to not being the case. I don’t think there is a single instance currently of a starting PG and a backup PG where the starting PG is not at least arguably better.

            Worst starters: Oladipo, Carter-Williams, Burke, Chalmers, Knight
            Best backups: Thomas, Collison, Terry, Bledsoe

            It’s true that sometimes the starter gets injured and that hurts the average play of the position, but Rose is the Bulls’ starting PG. If you’re not going to count guys because there is a chance they’ll be injured, then you have to factor in the chance that Jennings will be injured and will be a complete 0. So that cancels out. But I will concede that one could make a case that Jennings is an average starting PG if he is healthy and a bunch of other, better guys are injured and therefore don’t count. If that was the point you were trying to make, congratulations I guess. But that’s pretty weak since Jennings has fairly average durability (missing about 6 games per year).

            I listed 14 PGs up there who were clearly head and shoulders above Jennings. And they’re not all top 50 players. Which 15th guy do you suppose is? And even if there was one, this argument of yours is ridiculous. If 25 of the 30 starting PGs were in the top 50 players overall, would that make the 25th of them an above average starting PG?

          • Aug 2, 20131:05 am
            by Max

            I’d still take Andre Miller well ahead of all of your worst starters and best backups.    I’d add Nate Robinson, Luke Ridnour, Aaron Brooks and at least a few others to the list of point guards who would probably put up better numbers in the same minutes as a least a few of those names.  

            The point about there being 15 point guards who are absolute stars is also about how the difference between the 8th best point guard and the 15th is somewhat of a subjective argument and I don’t like the word average applied to players who are clearly stars.   We’ve had this conversation before but for me a team’s first option and leading scorer is a star.   You made a list of superstars and fringe stars and then the next tier is below average starters.    So if you are not a star, you are below average?  

            I disagree about using the number 30 for the field of starting point guards and think the number should at least be around 40.   If you take the average of the 40 or 50 best point guards I think you’ll fall upon a definition that is more in line with calling a player an average starter.  This is by the way what I think Jennings is.   The problem is that your method doesn’t allow for what happens when a team starts an atrocious point guard who is clearly not one of the 30 best point guards.   Personally, I wouldn’t put Brandon Knight in the top 40 or maybe even top 50 point guards and you know I’ve been vocal about saying that both Stuckey and Bynum are better point guards than he is.   I also don’t think Mario Chalmers is a top 50 point guard and the way he plays would be totally unacceptable in most situations but the Heat have two superstar wings who run the offense.   

            And the math on injuries doesn’t get negated by the assumption everyone can get hurt.   It’s more about the fact that every year at least a couple of starters do get hurt so you can’t just project perfect health in a vacuum or even rotational consistency during the summer to say these are the 30 point guards from whom you will draw your average.  On average, coaches will make a change or two to that idea and injuries will take care of at least a couple more.   General managers don’t just identify those starting but also those who could start without it being an embarrassment.    A capable starter is defined by being capable and having a motor that can handle the minutes and not by actually starting.   Figure out how many there are of those and you have your number.  

            I hope I’m being clear but I think my biggest objection to the whole these are the 30 best point guards because these are the guys projected to start to say Jennings is not an average point guard when he right about the 15th best point guard is that you are filling in players like Rose who didn’t even play a game last year to bump everyone’s number down based on a projection and not what actually happened.   Rose wasn’t better than Jennings last year.  We are talking about the future so it’s okay to use projections but your projection assumes perfect health while picking and choosing arbitrarily who is and who is not docked for missing last season or chunks of it.   Steve Nash is not on your list of fringe stars but if he plays 82 games next year, he will probably deserve to be but you are probably not expecting him to be healthy so you put him on a tier with Jennings.   Rose and Rondo on the other…..well, maybe you have a good feeling about them so you leave them as superstars but what if neither can resume their level of former play?     If you use a wider field than 30 of starters, all of these issues go away and average players get to be called average players and every player who is not a star doesn’t have to be called below average.   

          • Aug 2, 201310:14 am
            by tarsier

            “We’ve had this conversation before but for me a team’s first option and leading scorer is a star.”

            So Kemba Walker and Arron Afflalo are stars? In 09-10, Stuckey was a star? You have to recognize that sometimes a team doesn’t have any stars. Or that if you are generous enough with the term “star”, being a “star” can be average. Just looking at the 04-05 Pistons team, if you want to call Hamilton a star, I’d say that team alone had 6 stars (Billups, Wallace, and Wallace were definitely better than Rip; Prince and Dyess were pretty much equal). That would go a long way toward pushing an average starter (in this case, please consider each team to have 5 starters) to being not far off from a star.

            “I’d still take Andre Miller well ahead of all of your worst starters and best backups.    I’d add Nate Robinson, Luke Ridnour, Aaron Brooks and at least a few others” 

            I’ll give you Miller. Ridnour and Brooks are jokes. Robinson will give you nice stats every other night and not much else. 

            “I disagree about using the number 30 for the field of starting point guards and think the number should at least be around 40.” 

            On what grounds? There are only 30 teams. And each team is only starting one guy at any given time at PG. If you’re not just counting who is first on the depth chart, how do you draw the line anywhere other than “everyone who has started a game at some point”? But if you prefer, I’ll amend my statement–just for you–to Jennings is not an above average best PG on a team. I think everyone else recognizes that that term is typically replaced by “starting PG”.

            “We are talking about the future so it’s okay to use projections but your projection assumes perfect health while picking and choosing arbitrarily who is and who is not docked for missing last season or chunks of it.” 

            I’m not docking anyone. I guess I could try to sift through who is more or less likely to be injured, but I left it at everyone has a shot at being hurt (including Jennings) so I’ll act as if they’re all healthy. I just don’t think Nash is that good anymore.

            “he (Jennings) right about the 15th best point guard” 

            How did you get that? You may as well say he is right about the 25th best PG. I put him in a  category with about 10 other guys. You arbitrarily decided that that puts him at the absolute top of it? I wouldn’t put him at the bottom of it, but closer to the bottom than to the top.

          • Aug 2, 20133:25 pm
            by Max

            I should have said I think Jennings is right about the 15th best point guard though I’d say he’s somewhere between 15th to 17th and he could be higher if he plays a little better and/or Rose, Westbrook and Rondo do not come back or do not come back right this season.   

            We are going in circles here.  You are not accepting that all 30 players you project as starters will not all be healthy this season.   They weren’t healthy last season.   Your assumption that there are seven superstars and seven fringe stars which weights the average and away from the medium is therefore at least a little off in my view because it fails to reflect last season and will likely fail to reflect the coming season.   Further, you are also not addressing how the weight shift created by one team starting say the 55th best point also impacts the idea of who is an average starting point guard.    I fundamentally disagree with your saying there is more difference between the 1rst best and 15th best and the 15th best and 30th best for this reason.  There is more difference between the 1rst best and 15th and the 15th best and 30th best but not between the 15th best and the 55th best because it is the difference between competence and total incompetence.    I also think the value of a superstar point guard these days takes the edge off the word superstar because even the best point guard in the league doesn’t necessarily dominate every night since even going by your definition of an average point guard, the superstar is actually either playing another superstar or fringe star as often as not.  I do think Jennings belongs with the fringe stars along with Kemba Walker.    

            I can see why Aaron Brooks is a joke to you although the last time he played 30 minutes or more which wasn’t long ago, he clearly was not a joke.  I don’t understand why Ridnour is a joke because he is extremely efficient and reliable and is certainly an upgrade over Knight or Chalmers.   To this point, when Ridnour was backing up Jennings, his numbers were better than Jennings and he was worth more in fantasy.   He also has started a decent number of games in the past couple of years and has started with Rubio pretty often when Rubio was healthy.  I’d add Jack as another point guard that is better than at least a few current starters and all of the best backups you named. 

            I looked at 2 of the first lists that came up after googling top nba players for 2013.  I skipped Hollinger cause his list is just about PER and has players like Dalambert in the top 50.  Anyway, both lists had 14 point guards among the top 50 players overall.    Also, ESPN’s projected best fantasy players which was posted on July 15th has 16 point guards in the top 39–Jennings is 28th btw and is one slot ahead of Derrick Rose.    Brandon Jennings finished 30th overall and 10th among point guards on the player rater last season.   I know fantasy doesn’t prove anything but it’s not entirely meaningless in terms of reflecting the pecking order since it is based on pure numbers.    

            One question:  What percentage of players who put up 17.5 and 6.5 all time do you think you wouldn’t classify as stars?    

      • Aug 1, 20139:29 am
        by I HATE FRANK

        Reply

        “”Fringe stars–definitely better than Jennings:
        Irving, Lawson, Conley, Rubio, Holiday, Lillard, Wall”"

        irving – YES
        Lawson – Even
        Conley – EVEN
        Rubio – NO
        Holiday – YES
        Lillard – EVEN
        Wall – Even/ but Has a Higher Ceiling

        Why NO to Rubio to Wall - Rubio REALLY cant shoot, and he doesnt score, his assist-To-ratio isnt much, much better than Jennings, and Rubio  doesnt defend.

        All of the EVEN – If you put Jennings on those teams he’s probably produse similar number … Lawson played with Iggy and Gallanari , Conley played with Randolph, and Gasol, Lillard played with Aldridge and Batum .

        • Aug 1, 201311:29 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Ummm… Rubio is considered one of the best defensive PGs in the game. He would probably come in third behind Rondo and Westbrook.

          Quick question: how much do you think the other GMs would laugh if Dumars called them and offered them Jennings for Lawson, Conley, Lillard, or Wall straight up? 

          • Aug 1, 201312:21 pm
            by Huddy

            Conley is similar statistically (better FG%), older, on a better team (affects shot selection fg% etc.), and has a similar contract to what Jennings signed so while I think Memphis keeps him because his contract is a good value (makes Jennings contract look better too) and he fits the team well plus current chemistry, but I don’t think he is a tier better.
            Lillard would be a laugh mostly because of youth/contract/potential but as far as production and comparing their level of play in a single year I think Jennings is close in actual production and ability and Lillard is aided by a better supporting cast.  
             
            For a guy like Rubio he doesn’t have to be on par in a trade scenario to be in the same tier of production for the season (if it was based on trade value I think the tiers would change).

          • Aug 1, 20131:57 pm
            by tarsier

            Obviously it’s not really based on trade value, but Conley and Jennings are on basically the same contract, so the fact that Memphis wouldn’t even consider that trade (and Pistons fans would rejoice about it) should tell you something.

            I’ll concede that in the case of Lillard, I am not basing this purely on last year’s production. He was a rookie so he is more likely to be getting a bump in production than a guy who has 4 years behind him. But Lillard was only slightly better than Jennings last year.

            Wall and Rubio both have health concerns, but, when playing, are way better than Jennings. Incidentally, Rubio’s percentages are 36/32/80 to Jennings’ 39/35/81 which is only slightly worse. And he gets to the line twice as much as Jennings: 0.47 fta/fga to 0.23.

        • Aug 1, 201311:44 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          If Jennings were considered to be as good as those guys you described as even to him, there is no way he wouldn’t be offered much more than $8M/yr. And there is no way that Milwaukee completes the trade (since they already got rid of Ellis anyway and no longer have fit problems) unless they are just in love with Knight.

          Now, it’s possible that you just see Jennings’ talent better than anyone and realize how incredible he really is. But I wouldn’t bet on your evaluation being better than popular opinion or the market set by the GMs. But at least we should be able to agree that the rest of the world does not consider Jennings to be as good as those guys.

  • Jul 31, 20135:29 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Check this out. Brandon Jennings ” Is it Destiny” LOL

     http://www.chatsports.com/detroit-pistons/a/A-young-Brandon-Jennings-rocks-Grant-Hills-throwback-Detroit-Pistons-jersey-Photo-Ball-Dont-Lie-1-8240177

    Also Born on the year the Pistons won their first NBA Championship 1989.

  • Jul 31, 20135:46 pm
    by Ryan Kelly

    Reply

    Having stuckey is even worse now.   Jennings is a bit wild we know.  Stuckey is even more wild and a much worse shooter.   He needs to be traded as soon as possible.   Wow. I really hope kcp or Chauncey start with Jennings.   If stuckey is out in there it will be the worst shooting team in the league by far. 

  • Jul 31, 20136:26 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    Brandon was a great guy but, oh well Welcome to Detroit Brandon Jennings. Brandon Knight is an enemy now lol. Anyways we are really going to miss him. I can’t wait to see Bucks vs Pistons. :)

      

    • Aug 1, 20138:55 am
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      are you going to rename yourself “Brandon Jennings”?

  • Jul 31, 20137:35 pm
    by Ozzie-Moto

    Reply

    Hey if you just root for Brandon, you good past and present 
     

  • Jul 31, 20137:55 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    This is pretty simple: the pistons traded a young point guard for a better young point guard, and the only additional cost was two benchwarmers. One of the good things JoD had done in the last year was get the team to a place where basically everyone was worth something as a trade asset, whether for contract or ability reasons. But you can’t play 15 mediocre trade assets, and making a 3 for 1 trade for a better starter than anyone we have up is clearly a positive move. Even if Jennings is no better than a competent, average starting point guard, that’s way better than we had.  If we can be average at the perimeter positions with Moose/Dre/Smith up front, that team is making the playoffs. And it’s about time. Moode and Dre need to start making the playoffs.

    • Jul 31, 201310:18 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      If it wasn’t for the difference in price, this would be 100% true (assuming you believe that Jennings is and will continue to be a better player than Knight–which I do).

      As it is, it’s still mostly true. 

  • Jul 31, 20139:57 pm
    by jamesjones_det

    Reply

    @Jameson Draper - I don’t know where you think all of our scoring options are?  Drummond isn’t going to turn into this offensive juggernaut overnight (and I doubt ever).  Next add you have a rookie shooting guard who has trouble handling the ball and who knows if he can score at the NBA level (Summer League proves nothing).  This all says you need a 3rd scoring option which Jennings CAN give you.  
     
    Jennings avg 6.5 AST on a team with two scoring options, my guess is he can at least avg that here if not more.  He may not always be past first but neither is Rose or Westbrook and they find their teammates often enough while creating havoc in the lane.  Jennings isn’t Rose or Westbrook but he can avg the same AST numbers while still causing havoc.

  • Aug 1, 20139:37 am
    by Trevor

    Reply

    Not sure why everyone talks about Knight’s defense as a plus.  The first half of the season, when he played point guard, he was easily blown by as most points are much quicker than he is.  I’m not saying Jennings is better (or even as good) as Knight defensively, but to give Knight so much credit when it comes to defense is a little mystifying to me.  
    Jennings has the potential to be a monster play maker if he adjusts his game a little bit.  Hopefully he’ll be willing to let his point total drop and raise his assist level.  That’s obviously a huge question mark though, given his well-known attitude issues.  Not to mention that he has the ability to take over a game if needed, which is something the Pistons did not have on the roster before the trade. 
    We added 2 other teams’ best players to our best players.  It may or may not work out, but there is certainly potential to be very good with this collection of talent (with more room to add via trade or next off-season).

    • Aug 1, 201311:49 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Everyone defending PGs gets blown by. Give me one example of a guy who doesn’t. That is an inevitability when so far from the basket.

      A good defender, though, can control where the PG who gets by him goes and rarely give him enough space to get off an easy shot.

      • Aug 2, 20133:29 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        Gary Payton in his prime. 

    • Aug 1, 201312:06 pm
      by jamesjones_det

      Reply

      I heard all this talk years about about Jerry Stackhouse and RIP Hamilton.  Guess what?  It turned out RIP was a pretty good defender, he just played for a crap team.  As of now I would say Knight and Jennings are equal (Knight wasn’t that good of a defender folks lets be real).  Lets see what Jennings does if he believes he has a chance to win, then I will judge.

      • Aug 1, 20132:05 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Rip wasn’t even that good of a defender in Detroit. He just didn’t need to be.

        • Aug 1, 20133:44 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          Jennings teams have always had much better defensive numbers than Knight’s have.  Maybe Jennings is smarter about how to let get players drive by him than people think.    He is used to playing with high volume shot blockers like Bogut and Sanders.  

          • Aug 1, 20135:36 pm
            by tarsier

            And maybe Nash is too and Ellis. And maybe the experts don’t actually have a clue about basketball compared to your vast wealth of knowledge.

          • Aug 2, 20131:11 am
            by Max

            Jennings has started for elite defensive teams.  His first two years in the league his teams finished 2nd and 4th in defensive efficiency.    Nash and Ellis have never been on teams that finished nearly so high and my point was that, whatever Jennings’ deficiencies are, he and his team found a way to still be great overall on defense.  Jennings has played with some great shot blockers and isn’t totally clueless about how to play with them.   I used to love watching the Bucks with Bogut.

          • Aug 2, 20131:12 am
            by Max

            And what experts are you talking about?  

  • Aug 1, 20139:41 pm
    by grizz

    Reply

    So Knight’s problem he was too stubborn about playing PG? Are some Piston website writers around here too stubborn about thinking of themselves as journalists? All the best to both Brandon’s …

  • Aug 1, 20139:46 pm
    by grizz

    Reply

    So Knight’s problem was he is too stubborn about playing PG? Is some Piston website writer around here too stubborn about thinking of himself as a journalist? I would hope any NBA player worth a darn would believe in himself and want to play the position he was best suited for, especially after only 1 and a half seasons at PG with a half azzed coach who was fired. All the best to both Brandon’s …

    • Aug 2, 201310:44 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Give me a reason, other than his height, that Knight is best suited to playing PG.

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