Jennings Just What Bucks Need
The word is out, and it appears Tyreke Evans will be named Rookie of the Year later this week.
But don't tell Bucks fans that they are supposed to want anyone else manning their team for the foreseeable future, because Brandon Jennings has captured the imagination of Milwaukee during the playoffs.
Throughout the regular season, Evans handily dominated the numbers in the Rookie of the Year debate. After all, Evans is one of just four rookies ever to average more than 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. So the trophy on the way to his mantle is nothing if not well deserved. Jennings' averages (15.5 points and 5.7 assists) weren't so flashy, and he wasn't able to physically dominate in the same manner as the hulking, 6-foot-6, 220-pound Evans. But this postseason has been a shot in the arm for Jennings' statistics. Putting his regular season (that featured many nights of shooting 40 percent or less from the field) behind him, Jennings is currently shooting 46.2 percent in the playoffs while hitting 38 percent of his 3-pointers and turning the ball over just 1.3 times per game.
"Game 2, he struggled shooting the ball," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said before Game 4. "But as he's done most of the year, it doesn't spill into the rest of his game. He's not turning the ball over, he's still running the offense well. So far, so good; he's played well."
Schedule: Wednesday, April 28
Nuggets' Stubborn Offense
DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets have a secret arsenal of nearly unstoppable plays. There's only one hitch headed into Game 5:
Acting head coach Adrian Dantley isn't sure he can get his team to run them.
That's because the Nuggets see themselves as a certain kind of basketball team with an anti-system. Mike D'Antoni has seven-seconds-or-less. Phil Jackson has The Triangle. Jerry Sloan has The Flex. And Dantley has inherited from George Karl what he's referred to more than once as "random basketball."
What does "random basketball" mean? That's Dantley's description of how the Nuggets perceive themselves offensively -- a team that flourishes by pounding you with dominant one-on-one play in the half court and with breakneck transition buckets. Dantley isn't the only one to make that general characterization. When asked about the Nuggets' woeful assist total of 13 following Game 4, Chauncey Billups conceded, "We aren't really a high-assist team. That's not how our offense is made."
It's true that Denver runs a more individualistic half-court offense than Utah does and, as Carmelo Anthony pointed out today, that plan of attack has served them well for several seasons. In fact, Denver isn't exactly struggling offensively in this series. The Nuggets' offensive efficiency of 110.9 points per 100 possessions is an improvement on their regular-season efficiency of 108.7. But after walloping the Jazz in Game 1 of the series, the Nuggets have posted a more modest efficiency rating of 104.7.