Justin Holiday scored 16 points on Monday night, uplifting the Knicks' bench in a much needed way. The scoring effort was more than Brandon Jennings has scored in any single game this season. What's more, it was just 1 point less than Jennings has scored in his last three games combined.
A 15.4 point per game career scorer, Jennings has poured in the points as the primary option on weaker teams over the course of his career. Still, he has the capability to heat up and fill it up on any given night. Jennings' ability to beat defenders off the dribble, and then choose to attack and/or fade away and fire bombs away makes him a versatile offensive talent. Unfortunately for New York, such prowess hasn't been on display all too often.
Still climbing his way back following an achilles injury, the Knicks took a flier on Jennings this season. His $5 million, one-year contract stands as a low risk, high reward move. There's intrigue around whether or not all of what he exhibited earlier in his career has returned in full force.
The jury's still out on that one. After ten games. that same level of explosiveness isn't really present. Pairing Jennings up with Derrick Rose should create a strong one-two punch of penetration and an ability to get to the basket with ease. Overcoming his own injury history, Rose has progressed. Jennings, not so much. Things aren't coming as easy for him. Forced to settle for lower-percentage shot opportunities, Jennings is shooting a career-low 35% to match.
Interestingly enough, the 26 year old has quickly found other ways to be of value. While the Knicks may have been expecting instant offense, Jennings has made an effort to be a more unselfish player. Perhaps understanding that he hasn't found his footing just yet, he's looked to get others involved. Jennings' chemistry with Kristaps Porzingis has had a really positive effect on the continued development of the sophomore forward. Jennings makes him better, and is slowly having a similar impact on others as well.
The guard's 4.2 assists narrowly trail Rose for the team lead. He's been able to adapt well and find ways to contribute. His playmaking ability has been refreshing, but the Knicks need more. The second unit needs a boost, and Jennings has to be more aggressive about going to the basket. He showed flashes of that during preseason play, but has taken a back seat as of late. Jennings should constantly serve as a double-digit scoring threat.
If he can find more consistency in his offense and pair that up with his ability to get others involved, Jennings will begin to serve as the sixth man New York is hoping for.