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NBA / Oct 14, 2011 / 11:30 am

Who’s Better: Brandon Jennings Or Jrue Holiday?

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings (photo. Nicky Woo)

There’s never been a tougher time to be an NBA point guard than right now. We feel for Ricky Rubio. He’s walking into a chainsaw. The minute he gets sick of checking Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose, here comes Raymond Felton or Steve Nash. It never ends. Just below the top-tier All-Stars sit players like Brandon Jennings and Jrue Holiday. Two point guards. Two completely different games. Jennings does it with talent, ball skills and an unbelievable offensive repertoire. Holiday does it with defense, steadiness and vast potential.

Two young point guards who are only going to get better. But which one is better? We argue. You decide.

***

BRANDON JENNINGS
It’s June 25, 2009. The Milwaukee Bucks are on the clock with the No. 10 overall pick. This year’s draft is one of the deepest point guard drafts in recent memory. Already off the board are Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn and Stephen Curry, along with combo guard Tyreke Evans. Now it’s time for the Bucks to decide on their point guard of the future. Their options include Brandon Jennings and Jrue Holiday. That fateful day, the Bucks chose Brandon Jennings and in this edition of Who’s Better, I’m going to choose him too.

Jennings’ official introduction to America came during a November 14th game against the Golden State Warriors. After a scoreless first quarter, it looked like another typical tough night – like any other – for a rookie point guard. That was until he decided to go absolutely ham on a putrid Warriors defense. Making seven of his eight treys, Jennings put up 55 points in dazzling fashion. When defenders went under screens, he rained three balls. When they got in his grill, Jennings went around them and made floaters or mid-range jumpers. It was the most points scored by a rookie since Earl “The Pearl” Monroe dropped 56 in 1968. Holiday, though not the shoot-first point guard that Jennings is, will be hard pressed to ever drop 50.

At 6-3, 180 pounds, with a 6-7 wingspan, you would think Holiday blows Jennings out of the water defensively. Taking the reigns as the Sixers starting point guard this past season, Holiday averaged 1.5 steals while pitching in almost half a block per game. But let’s not overlook Jennings’ capabilities. Despite being undersized, he uses his deceptive quickness and heart of a lion to fight over screens and disrupt the passing lanes. This past season, he also averaged 1.5 steals and who needs to block shots when you have Andrew Bogut backing you up? Just imagine the impact Jennings could have on defense if he had Holiday’s body type.

Basketball fans like to knock Jennings for his shooting percentages. Posting an atrocious career average of 37 percent, maybe it is justified. However, some people might be investing a little too much in the now. The third year for a point guard in the NBA is a make or break year. Even Chris Paul didn’t have the prettiest shooting stats in his first two years in the league. In his rookie season, CP3 shot just 28% from downtown. There’s plenty of room for upside with Jennings and after averaging 15.5 and 16.2 points in his first two seasons, he can become a 20-point per game scorer rather easily. Opponents know that every time they face Jennings, it won’t be as easy of a night as his numbers depict. Jennings can beat you through the pick-and-roll, isolation, by speeding up the tempo to his preferred frantic pace, by distributing or by getting in your head with his dramatic antics. You name it.

Both of these players have some of the higher ceilings in today’s NBA. Jennings’ character issues may cause some people to steer clear of him, but in Who’s Better, were talking strictly on-the-court assets. Although both have the ability to put up near equal distribution numbers, Jennings is already twice the scorer that Holiday is. Holiday is not significantly better enough defensively to make up for it. Give me Brandon Jennings every time.
-KEVIN SMITH

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  • EvanZ

    I’m not sure any player in the history of the NBA got so much rep and became so overrated on the basis of a single performance like Jennings did with that 55 point game. I’ll take Holiday.

    Also, way to cherry pick the shooting stats on Paul. He shot 54.6 TS% in his rookie season compared to 47.5% for Jennings. That’s the difference between an above average shooter and, well, someone who is a worse shooter than Rondo.

  • KB24

    Brandon Jennings I like Jrue Holiday but he cant score the ball like jennings can but he has alot of potential how is jennings 55 point game overrated can you score 50 points in the nba.

  • Detroit Dave

    Both guys are full of potential. I’d take Jrue Holiday because he seems to have more control and awareness to his game. Why no love for Rodney Stuckey? He is in this 3 or 4th level tier of PG’s along with Brandon Jennings and Holiday.

  • north

    The position is PG… a position that takes leadership and the ability to create plays for your teammates. Sure in a game of 1 on 1 (or as Jennings sees the NBA 1 on 5) he might get his numbers. Which one would I pick as a GM to lead my team to a championship? Jrue, easy.
    The Bucks get worse as Jennings plays more into his black hole. The 76ers? They’re on their way up the rankings.

  • beiber newz

    ask yourself who’ll have a better future in the league

  • RepThaUK

    mateys – how is this even an argument – comparing the two players – Holiday is superior in every stat apart from ppg – where he is 2 below. Holiday averages more assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, and has higher 3 point percentage, free throw percentage, FG %, and is a better defender. His team is more succesful, and hes not a douche. Nuff said

  • zbo

    Jrue Holiday all day.

    hes also a beast in 2k12

  • beiber newz

    @ rep thauk or watever his name says

    stats never tell an entire story.

    jennings has more weapons on his team compared to holiday. the bucks have more guys who do stuff with the ball than the sixers. so holiday would in a way have better statistics cuz he’s in position to have better stats.

  • RepThaUK

    @beiber newz, not sure about jennings having more weapons on his team – and the weapons on jennings’ team are rendered completely irrelevant because their point guard dominates the ball so completely. The bucks arent bad enough to justify Jennings hogging the ball so much if his percentages are that bad. And Holiday is younger than jennings so hes got even more potential

  • beiber newz

    youth doesn’t always determine potential. it’s a good indicator individually but between two players it can’t be a factor, only skills or physical tools. he dominates the ball because he is their best option outside of bogut. some may argue bogut should be the man. but hey, jennings is a scorer, and it was sorta inevitable he’d dominate the ball after having a 55 point game his rookie season. oh and playing for scott skiles is NOT easy.

  • beiber newz

    on the record, i have no opinion between the two. if i had ato pick, i’d pick holiday because of his size and triple double potential. he os a point guard that a coach would love and he always seems under control.

  • beiber newz

    O yea, plus Charles Barkley LOVES him so i guess that’S a plus, eh?

  • http://OneMannsView.com OneMann

    “Holiday does it with defense, steadiness and vast potential.”

    Holiday’s vast potential doesn’t do anything for him or the Sixers in a game, except possibly leave them and the fans unfulfilled.

    By definition, potential is something that hasn’t been done, so how the heck can it help Holiday do anything in a game right now?

  • Seven Duece

    I like Brandon Jennings because he’s exciting, explosive and brash. But he reminds me to much of Jason Williams in Sacramento: a lot of skills and style, but don’t translate into actual production & important wins. After watching D-Rose COMPLETELY ANNIHILATE him in a late season game IN Milwaukee, I’m not sure he’ll be a top 5 pg any time soon or ever. CP3, Deron, DRose, Rondo, Westbrook, JKidd, Nash and Jimmy Wall all are better than him NOW and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jrue, Steph Curry, Tyreke and possibly Jeff Teague surpass him – provided he doesn’t improve asap. I mean no one talks about Devin Harris and can you honestly say that Brandon’s better than him?