how much were his teammates to blame?
Let’s examine, using the combined effective field goal percentage, which accounts for the increased value of three-pointers, of Jennings’ four most common floormates.
Last season, they were Monta Ellis, Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Dunleavy and Sanders.
For the Pistons this season, I project they’ll be Smith, Monroe, Drummond and one of Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey, Kyle Singler or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. I use last year’s stats for this group, but because Caldwell-Pope is a rookie, that doesn’t work. Fortunately, Singler’s rookie-year shooting stats seem like a reasonable approximation of Caldwell-Pope’s, so they’re interchangeable here.
? 2013-14 Pistons (with Billups): 50.6
? 2013-14 Pistons (with Singler or Caldwell-Pope): 50.0
? 2012-13 Bucks: 49.3
? 2013-14 Pistons (with Stuckey): 49.1
So Jennings is right. He should play with more efficient scorers this season, as long as Stuckey doesn’t spend too much time with the Pistons’ top lineup. (Please, Maurice Cheeks, don’t start Stuckey.)
However — and this is a huge “however” — Jennings’ four most common floormates two seasons ago had a combined effective field goal percentage of 50.7 — better than all of the Pistons combinations —and Jennings had an even higher usage percentage.
Three seasons ago, Jennings’ four most common floormates had an effective field goal percentage of 47.7, a poor mark. Jennings posted a career-low in shots per minute.
Four seasons ago, Jennings’ four most common floormates had a solid effective field goal percentage of 50.0. Jennings had the highest usage rate of his career.
To this point, Jennings’ gunning has been teammate-agnostic.
Jennings is trying to sell that he’s always been the same player, one smart enough to shoot when he’s better than his teammates and pass when he’s not. That would be great for the Pistons, because it’s always risky relying on players to improve.
But I don’t buy it.
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