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ESPN gives Pistons B+ for Brandon Jennings-Brandon Knight trade

Kevin Pelton of ESPN graded the Pistons-Bucks trade, and he gave the Pistons a B+ (and the Bucks a B-):

As with the Josh Smith signing earlier this summer, the potential problems for the Pistons center more on fit than talent. Detroit suddenly has a lot of players who operate best with the ball in their hands, and a spot-up shooter like Knight seemed like a better complement to the frontcourt trio of Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond than an isolation point guard like Jennings.

On a more positive note, Jennings is hardly a non-shooter; per Synergy Sports his effective field-goal percentage on spot-up attempts (.492) wasn’t much worse than Knight’s mark (.516). And both Jennings’ greatest strength (taking care of the basketball) and weakness (inaccurate shooting, especially in the paint) fit well with the Pistons’ big lineup. Detroit has an excellent chance of rebounding those misses, which isn’t possible with turnovers.

Joe Dumars has upgraded Detroit’s lineup this offseason without getting substantially older. A core of Jennings (23), Monroe (23) and Drummond (who doesn’t turn 20 until next month) has plenty of upside, and even Smith is just 27. Dumars is certainly taking a risk that these pieces will fit together, but if nothing else the 2013-14 Pistons will be a fascinating experiment. Compared to the extended run of boring mediocrity since the dissolution of the 2004 champions, I think the effort is worth it.

I believe Brandon Jennings can fill the spot-up role about as well as Brandon Knight, but I’m not as convinced Jennings is content to stand near the 3-point arc and away from the action for most of a possession like Knight was. Regardless, the Pistons need Jennings to be a playmaker, anyway.

As Pelton implies, a spot-up shooter will help create space for a Josh Smith-Greg Monroe-Andre Drummond frontline. That duty will likely fall primarily on the starting shooting guard – whether it’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (my early guess at the player who wins the job), Chauncey Billups or Kyle Singler.

Just because Jennings might downgrade the Pistons’ spot-up shooting, as Pelton says, there’s a lot more to like about the trade.


  • Jul 31, 20138:37 pm
    by labatts


    Its funny, because I have perused some of the national articles, and in general, the people who post responses on those articles (not sure how representative of the at large fanbase they are) are happy of the trade.  This is true of Pistons fans AND Buck fans.  Most of the Bucks fans actually seem thrilled to be rid of Jennings.

    • Jul 31, 201310:52 pm
      by tarsier


      That’s pretty much the reaction whenever teams swap disappointing prospects.

      • Jul 31, 201311:16 pm
        by gmehl


        The interesting thing to view is the reaction by Bucks fans in receiving Knight. From what i’ve read none are too thrilled to have him but most comments are that they are glad to be rid of Jennings.

  • Jul 31, 20139:05 pm
    by brandow


    i dont know why but i have a feeling that brandon knight will have a breakout season with the bucks. on the other hand i think jennings will be able to be a playmaker because now he has teamates that he can pass to and can score off the assist.

    • Aug 1, 20134:23 am
      by mike


      idk why either. Nothing to suggest Knight is a starting PG. I could see it at UK. He’s got the Stuckey-itis. Plays almost identical in terms of PG skills. Solid combo guards off the bench to come in and score, but thats it imo

  • Jul 31, 20139:07 pm
    by Vote for Dumbars


    you have to understand and this is something bucks fans don’t get… Bucks had no front court talent that jennings could dish to in the four years he was there… they got to playoffs last year based on his, monta ellis, and jj redicks scoring last year.

  • Jul 31, 20139:45 pm
    by jamesjones_det


    Turnovers is the biggest reason I like this trade.  Knight was just way too TO pron for my liking.  Shooting wise I think they are fairly even based at what each team had to work with last year.
    As far as the headaches?  That seems to depend on how happy the player is most of the time, but that’s probably the biggest unknown here.

  • Jul 31, 20139:46 pm
    by Crispus


    Yeeeaah booyeeee. Joe Dumars has awoken from his slumber. Let’s all hope for the best and enjoy the ride.

  • Jul 31, 201310:49 pm
    by Paul Williams


    I like this trade a lot. At the VERY least, the Pistons will be greatly entertaining to watch. With as much talent as is on this team, there’s no reason we shouldn’t make the playoffs. An added bonus: Detroit’s gonna be a hella good squad on NBA2K14.

  • Jul 31, 201310:49 pm
    by Blocks by Dre


    I wasn’t for this move earlier, but I’m warming up to it. We got to keep Moose and Dre while upgrading at PG…I’m OK with this. Now we just need a starting SG or hope KCP gets it together quick

  • Jul 31, 201311:07 pm


    I am hoping Jennings can be like Marbury was for the Suns

  • Jul 31, 201311:10 pm
    by gmehl


    I have a feeling that this team will be getting out at running waaaay before the other team has a chance to slow us down into a half court and plug the lane. I mean we won’t be like the mid-2000 Phoenix Suns but a lot faster paced that’s for sure. What i am trying to get at is the shooting issues everyone is talking about might not be as bad as everyone thinks they will be if we can get quick buckets in the shot clock.

    • Aug 1, 201312:20 am
      by Anthony Jordan


      That’s something that I have been saying as well. This team has the making of a team like Miami. A good run-and-gun team that gets the bulk of its scoring on fast breaks. It also helps having Chauncey here to kind of slow the pace down at times when we need a half court set.

  • Jul 31, 201311:30 pm
    by dvs33


    jennings is just living off hype.
    He’s an inefficient chucker with a diva attitude. Unless something spectacular happens and he gets over himself, i can’t see this ending well for Detroit.
    I don’t like the move at all.

    • Aug 1, 201312:20 am
      by gmehl


      “Unless something spectacular happens and he gets over himself”

      What? something like not getting the 12mil per year like he wanted and then getting traded to a team with the largest front court in the NBA. If Pope, GiGi, Singler and CV can hit there outside shots at a reasonable clip I can see Jennings up his assist total to just under 10apg. There is no doubt whatsoever Dumars and Cheeks will be telling Jennings that we don’t need him to score 20ppg but rather more in the vicinity of 14-15. This is a make or break 3 years for Jennings and if he shows he can be more of a ball distributer he will go a long way to securing a bigger and better deal the next time he hits free agency.

    • Aug 1, 20134:38 am
      by mike


      Maybe you need to get over yourself (or get over your man crush on Knight) if that’s why you’re upset about this trade.

  • Aug 1, 201312:22 am
    by Just Sayin'


    Blog Coming!! Jennings as floor general? Nah..CB is going to be a coach on the floor similar to Bill Russell implementing Mo’s design (which God knows what that will be…wish we had Phil Jackson or even Brian Shaw to figure this squad out!); Sheed will help Monroe, and Drummond…I am hoping that Josh Smith can taper his ego to be coached. Jennings does not strike me as ideal..I sincerely believe i would have opted for Gary Neal & Beno Udrih (still available) and played guard by committee until landing a “Bad Boy.”. In the end I think our “wild cards,” that I hope “pan out” are going to be Gigi Datome, Tony Mitchell, and KCP. We have overlooked the fact that if Gigi can adapt to the physicality of the NBA; Mitchell can get in NBA shape and becoming a student of game…and KCP being groomed by guards we have a group coupled with the tenacity of Siva may be our future…In the present!! This team has a future undoubtedly better than the last few seasons.. Its time for us to determine who our best lineups are..as a functioning unit whilst getting our younger players some minutes..We eventually will  get strength at the small forward position via trade or molding out talent..I do not think Josh Smith’s game fits this squad..but we shall see.. i think he will shine at power forward with smaller size lineups, and will be better than average at small forward against a squad like Indiana..We are stacked with potential but nothing has been accomplished. Next year we will have the cash for another “stud” or at least the ability to sign our existing stud! Monroe will need to be signed! As it stands I think Jennings since he is here we must look at the best possible starters and play them…and we need to play our roster to find out who is who and who will play well with who..this will be tough.
    Matchups will be key…How do you like them?

    Hibbert & West, Lopez & Garnett, Noah & Boozer, Bosh & Haslem battle Drummond & Monroe..
    Josh Smith on Danny Granger-Paul Pierce, Luol Deng & Lebron? ..
    But.. Paul George & George Hill, Joe Johnson & Derron Williams, Butler & Rose, Wade & Chalmers are defended by Jennings and the rest of the gang?  That’s cute!! Looking at those match ups I would stongly urge the pistons to see what Datome, KCP, and even Siva and Mitchell have in them right away..because you desperately need a diamond in the rough..and a my money is Datome and KCP!
    And yes we still have Charlie V to find a home for…and yes we are hoping we can trade Jonas or Charlie for pizza…Although Charlie is not “bad” his contract is “bogus,” as the style of play is for Jonas! Stuckey at 6’5 maybe able to find a role with this team..Unless of course we can “off him as well.”

  • Aug 1, 20132:47 am
    by Max


    Jennings vs Pistons from last year.   


  • Aug 1, 20132:51 am
    by Some Dude


    KCP needs to start. He doesn’t have to do much, just spot up and shoot. He’s a better option than Stuckey any day. Plus his speed, defense, and athleticism will benefit greatly working with Jennings. KCP is quick in the open floor, so him, Jennings, and Smith will be a high flying fast-break show. A lot of easy buckets to be had, and will look good on KCP stat line.

    • Aug 1, 20138:03 am
      by I HATE FRANK


      honestly Our who starting line up is pretty fast getting up and down the floor,

      and Billups is better served coming off the bench

    • Aug 1, 20138:21 am
      by MrBlockedShot


      Couldn’t agree more. KCP will bring size, defense and outside shooting, things Stuckey lacks badly. As you said, he complements perfeclty with Jennings. But let’s see how things go for KCP and Sruckey before the season starts. Anyway, wouldn’t like to see a Jennings-Billups or Jennings-Stuckey starting backcourt.

      • Aug 1, 201311:12 am
        by Huddy


        I think if people are worried about ball dominance and ego with Jennings it is even more important to have KCP start.  Pairing Jennings with Billups or Stuckey reminds me too much of the struggle between Jennings and Monta.  Jennings should play better with KCP because he can spot up and slash letting Jennings handle the PG role alone, which should make him more likely to distribute as opposed to trying to force it to compete with another PG talent like Billups or Stuckey.

        • Aug 1, 20138:48 pm
          by oats


          Billups played SG next to Chris Paul. Yes, he has PG skills and can dominate the ball, but he is also very capable playing as a spot up shooter.

  • Aug 1, 20139:12 am
    by Crispus


     According to rumors, if we really wanted to, we might be able to get Kravtsov back. 

  • Aug 1, 201311:05 am
    by Slap Dog Hoops (SDH)


    That’s pretty fair and I disagree with the author’s opinion that Brandon Knight would have been a better option that Jennings–far from it,  Knight was never a real facilitator and more of a short 2 guard trhat a real PG whereas Brandon Jennings gives Detroit the PG that they have been searching since Dumar foolishly gave up Chauncey Billups for a broken down Allen Iverson. 

  • Aug 1, 201311:17 am
    by sebastian


    Who does Chauncey like playing with most: Stuckey or Aaron Afflalo?

    Those of you, who listened to Chauncey’s or read the transcript of the signing press conference, a couple of weeks, ago; surprisingly to many Chauncey seemed to go out of his way to speak of his days playing with Stuckey and how he will like playing with my boy, Stuckey, again. These comments even surprised me, President of the Rodney Stuckey Fan Club and the Grand Poobah of the Rodney Stuckey Reclamation Project.

    Couple the comments about playing with Stuckey with the statement that Chauncey made about not wanting to play shooting guard, while with the Clippers. Also, during Chauncey’s press conference he spoke about being a Point Guard …that the Point Guard position is his position of choice, skill, and mentality.

    Could the future GM have had a hand in orchestrating the B. Knight, Middleton, the Ukraine for B. Jennings trade? Could it be that Chauncey saw it better to move B. Knight for a “true” point guard, indeed the only PG who could have been acquired via current CBA transaction rules and availability, at this time?

    I don’t think that Chauncey is done, yet.

    I could see Chauncey going to Joe’s office with the idea to move Stuckey, straight-up for Afflalo.

    Why would Orlando make this trade? They would get a player who can play with the ball in their hands. Currently, smallish and getting older Jameer Nelson is the only PG on the Magic roster. Nelson is a back-up PG, truth be told.

    Stuckey will give them a guy in the final year of his contract, which will appeal to the Magic. He gets them out of the Aaron Afflalo contract (3 yrs/$7.75 million remaining), a very manageable contract no doubt but it is a contract that the Magic did not originally sign (Nuggets). They get a player, who pairs better with Oladipo.

    How interested, really, is the Magic with Afflalo? He’s only played one season with the organization and missed the final 16 games, or so.

    Read the Magic blogs, if you have a moment. Their fans don’t particularly care for Afflalo, like many Pistons fans don’t care for Stuckey.

    Why would Chauncey (ah, the Pistons) want to add Afflalo to the roster and remove Stuckey.

    Think about it, Chauncey has played with Afflalo longer than he has with Stuckey. Chaunce played with Afflalo, as a Piston and a Nugget. He has witness the fruits of Afflalo’s labor.

    Chauncey does not want to play shooting guard. He does not want to share minutes with Stuckey at the PG position. Chauncey may be willing to play as the 6th-man, relieving B. Jennings.

    Chauncey, again, is more familiar than Joe is, with the player, Aaron Afflalo.

    And, as much as I like, KCP and the drafting of KCP, WE can’t expect this kid to be the only “true” shooting guard on the roster.

    Trading Stuckey for Afflalo looks like the next and final move.

  • Aug 1, 201312:10 pm
    by FutureMogul


    lol funny how I predicted all of this shit (billups, jennings) and everyone shunned it. Now ESPN is giving it a B+ and the crowd goes wild.

    Well actually, I also predicted Gay for Villa/Stuckey but that almost happened (and still could)

    But now I actually dont want Gay because he just cant shoot and having Stuckey & CV on the bench is way more valuable. I also had to realize its only so many splash moves a GM can make in one summer before it resembles a video game franchise mode.

    So the summer so far deserves an A+. WHY? BECAUSE what better moves could we have made? Dwight Howard, Rondo, CP3?…. EXACTLY! This summer deserves an A+ because there werent any better moves that could have been made. Calderon might have fit better and came way cheaper but then again, he’s 8 years older than BJennings. Millsap? On the decline and wouldnt even start. Teague? Doesnt sell fix. M Ellis? lol that’d be Ben Gordon vol2. 

    With the lineup we have (and hopefully another bench rebounder/blocker) Detroit has the most versatile team in the league AND I wouldnt be suprised if Pistons are top 4 teams in the league in 2 years

  • Aug 1, 20131:39 pm
    by BooG


    I would give the Pistons an A grade so far. Josh Smith was the 3rd best free agent. Chauncey was a great veteran pickup & Detroit loves him. Datome is a mystery but I see him contributing based on videos I’ve seen. We need shooters. Re-signing Bynum was good for having some continuity because he gels so well with Drummond & Monroe. And signing Jennings was very nice. He’s better than Knight RIGHT now which in case you guys didn’t notice is what Tom Gores wants. But the biggest thing is, Dumars has managed to hold on to his 2 best trade assets (Stuckey & Charlie V) AND still have us in position to get another quality player in free agency next year with at least $10 Mil in cap space. I’m almost certain Dumars isn’t done either. Siva should get signed soon & he’ll bring in a veteran big man. You can’t deny that the handcuffs have been removed so Dumars can really make things happen. People seem to forget ALL the savvy moves he made to build a championship contender. I remember people hating the sign & trade deal when we got Atkins & Ben Wallace. People hated the Stackhouse signing then wasn’t too geeked about trading him for Rip Hamilton. Even the Chauncey signing was questioned. People didn’t like the Tayshaun draft pick at first. And people were skeptical about the Rasheed signing which ended up being BRILLIANT. People were questioning Sheed’s attitude & if he could co-exist with our players. He turned out to be the missing piece to the puzzle. 2 Finals appearances. If not for ownership putting cuffs on him due to the pending sale of the team, I’m sure things would’ve went a lot differently. Dumars did the best he could with LIMITED resources. Thank goodness he’s drafted well the last 4 years. That was the only knock on Dumars early on. Now it seems like he’s balanced out between drafting & making good trades/signings. I’m looking forward to more quality moves by Dumars. I have faith in him & everyone else in Detroit should too! We will make the playoffs this year. And I think we can get as high as the 5th seed. Miami, Indians, Chicago & Brooklyn are locks in my opinion. I think Knicks will drop off some. Atlanta will too. Most likely we’ll get the 6th or 7th seed but I’m hoping we shock the league by grabbing the 5th seed. I’m very optimistic & love seeing my Pistons make some noise again! GO PISTONS!!!!

  • Aug 1, 20132:20 pm
    by Corey


    The roster is really coming together. It’s shocking how much it’s improved – even without, as you said, giving up the big expiring contracts.  I’m so glad of this Jennings trade, because it removes any chance we’ll trade for Rondo and take on Gerald Wallace’s expiring contract. That would mean paying $20m+/year just for a point guard, effectively – salary cap doom.

    As it stands, we have a real point guard, 3 excellent big men (counting Josh Smith here), a lottery pick SG, and Singler and Datome at SF.  The only real questions left are on the wing. If KCP pans out, SG is locked down for the forseeable future. And given his athleticism and skill set, it would be a shock if he can’t at LEAST be a good 3&D guy in a limited role – which will expand as he gains experience.

    So then the question is SF – and here we have Smith, Datome, and Singler. We know Singler is a good backup SF, although not really starter material.  If Datome pans out to be starter-level, basically the entire roster is set – with $10m in cap space next year after resigning Monroe.  And if we manage to trade Stuckey/CV for a starting caliber wing before then, so much the better. After further thought, we could still use a wing who can both handle the ball and shoot 3′s.  That’s probably the only piece missing now.

  • Aug 1, 20132:35 pm
    by Carl


    How about going after Stephen Jackson or Daniel Gibson for cheap outside shooting help. 

  • Aug 2, 20139:55 am
    by G


    Oddly enough, losing Middleton was the worst part of this trade for me. I like Jennings over Knight & I think Jennings will have the better career by far, but I didn’t like seeing Middleton go. Still, I now feel like we have a VERY watchable team.

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