Brandon Jennings and a Lesson in Overvaluing Yourself

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I'm a big proponent of being realistic. Particularly when it comes to yourself. Know what you are good at, work on the things you aren't good at and have goals and expectations that match those attributes. It can be a hard thing for some people to do.  But it's a necessary step we all must take if we expect to succeed.

If there has been one entity  that has been the biggest loser of this NBA Free Agency period, it has to be Brandon Jennings' ego.  The 4th year point guard expected a big pay day this offseason. And while he still may get a significant deal, the likelihood of a deal even remotely close to his expectations appears to be very slim.

Brandon Jennings is a good player. He is a slightly above average point guard in a league that has the most talent at point guard as it has ever had in it's history. Yeah, I said it. And I'm not taking it back. Chris Paul. Deron Williams. Tony Parker. Kyrie Irving. Rajon Rondo. Damian Lillard. Russell Westbrook. Stephen Curry. I challenge you to find a time where there was a deeper pool of elite point guards. I'll wait...

I'm sure Jennings thinks he belongs in the same class as those guys. And you could make an argument that he does. But I disagree. Brandon Jennings belongs in a tier below those elite point guards I mentioned above. Along with guys like Jrue Holiday, Mike Conley Jr, Ty Lawson and Kemba Walker. 

The reality for Brandon Jennings is that there just isn't a huge market for a shoot first point guard who isn't very efficient.  Most NBA teams are set at point guard. But there are several teams that could use an upgrade at PG:

  • Los Angeles Lakers - Steven Nash is old. And there isn't much else on that roster.  He'd be a good fit for that team. Next year. As it stands now, they don't have the money.
  • New York Knicks - This is the ideal spot for Jennings. But they can't afford him. 
  • Miami Heat -   Again, this would be a great landing spot for him but they also can't afford him.
  • There are also several bottom feeding teams that could use an upgrade at the PG position. But none of these teams make sense for Jennings and those teams don't need to overpay an inefficient shoot first point guard who's not a good defender. 

The reality for Jennings is this is just not a great year to try to cash in for him. He's not in high demand (this video does a great job of breaking down why) and he's not nearly as good as he'd like to think he is. There is a place for him in the league. He just needs to realize where that place is. And it's much lower down the totem pole than he wants to admit.

Love & Hate: NBA Free Agency Edition

NBA free agency is a week old. And it's been as crazy as you can imagine. Going all the way back to the draft a week and a half ago and the landscape of the NBA has changed. The Nets, Rockets, Clippers and Warriors have all made themselves into legitimate title contenders. While the Celtics and Lakers have entered the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes.

With all the madness that's been going on, I have a few moves I'd like to highlight that I love and hate.  There is much more to say here than I am willing to discuss here in this post.  But so far, here are my thoughts... 

4 free Agent signings I love

Dwight Howard - Houston Rockets (4yr $88 Million) - Our national nightmare is over. Dwight is signed for 4 years. We don't have to hear this nonsense anymore for the foreseeable future. Howard to the Rockets was the no brainier of the off season. He's a perfect fit there. Kevin McHale knows how to coach big guys. James Harden is one of the best young building blocks in the league. I think Dwight Howard makes Houston an instant contender in the west. 

Al Jefferson - Charlotte Bobcats (3yr $41 Million) - I'm gonna put my homer hat on for a moment. Excuse me....ok, it's been hilarious to me for the past week reading people crap on the Al Jefferson signing. Charlotte has been laughably bad the last 2 seasons. Especially in the front court. So they draft one of the most talented front court players and bring in of the most talented front court players in the league in free agency. I fail to see the problem here. Did they overpay? Slightly. Al's market value is around $10 million per year. Charlotte has to overpay in order to get free agents. I'll stop here. I could go another thousand words about this deal. 

Andre Iguodala - Golden State Warriors (4yr $46 Million) - This move isn't a perfect fit the way the others I've mentioned are. The Warrior already have Harrison Barnes who had a really good rookie season. But adding Iggy shouldn't stunt the growth of Barnes. What it does do is give Golden State an elite wing defender and veteran to go along with the young core they building there. This may turn out to be the most impactful signing of the offseason.

Marco Belinelli - San Antonio Spurs (2yr $6 Million) - The Spurs do it again. They space the floor and move the ball better than any other team in the league. So what do they do? Go out and get another shooter to help knock down shots. The rich get richer. Just another day at the office for the Spurs.


4 free agent signings I hate

Chris Paul - Los Angeles Clipper (5yr $107 Million) - Unpopular opinion alert: I would not have maxed out Chris Paul. Why you ask? Consider this; The Clippers now have committed over $200 million to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Over his career Chris Paul is 2-6 in playoff series (it's funny how no one ever mentions this). He always seems to be nicked up with injuries. And oh yeah, he's 28 years old. Do I need to keep going or are these reasons enough? If you are the Clippers, you just gave Chris Paul $105 million to lead you to a championship. And while I don't hate Chris Paul the player, I do hate this contract.

Josh Smith - Detroit Pistons (4yr $56 Million) - On last week’s NBA Free Agency preview podcast, Brandon and I predicted that before the summer was over Joe Dumars was gonna hand out a dumb contract. And lo and behold, not even a week later, here we are. Look, Josh Smith is not a terrible player. And the Pistons, like the Bobcats, just can't wallow around in mediocrity while their young players learn how to win. But why Josh Smith? He's not a natural SF. And playing him at the PF spot will limit the amount of floor time you get for your young tandem of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. I don't like it.

 Zaza Pachulia - Milwaukee Bucks (3yr $16 Million) - Hey, if anyone has any idea what Milwaukee is doing give me a call and explain it to me. Because I'm clueless. 

Tyreke Evans - New Orleans Pelicans (4yr $44 Million) - Really? For Tyreke Evans? I still can't figure out why we had a lockout. I know he's young. And maybe he turns out to be a good player. But I just can't imagine 4 years from now having Tyreke Evans on my books for $11 million. Remember, it once seemed like a good idea to give Ben Gordon $13 million a year.

 

2 Guys Roundup

Here is a 2 Guys Weekly Roundup of what we’re reading:

A great Blazers Mailbag that addresses the Robin Lopez trade.  I don’t always agree with what I read, as I love the Lopez acquisition.

A great rumors list where I’ve just learned that Iggy is going to be a Warrior.  Love it for Golden State!

A nice free agency blog update with some of the big signings for the year.

Checking in on Mike Wallace with the Dolphins from writer Andrew Abramson (@AbramsonPBP)

David Zirin’s new episode of Edge of Sports Radio with DeMaurice Smith!

2013 NFL Offseason grades updated from WalterFootball.

Panthers looking at S Quintin Mikell, would be a nice, underrated upgrade.

Story on Homer Bailey’s sick no-hitter!

Another excellent NBA Free Agency Update.