Brandon Jennings (along with Jonny Flynn and Jrue Holliday) worked out for the Kings today and while the workout was interesting, the real good stuff came in the interviews. Basically, Jennings, who played once against Ricky Rubio in Europe last season, called the young Spaniard out (video in the link – the good stuff starts at about 5:00).
Well, put it like this: If he was in a workout with me [and fellow point-guards] Jonny Flynn, Jrue Holiday, Tywon Lawson, Stephen Curry, he wouldn’t probably be at the top.
But he wasn’t finished. He was then asked if he thought he was a better player than Rubio.
Yeah, I think I’m a better player than he is. I just shoot the ball better than he can. The only thing I’ve seen him do sometimes is when he has a home-run pass or something like that. I think the dude is just all hype. I can’t even front. I’m just going to be real with you guys.
Strong words. (And how awkward was that for poor Jonny Flynn. He was just trying to laugh it off.) And yes, Rubio didn’t score in their head-to-head, but he played just eight minutes, according to this USA Today recap of the game. Rubio also didn’t attempt a shot as he was still playing one-handed due to his broken wrist. Jennings had 12 points and two assists in 23 minutes.
With 5:52 left in the first and the score tied at 10, Ricky checks in. Six seconds later he strips Jaaber for a steal. Brandon responds by running out on a break and getting a layup. He immediately goes coast to coast again and scores two more … I find myself watching Brandon more than Ricky, because I already know Ricky can play at the next level — I mean, dude was holding his own at the Olympics against the Redeem Team. Brandon’s the more unknown commodity right now, although I’ve watched five minutes of this game and I see no reason he won’t be going in the lottery next year.
Whitaker also says he thought Jennings had more than just two assists in the game, but didn’t declare either a better player than the other, calling both of them “lottery players.”
Obviously, I think this is a case of a kid in Jennings who has been bypassed by Rubio in the hype department and Jennings is trying to steal back a little of that spotlight. How could he really know if Rubio was the real deal in just eight minutes? They barely got to see either of each other. Now, as I’ve written before, I do agree that the hype machine is a bit out of control with Rubio, but Jennings’ comments were strange. They came off as straight up boasting. Like, “Don’t look at him. Look at me.” But it is all a business and everybody is out to help themselves. And he’s sure to have people talking about both him and Rubio.
I think Brandon Jennings is a better player than people think he is. He was the top recruit in the country in 2008 before he decided to play in Europe. He’s a skilled point guard. But I don’t see how he’s helping himself trying to run down Rubio. At first I figured his comments had weight since he played against Rubio. But now that you look at the details and facts of the situation, you see it’s nothing more than just talk. Between this and the comments he had about Tyreke Evans and Holliday, it’s pretty clear that Jennings can run his mouth a little bit.
We know about as much about Ricky Rubio as we do about Brandon Jennings. Except we’ve seen Rubio take on the best in the world. We’ve yet to see more than a mixtape and some workout footage from Jennings.
But then again, make what you want of it. Just 12 more days…