Brandon Jennings balled out on Monday night and almost got a triple double.
In his first game since returning to the franchise that drafted him back in 2009, the nine-year NBA vet poured in 16 points, 12 assists, and 8 rebounds in the Bucks’ road win over Memphis.
Jennings was signed to a 10-day contract on Saturday after playing in China for the more than half of the season. In 2013, Jennings was traded from the Bucks to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for key piece Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton, who at the time was considered a throw-in.
In his first season with the Pistons, Jennings showed signs of maturing in his game. In Milwaukee, he was the first scoring option on teams that didn’t have much offensive firepower to show for. Bucks fans remember him as a “shoot first” point guard. In Detroit, Jennings showed that he was a skilled passer, and dished out a career high 7.6 assists per game.
Unfortunately, Jennings’ magical run would be cut short by an injury to his left Achilles tendon in 2015. Ironically, the injury occurred in Milwaukee, in front of thousands of fans who watched him dominate in his younger years. He was never really the same player again. He bounced around with short stints in Orlando, New York, and Washington, before going abroad to play in China.
He dazzled in his G-League appearances with the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks’ affiliate. His shooting percentages of .312/.319/.857 weren’t pretty, but were skewed by a dreadful game in which he shot 0 for 10.
When it was announced that Jennings would return to the NBA and the Bucks, fans were ecstatic. He is best remembered in Milwaukee for his 55 points in a regular season game his rookie year, and his buzzer-beating game winner on opening night of 2012.
On Monday against the Grizzlies, Jennings checked in for the first time at the three-minute mark. His impact on the flow of the game was immediately apparent, as he helped them push the ball up the floor and kept the ball moving on offense. He brought energy and a scoring punch to a second unit that quickly pushed the lead to double digits.
Jennings was on triple-double watch as early as the second quarter, heading into halftime with a brilliant line of 11 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds. He grabbed his eighth rebound with 10:33 remaining, but was subbed out for Eric Bledsoe soon after. He wasn’t able to get back in the contest until a minute remaining, when the game was already decided in favor of the Bucks.
While this was an impressive debut game, Jennings is no stranger to flashy entrances. In his very first game as an NBA player with the Bucks, he also flirted with a triple double with a line of 17 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds. Hopefully, Jennings can continue to make smart plays on offense and bolster a Bucks bench that is missing a few key players. If he does well enough, he might even land himself a deal for the remainder of the season.