Point guard Brandon Jennings will sign a one year, $5 million contract with the New York Knicks. ESPN's Marc Stein first reported the news on Monday afternoon. Jennings seemed to confirm the report with a Tweet later in the day.
...— Brandon Jennings (@thinkiminthe90s) July 4, 2016
Jennings, 26, has had an eventful past few years, with a significant injury and trade both part of his professional basketball journey that began in Italy in 2008. Jennings had seemingly found a comfort level with the Detroit Pistons after playing his first four NBA seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, but a torn Achilles ended his 2014-15 campaign early. The Pistons then went out and acquired Reggie Jackson from the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Detroit promptly gave Jackson a long-term contract extension.
The writing was on the wall for Jennings with the Pistons after they made the commitment to Jackson, and Detroit traded Jennings to the Orlando Magic this past season not long after he returned from his injury. The guard naturally struggled with his shooting while trying to regain his form following the injury, as he shot under 37 percent from the field in 48 games combined between both teams.
Jennings should be fully recovered now that he's a year and a half removed from the torn Achilles, and he'll look to deliver a bounce-back campaign in 2016-17. He's never been an efficient scorer and is a streaky long-range shooter (35 percent from three for his career), but he can provide scoring in bursts when he's on. He's also improved as a playmaker over the course of his seven-year career and posted a career-best assist rate in 2015-16.
If Jennings can regain his prior form, he could be a nice asset for the Knicks, even with his flaws on both sides of the ball. He's just 26 years old and had improved his assist rate in every season as a pro -- even topping out at fifth-best in the league -- before tearing his Achilles in 2015. With Derrick Rose on board, he won't be asked to do too much in New York, and he'll have the opportunity to excel as a volume scorer from the bench or in the starting lineup if Rose can't shake the injury bug. That may be asking a lot from a player who has shot just .368 from the field since returning to the court in 2015-16.
The young point guard earned an opportunity to revive his career after injury and ineffectiveness turned him from a starter into a role player. He'll need to continue developing as a true point guard with the Knicks to reclaim his status as a dynamic playmaker in the NBA.