Brandon Jennings will miss the remainder of the season with a full tear in his Achilles. He went down in the third quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night after trying to apply a full court press on Bucks’ guard Brandon Knight.
Jennings season has been all over the place. In November he averaged 18 ppg but he was benched in the fourth quarter of games multiple times and the Pistons only won three games that month. In December Jennings struggled as his points dropped to only 9.3.
He had big shooting slumps including a three game stretch where he shot 4-31. Backup D.J. Augustin continued to finish games as Stan Van Gundy continued to lose faith in Brandon Jennings.
On Sunday December 21, 2014 the Pistons dropped at game on the road to the Brooklyn Nets. Jennings had a disappointing eight points on 3-12 shooting. The Pistons were on a four game losing streak and had a record of 5-23; they needed to make some changes. Their frontline of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith was not working.
On Monday morning the Detroit Pistons waived Josh Smith. There was no blow up with Stan Van Gundy or teammates. The Pistons just wanted to go in another direction. The Pistons will still pay off what is owed to Josh Smith beyond this season.
He still had two years and $26 million remaining on his contract. That is a big financial hit for the Pistons but it helped the team and it helped Brandon Jennings.
The Pistons quickly won three in a row which was their longest streak of the season. Jennings played good in two of the three games. There were many questions about this new Pistons team. Was it a fluke? They did beat the Pacers, a Cavaliers team that was in a funk and the Magic.
The Pistons went on to win seven games in a row without Josh Smith. Brandon Jennings improved his play as well. He had back-to-back games with 25+ points and 60% shooting. He became a better playmaker for his team and a better shooter.
After only averaging 9.3 ppg in December, Brandon Jennings raised his scoring to 20 ppg. He raised his FG% from 32 to 43. His three point shooting went up from 27% to 38%. The Pistons were 9-3 in January with Brandon Jennings. They are 12-4 without Josh Smith. They are only two games out of the playoffs.
Jennings season was on an upswing. His best game of the season might have been against the Toronto Raptors on January 12th. He put up 34 points on 11-22 shooting and 10 assists as the Pistons beat the Raptors on the road. It was a good win on the road against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
A week later Jennings had 24 points and 21 assists against the Magic. His third double digit assist game of the month, after having three altogether in the first three months of the season. Jennings went down in their next game.
Jennings was not having an All-Star season but he was having a promising one. After so many early struggles he was playing well and his team was winning games. It remains to be seen how the Pistons will replace Jennings but the team will miss him dearly.
Let’s hope Brandon Jennings comes back stronger and better from this injury.