what could have been

Brandon Jennings, What Might Have Been

Bucks guard Brandon Jennings scored nineteen points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out eight assists last night in a Milwaukee win over the (still winless!) New Jersey Nets. It was perhaps his least dominating performance of the season. A week ago, he scored 55 points against the Golden State Warriors. He has taken the entire league by the throat: He’s ninth in scoring with 24.8 points a game, and the Bucks, a team expected to finish in the bottom tier of the Eastern Conference, are 6–3. He’s this year’s Derrick Rose. And he could have been the Knicks’.

This is not news, necessarily: Donnie Walsh has already essentially admitted he whiffed on Jennings, who spent a year overseas rather than play college basketball. (As it turns out, despite what Coach D’Antoni has publicly said, Jordan Hill isn’t Amare Stoudemire.) But as the Knicks flirt with Allen Iverson, at the expense of the young players they were supposed to be building around, it’s worth lamenting just how desperately the Knicks needed someone like Jennings. He would have been the center of the franchise, and he would have electrified the Garden: Fans would want to get out there just to see this crazy new rookie scoring like the dickens. The Knicks might not have won more games — though you’d have to think they’d manage three or four wins, right? — but they would be relevant, the way the Bucks are now. It would have legitimized everything Walsh and D’Antoni have done, or tried to do.

Instead, we have Jordan Hill.

Jennings wanted to come here, too. How do we know this? Because after the Knicks passed on him, he said, explicitly, “fuck the Knicks.” Here’s the exact quote, from an “interview” with Jennings’s rapper friend Joe Budden (who’s apparently a Knicks fan):

Budden: What are you going to do when Rubio comes to the Knicks?
Jennings: Rubio is not coming, they are not giving up Rubio. You got Jordan Hill, you happy with that?
Budden: I don’t really know enough about Jordan Hill to be happy … I’m happy with Toney Douglas.
Jennings: I know they were booing this n****.
Budden: What does that mean? They boo everybody n*****.
Jennings: If it was Stephen Curry, them n***** would’ve went crazy in there.
Budden: Shut the f*** up, you don’t even know nothing about New York basketball.
Jennings: F**** the Knicks, them n****** skipped out on me.
Budden: Oh man, you feel to the Knicks like I do about Jay-Z? [Laughs] Yo, the Knicks is your Jay-Z?
Jennings: F*** the Knicks, them n***** is always going to be weak.
Budden: This is where I f****** hang up on your f****** ass for talking stupid.
Jennings: Duhon ain’t gonna get it done.

In other words, not only did the Knicks miss out on a franchise talent (for Jordan Hill!), but they’re now assured that franchise talent will do his best to humiliate them for not drafting him, for the rest of his career. Great.

Brandon Jennings, What Might Have Been