Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings gets past Mavericks power forward Dirk… (Tony Gutierrez / Associated…)
Passing it on
Brandon Jennings is mastering more than the first half of his job description.
The Milwaukee Bucks point guard proved he was a natural scorer only seven games into his NBA career, when he splurged for 55 points against Golden State. Overall, the former Compton Dominguez High star has scored 30 or more points 23 times in his first four pro seasons.
Something he had not done until last week: collect 10 or more assists in three consecutive games.
It started when Jennings logged a career-high 19 assists in a victory over Toronto on March 2. He showed it would not be just a passing fancy when he collected 17 assists two nights later in a triumph against Utah. And he followed that with 12 assists Wednesday during a loss to the Clippers.
Jennings said before the game against the Clippers that his uptick in assists was largely a function of the Bucks' bolstered backcourt. The team acquired shooting guard J.J. Redick late last month, reinforcing a guard corps that already included Jennings and prolific scorer Monta Ellis.
Now, Jennings is finding, it often makes more sense to pass than to shoot.
"Right now with me passing the ball and getting into the gaps and making things happen for everyone else, it's making the whole team better," Jennings said as he sat on a lounge chair poolside at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey. "So I like it right now."
Jennings, 23, is having his best all-around season, averaging 18.4 points per game heading into Saturday in addition to career highs in assists (6.6), steals (1.8) and three-point percentage (.379).
He was not selected as an All-Star reserve, though his candidacy had the support of Miami's LeBron James, who tweeted his preference for a 15-man Eastern Conference roster including Jennings as well as Atlanta's Josh Smith and Boston's Paul Pierce.
There will be no keeping Jennings out of the playoffs if the Bucks can hold on to the No. 8 seeding in the East.
"It would be big for the city of Milwaukee because the time we were in the playoffs my rookie year, it was amazing," Jennings said. "It was sold out every night and it was so loud you couldn't hear anything. I need that again."
Try, try again
Sacramento's bid to keep the Kings seemed like the equivalent of a 30-point, fourth-quarter comeback even before NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke on the matter Friday.
His words weren't exactly reassuring for those who want the franchise to stay put.
Stern said the city's counteroffer to keep the team in Sacramento, led by 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and grocery mogul Ron Burkle, "is not quite there in terms of a comparison to the Seattle bid."
The commissioner went on to say that "unless it increases, it doesn't get to the state of consideration."
Representatives from Sacramento and Seattle will have a chance to present their offers April 3 in New York before owners meet April 18 to vote on the sale of the franchise.
— Ben Bolch