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Brandon Jennings says Pistons could become Lob City, pledges to change his game

Aug 6, 2013, 3:10 PM EDT

Brandon Jennings, Joe Dumars

As he sat down for his new conference to introduce Brandon Jennings, Joe Dumars muttered, “Oh my god.”

I don’t know what Dumars was referring to at that moment, but I cant think of a better way to describe the experiment he’s conducting with the Pistons.

Jennings at point guard with Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in a supersized front court.

Oh my god.

“We could bring the Lob City to Detroit this year,” Jennings said.

Or they could be a mish-mash of talent, too undeveloped and/or too stubborn to fit together. Or anything between.

Either way, Dumars succeeded in significantly upgrading Detroit’s talent level this summer, a necessary step as he enters the final year of his contract while serving as general manager for an owner whose impatience for making the playoffs is showing. When the Clippers dubbed themselves Lob City, they had championship dreams. The Pistons’ goals are much more modest, merely reaching the postseason after missing it the last four seasons.

That’s a sad state for the Pistons, a franchise with three championships in the last 25 years. The goal in Detroit has never been a title ever year, but challenging to make the playoffs – the way Dumars phrased it today – sounds relatively pathetic.

But after four pathetic seasons – really five, counting a 39-43 year that resulted in an especially lopsided first-round sweep – this is where the Pistons are. It’s too soon to aim higher, but with the talent the Pistons now have, it’s at least possible to see this road leading to, with the absolute right breaks, reasonable discussions of championships.

Jennings, who cited the Pistons’ multiple titles, must understand this, though he brushed off an attempt to tie himself to the Pistons’ previous greatness. Asked about the Bad Boys shirt he wore to the Drew League, Jennings said, “I just liked the shirt. That’s all.”

Dumars, the shooting guard on those 1989 and 1990 championship teams, patted Jennings on the back – a playful threat. The threat to Dumars’ job is a little more real, and he’s hoping for a pat on the back from Pistons owner Tom Gores after the season.

For that to happen, the Pistons probably have to make the playoffs. For that to happen, Jennings probably must refine his game, something most gunners aren’t inclined to do.

“You’re going to see a whole different player,” Jennings said. “…I definitely have to change my game.”

Oh?

“The things that I was doing in Milwaukee, I won’t have to do here, take all the bad shots,” Jennings said. “Now, I can just actually be myself and be who I was five years ago when I was in high school, playing AAU basketball.”

As he spoke about the need to become a different player, Jennings said, “Of course, I have that chip on my shoulder.”

Again, championship aspirations remain very distant in Detroit. But there’s still a strong connection there with both the Bad Boys – the NBA’s ultimate castoff team – and 2004 championship team, which featured Chauncey Billups (bounced between the Celtics, Raptors, Nuggets, Magic and Timberwolves before finding a home in Detroit), Richard Hamilton (judged by Michael Jordan to lack the proper winning attitude), Tayshaun Prince (fell to No. 23 in the draft despite a standout Kentucky career), Rasheed Wallace (kicked out of Portland for being a bad seed) and Ben Wallace (undrafted and cut by the Celtics).

Did Dumars target players like Smith and Jennings, because they’re viewed as having an edge about themselves?

“We’re not afraid to go down that road,” Dumars said. “That doesn’t dissuade us at all from going up to guys like that. As a matter of fact, we like guys like that.”

Jennings gives the Pistons a better point guard than Brandon Knight, and that’s the most important reason he’s on the team. But Jennings also gives Dumars a chance to save his job with his type type of player. The Pistons have aligned themselves on a course that has worked for them in the past.

Nationally, the Pistons’ season is about really talented players trying to make it work together. Locally, the season is about Dumars’ attempt to keep his job.

Jennings makes both storylines a lot more intriguing.

  1. fredbavre - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Wtf is he talking about? He was asked to throw up tons of bad shots in Milwaukee? Really? Smh

    • 4thehaters - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      Who were the other options on Milwaukee? Ellis? Anyone else? Heck, they still made the playoffs. When was the last time Mil made the playoffs?

      • bugsygod - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        ^^^ his name says it all “fredbavre”

      • biasedhomer - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:15 PM

        They made the playoffs with a losing record, how is that impressive? Only weakens your argument.

        And even when they got a better shooter in JJ Reddick, Jennings still made some horrible passes. Larry Sanders is also a pretty good player, but he needs a PG that can pass and set him up.

      • cbt22 - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        They made the playoffs in the 09-10 season and took Atlanta to game 7.

      • fredgb21 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:47 PM

        He had more options than B. Knight and the 5 rookies he had to play with while being yanked around the lineup. And to this day Knight has 4 times fewer NBA starts at PG than Jennings has.

    • tyreice - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:21 PM

      lob city with gerg gone larry sanders here yes lob city

  2. antihypocritz - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    There is a less than .1% chance that the Pistons DON’T make the playoffs. Does Dan Feldman know that they play in the Eastern Conference?

  3. pack93z - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    “The things that I was doing in Milwaukee, I won’t have to do here, take all the bad shots,”

    I haven’t been one to hop on the get “down” on Jennings.. but that statement is hog wash.

    What happened the last couple seasons in BrewTown have to do with having two guards competing for shots.. instead of moving the ball around. I think Brandon forgot he had shooters on the wings like Dunleavy, Reddick, Ersan and Carlos.. or inside game like Bogut, Harris or Sanders (albeit he has limited range).

    Had to take bad shots.. how about this Jennings.. let your actions speak, not your words. We shall see.

  4. bugsygod - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    LOL..Negative Dan strikes again! Its pathetic to want to make the playoffs? How bout that is realistic. You have to first crawl before you can walk, Dumars has put together a team that Most think will be a playoff team in the East. At no point has he said he is done building the team to Championship level. Championships take time, I mean did you think after one good summer they would be title contenders?? Come on Dan, give credit where credit is due, Dumars has had a great Summer. I would rather you talk about how the offennse will work or what type of defense they are set up to play. This constant constant worrying about Dumars job is tiresome. Talk about the TEAM! From Cheeks interviews, he said he wants uptempo team that generates turnovers. With this athletic team i think that style of D will work. The offense has now got a creative play-maker to set up all these bigs. Thats what i look forward to, not this constant writing “Dumars last year in contract”, “Dumars is going forward this year”, “Dumars is looking to save his job”. I could give a ish about Dumars, I want the team to Win and Yes make the playoffs.

  5. bugsygod - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    I guess the Pistons should take the approach of the Thunder or the Pacers. Oh thats right neither of those team has won a title…EVER! But the Pistons have. Men Lie, Women Lie….Numbers don’t.

  6. bugsygod - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Ooops hope i dont get banned on this site…

  7. khendraghane - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    I’ve stopped taking this kid seriously since he predicted “Bucks in six”.

    • 4thehaters - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      What’s wrong with being confident in your team, that you can win?

  8. khendraghane - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    I’ve stopped taking this kid seriously since he predicted “Bucks in six”..

  9. bougin89 - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    This is the definition of someone ‘not getting it':

    “The things that I was doing in Milwaukee, I won’t have to do here, take all the bad shots,” Jennings said. “Now, I can just actually be myself and be who I was five years ago when I was in high school, playing AAU basketball.”

    • fredgb21 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      Agreed

    • jruc - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      No, you’re actually not getting it. As a Brandon Jennings fan since HIGH SCHOOL and AAU, I get it. He was much more conservative, shared the ball a lot more, and has great passing skills. He is admitting that he has gotten away from that when he went to the Bucks. Why? Nobody knows but him and that organization. Monte Ellis is very well known as a highly talented SG that HOGS THE BALL. SG! Skill-wise I like Ellis a lot but that’s the truth. When you have the SG jacking up shots and you believe in yourself enough you will start jacking up shots too. It’s not right but sometimes people react to things the wrong way. Name a point guard that has ever reached elite status while playing with Kobe (this coming from a Kobe fan). With that said, I believe that in Milwaukee the problem was they both wanted to be the star and that Jennings did not like the fact that Ellis would sometimes try to do his job for him. Even if they didn’t have any personal beef, on the court, two players who are highly skilled and think highly of themselves aren’t gonna work if it’s at the guard position. Jennings is the same kid who chose his Bucks in 6 vs. the Heat. His confidence in himself and his team is OBVIOUSLY through the roof and that’s what we need in Detroit. I’ve said that we need Jennings to go back to his old roots. To hear him say it is a plus to me. I’ve also said that I want to see us go back to the “Bad Boys” mentality or at least something like it because that’s the only time we win. Glad to see that Dumars may have been thinking the same thing….

      • bougin89 - Aug 9, 2013 at 11:36 AM

        So you claim I don’t get it, yet you blame Ellis for Jennings chucking? Skiles tried relentlessly to get him to be a pass first PG and to improve on defense(before Ellis was in Milwaukee). He did neither. He was a chucker before Ellis was here(Ellis was here just over 1 season). His pathetic effort on defense was obvious to everyone. He has the tools to be a good defender but he simply didn’t try. It’s like you haven’t watched him in the NBA.

        Kobe played his career in the triangle offense, an offense that historically doesn’t really even use a PG. Remember the Bulls of the 90’s?

      • bougin89 - Aug 9, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        Also, Jennings is one of the worst finishers in the paint I’ve seen in a while. He has the quickness to get past his defender but instead of finishing at the rim he tries to avoid contact and throw up a floater that goes hot and cold(often cold) too often. He showed little toughness in Milwaukee which is why he couldn’t co-exist with Scott Skiles and why most Milwaukee fans turned sour on him.

  10. bougin89 - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    While he is at it, what’s the excuse for his putrid effort on defense the last few years?

  11. 4thehaters - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    I betcha Detroit will be a much better team. They’ll have one of the best front courts in basketball with Smith, Monroe, and Drummonds. Jennings, Stuckey, and a Healthy Billups

    • biasedhomer - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      There is no such thing as a healthy Billups.

  12. cantonbound13 - Aug 6, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Looks like Joe D has packed on the pounds since retirement.

  13. bugsygod - Aug 6, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    LOL..Negative Dan strikes again! Its pathetic to want to make the playoffs? How bout that is realistic. You have to first crawl before you can walk, Dumars has put together a team that Most think will be a playoff team in the East. At no point has he said he is done building the team to Championship level. Championships take time, I mean did you think after one good summer they would be title contenders?? Come on Dan, give credit where credit is due, Dumars has had a great Summer. I would rather you talk about how the offennse will work or what type of defense they are set up to play. This constant constant worrying about Dumars job is tiresome. Talk about the TEAM! From Cheeks interviews, he said he wants uptempo team that generates turnovers. With this athletic team i think that style of D will work. The offense has now got a creative play-maker to set up all these bigs. Thats what i look forward to, not this constant writing “Dumars last year in contract”, “Dumars is going forward this year”, “Dumars is looking to save his job”. I could give a ish about Dumars, I want the team to Win and Yes make the playoffs.

  14. abchome - Aug 6, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Dr Drain is calling for rain!

  15. senorpapino - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Look at the Lakers two previous titles. A “gunner” in Kobe and a frontcourt that is strikingly similar to the group assembled in Detroit. Not saying the Pistons will end up like them or nearly as successful, but they have a wealth of talent now that for the most part has yet to get into its prime. I think we should all wait and see how it goes before writing off the new Pistons, because they should end up between the 6 and 8 seed right now, ignoring their future potential.

  16. fm31970 - Aug 6, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Did Jennings not notice the Bucks and Clippers both lost in the first round of the playoffs this season? “Lob City” is great for SportsCenter highlights, but isn’t gonna win titles.

    I honestly hoped Jennings would put in the work he needs to to improve as a shooter first and foremost, but if he’s going to play the “I was awesome in H.S. and AAU-ball when I could freestyle” card, he’s going to be miserable over the next four years. He talks like he thinks the NBA is the AND1 Mix Tape Tour. *smh*

    Have fun Pistons fans.

    • fredgb21 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      Half to agree with you completely. Thats who he is, has no clue the discipline it takes to be a good player.

      • fredgb21 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:40 PM

        Yeah, I mean Have

  17. fredgb21 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Jennings still yapping like a kid, and he has the game of a kid. 0 discipline on the real court and practice court. This guy just goes out and wings it, he had too much raw talent as a kid and never learned how to develop his game.

    Want proof? Look at gaping holes in his game that even far less naturally skilled players can do, yet he cant.

    Here are things that come to kids who are disciplined on the practice court:

    -Making a layup with your opposite hand
    -Using your body to set up a shot blocker when you attack the basket
    -Making a perfect balance squared up pull-up J, consistently!

  18. fredgb21 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    This isn’t just about Jennings changing his mindset on the court. He needs serious skill development in several key areas. He’s got tremendous ability in some skill areas and I think that masks the fact he can’t do several basic things every NBA PG should have down to a science.

  19. bugsygod - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:00 AM

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