Just as he was turning into the best player of his life — and one of the NBA’s most impactful players in the month of January — Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings has had his health and glory stolen from him by the cruel thief that is fate.
Jennings went down and left the game Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, after 26 minutes of play. He did not return, and his team announced Sunday that he’d be out for the season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon.
As far as hard news in the 2014-15 season goes, this bit just about sucks the most. Jennings had been an erratic player through his career under a combined four coaches in five seasons with the Pistons and Bucks, and it was heartening and exciting to see him tap into his deep potential with his fifth in Stan Van Gundy. The Pistons have been one of the hottest teams in the league lately, and it’s had a ton to do with B.J.
In January, Jennings put up a terrific 20.9 points per game on 44 percent shooting, to go with 7.2 assists. He was one of the very most efficient players in the game over the month. He even entered history with a 21-assist game.
The easier news to swallow, for Pistons fans, is that their team is still in fairly good condition to make the playoffs. Behind Jennings in the depth chart is D.J. Augustin, a speedy dynamo who flourished with the Chicago Bulls last year under similar conditions, when he was signed mid-season after Derrick Rose went down with a torn meniscus.
Augustin started for Detroit in a 114-110 loss to the Toronto Raptors, but the L was hardly his fault. D.J. stepped in for B.J. with a crazy good performance, turning in 35 points — including five three-pointers — and eight assists.
— John Wilmes