WASHINGTON — The Wizards have lost two games in a row coming out of the All-Star Break, and they host the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
Immediately after they play the league-leading Warriors, the Wizards travel to Toronto to play the 35-24 Raptors on Wednesday night, then they host those same Raptors on Friday night. It’s a brutal three-game stretch, especially for a team that is struggling to get back on track after more than a week off.
The trade deadline brought swingman Bojan Bogdanovic and big man Chris McCullough and sent away Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and the team’s 2017 first-round pick, but so far, that move hasn’t helped Washington much, though Bogdanovic did put up 15 points in 33 minutes off the bench on Sunday evening.
Though the deadline has now passed, the Wizards might be on the verge of adding another piece to a bench that is still lacking in firepower. Per Adrian Wojnarowski, the New York Knicks are waiving point guard Brandon Jennings.
Jennings, a scoring guard with four games of 20 or more points this season, including 21 points against Washington, would give the Wizards a serious scoring punch off the bench. His best game of the season came on New Year’s Eve, when he put up 32 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and just 2 turnovers in 41 minutes against the Houston Rockets.
He also famously scored 55 points in just the seventh game of his career, just three days after he scored 32 points, and he followed it up two days later by putting up a 25-point, 8-assist, 7-rebound game. He has 33 career 30-point games, including three in January 2015.
Here’s how Jennings compares to Trey Burke, Washington’s current backup point guard, this season.
Burke has shot better this season than ever before — career highs of .444 from the field and .419 from beyond the arc — but he has also played just 12.4 minutes per game and is scoring only 4.9 points per game. His defense is well below average, and he has the 15th worst Net Rating in the NBA (qualifiers: 40 games played, 10 minutes per game). What’s more, he offers very little else outside of scoring; among the 146 guards who have played at least 500 minutes this season, Burke is tied for dead last in steals (10), tied for second-to-last in rebounds (45) and is in the bottom 30 in plus-minus.
Jennings is a more explosive scorer, and he has averaged 6.6 assists per 36 minutes for his career compared to Burke’s 5.3 assists per 36 minutes. If the Wizards were to sign Jennings, it wouldn’t necessarily guarantee Burke’s time with the team coming to an end, but they would have to waive somebody to make room for Jennings on the roster. One of the team’s three undrafted free agents — Sheldon Mac, Daniel Ochefu and Danuel House — could also be waived in favor of Jennings.
Immediately after news of Jennings’ pending release broke, Wizards fans got riled up about the possibility to add a real bench weapon.
So … should the Wizards sign Brandon Jennings?