There are questions Brandon Jennings needs to answer this season. Is he simply an explosive talent with the occasional ability to put big scoring numbers on the board or is he a young guard an organization can build around moving forward?
These are two different things.
The latter would include leadership. Do you want that pressure, as a player, that coincides with your team's win/loss record, or would you rather sit back and get buckets whenever possible.
If his recent quotes are any indication, I would argue Jennings appears to be heading into this offseason looking to be that leading guard who could help Milwaukee get back into the playoffs.
Instead of dismissing the pressure the Bucks organization felt after missing the playoffs these past two years -- or putting that pressure on coach Scott Skiles -- Jennings' recent comments to JSonline.com seem to indicate he is putting that pressure on himself.
Said Jennings on that subject:
"To be honest, I think everybody is (feeling pressure)," Jennings said. "We’re all on the bubble right now, because we need to win. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on all of us, not just the coaching staff or the GM. We all know this could be it so we need to turn it around right now."
As far as who got better this off-season, Jennings added that a lot of teams did:
"A lot of teams are different and some teams got better," Jennings said. "I still think the Sixers are going to be great. The Nets are going to be better for sure.
Which does not mean Milwaukee did not get better too:
"With the team we have and the potential we have, we have a chance to be a top six seed in the Eastern Conference. That’s something I’m going to go into training camp talking about with the guys. Instead of saying we hope we make the playoffs, we just need to start saying, ‘We’re going to do it and we need to do it now.’"
A top-six finish in the Eastern Conference would certainly indicate improvement. The Nets did not make the playoffs last season either. The Sixers were the eighth seed. To go from finishing outside the top-eight a season ago, to then finishing in the top-six when it is all said and done this year would be a big step for the Bucks.
If Milwaukee does trend upward and achieve that goal, much of the reason will be because of Jennings' improved game. If they do not, he will get the blame for that too. But that is what you do when you are trying to lead a franchise, which appears to be Jennings' motives right now.
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