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Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Treat Brandon Jennings like a SG


In Brandon Jennings' first two seasons, he became well known for scoring 55 points in his seventh NBA game and for shooting a truly embarrassing 38 percent from the field during his brief career. Fantasy junkies didn't give up on him, though, because he's a point guard who can knock down 3s and pile up steals -- and, let's face it, that 55 still lingers in our memories.

So far this season, he's still teasing us with big numbers but continues to lack consistency. He may score 30 points, like he did Tuesday night, but that followed a seven-point clunker the night before. He may dish out 11 dimes, like he posted against the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 10, but that was followed by six total dimes in his next three contests. He may have nine steals in two games, like he did earlier this month, but he tallied only two swipes in six other games this season.

Despite the inconsistency from game to game, Jennings has posted very nice averages in 13 games this season: 18.7 ppg, 5.1 apg, 1.8 3s and 1.7 spg. Most importantly, Jennings is shooting 45 percent from the field this season -- that's seven percent higher than his career average. It's a small sample size, but one to which we can give some credence, because in his first two campaigns, the only month in which he shot better than 41.2 percent was his first full month as a pro when he shot 42 percent -- and enjoyed that 55-point game.

Granted, we'd like our point guards to dish out more than five dimes a game, but if you treat him like a shooting guard, he looks extremely exciting, especially if he can maintain consistency from game to game.

Looking back

Mike Miller played his first game of the season Tuesday evening and acquitted himself well by banging all six of his 3-point attempts to finish with 18 points in just 15 minutes of action. He missed the start of the season while recovering from hernia surgery. Hypothetically, Miller could be a legit 3-point threat with the Heat, but he averaged only 1.1 3s in 41 games with them last season, and he doesn't do anything else statistically. Then there's the part about him turning 32 next month and being excessively prone to injury.

Richard Hamilton shook off his annoying groin injury to face the Phoenix Suns Tuesday evening. He was limited to just 21 minutes but managed to score 11 points (5-11 FG) and dish out six assists. It's possible that Rip could carve out enough touches with the Bulls to score and dime enough to help some teams. However, it's probably just a matter of time before he gets hurt again, so you're better off letting someone else deal with having him on their roster.

• With Ty Lawson's hot start to the season, Andre Miller seems like a forgotten man. But he's actually quite alive and still kicking. Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, Miller cranked out 11 dimes in just 23 minutes off the bench. That's the second time in four games that the 35-year-old point guard posted double-digit assists. Of course, part of the reason he's been a forgotten man, is that in the two games between those double-digit dime games, he totaled just five assists. Miller isn't going to push Lawson aside, but if you're short on assists and steals, the 6.1 assists and 1.2 steals he's averaging could make him worthwhile to round out your bench.

Looking ahead

Dirk Nowitzki has been off to a very slow start this season, as his stats are down across the board, and his scoring is down more than five points per game compared to last season. What makes his 17.9 scoring average particularly unnerving is that he hasn't averaged fewer than 21.8 ppg in a season since his second campaign at the turn of the century.

The lower scoring average and terrible rebounding (5.4 rpg) can be tied to the drop in minutes per game from 34 last season to 30 this season. Many had presumed that as the Dallas Mavericks aimed to defend their title during a condensed season, they were trying to keep their 31-year-old centerpiece rested for the long haul. However, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News noted Tuesday night that Nowitzki has been wearing a wrap on his right knee the past few games and wondered if it's time to be concerned. It's a fair question, since the wrap is on the same knee that cost him a couple of weeks last season.

Despite the wrap, he played 32 minutes and finished with 21 points and seven boards Monday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Let's see how his knee holds up as the Mavs play a back-to-back set tonight (Los Angeles Clippers) and tomorrow (Utah Jazz) before avoiding another back-to-back set until Jan. 29-30.