Brandon Jennings: “We Don’t Shoot in Practice”

Shooting woes have been an issue all season for the Detroit Pistons. Connecting on just .410% of their field goal attempts, Detroit currently rank 29th in the NBA in shooting, better than only one other team – the Philadelphia 76ers, whose roster is largely composed of players perhaps more fitting for a mid-level D-League unit (no offense, Henry Sims, Chris Johnson, JaKarr Sampson, & Robert Covington).

The lack of shooting consistency seems to come as no surprise to second year Pistons Brandon Jennings.

“If you ask the question about why we’re not making shots, we don’t shoot,” Jennings told MLive’s David Mayo Friday evening. “We don’t shoot in practice. We haven’t really had a chance to work on our games or anything. When we do have shootarounds, we’re not able to get up shots like we should.”

Interestingly, Jennings is currently in the midst of the best shooting season of his six year career. Thus far, he’s quietly connected on nearly 40% of his three-point attempts (.391%) while also shooting .438% from the field. For perspective, Jennings entered the season as a career 39% shooter altogether.

Still, Jennings remains critical of Detroit’s practice habits, morning shootarounds in particular. “I just think if you’re going to have shootaround in the morning, I think it’s good that you get loose and you should work on shots that you’re going to take in the game,” Jennings maintained. “Even before, after practice, we’ve got to start getting in the gym, just working on our game more.”

While Jennings has experienced an uptick in his statistical output, the same cannot be said for many of his teammates. Second year shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been particularly erratic. Through 13 games, KCP has hit more than 40% of his shots just six times en route to his current 11.2 scoring average at the starting shooting guard position.

The Effect on Andre Drummond

Meanwhile, budding 6’10” star Andre Drummond has seen his 60% field goal percentage drop to an unfathomable .397% this season after Friday’s loss to the Hawks. However, such a drop may go well beyond shooting practice. The large quantity of Drummond’s attempts during his first two seasons occurred directly at or above the rim via tip-dunk or alley-oop.

Andre Drummond Bent Over
Drummond (white) has struggled mightily with his back to the basket this season (photo: Alyssa Blayney)

In contrast, this season, head coach Stan Van Gundy has made a concerted effort to develop Drummond’s extremely raw post abilities, which has resulted in a number of additional field goal attempts each game coming outside of Andre’s traditional comfort zone, leading to an immediate drop in shooting accuracy.

Add to that an increased focus from opponents on taking away the easy lob (and the preseason trade of Drummond’s favorite lob distributor, Will Bynum) and suddenly the easy shot-making well has begun to dry of late. Drummond’s confidence has seemingly waned as a result, leading to a perfect storm of factors that may have all contributed to his current sub-40% slump. While logic would suggest increased shooting practice would aid in Andre’s struggles, the issue may run deeper.

Van Gundy has not responded to Jennings’ comments.