ESPN Partially to Blame for Jennings Fall to the Bucks, Thank You ESPN!

With Brandon Jennings great start there are articles popping up all over the internet.  One on ESPN got me a little riled up.  The article itself is not bad, but I think ESPN is a little ignorant of itself.  The article details Jennings experience in Europe and how he was in the ESPN top 5 all season until draft time started, then he dropped.  The article wonders why he dropped, and I BELIEVE ESPN is partly at fault for his fall.

ESPN Analysts

All during the draft process the ESPN “Draft Analysts” always took a shot at Jennings whenever they could.  Whether it was Bilas or Vitale, they would never miss a chance to promote Flynn or Curry or Evans or Lawson above Jennings.  They always found ways to attack Jennings shot or character, when in all likely-hood they have not seen Jennings in person since maybe his McDonald’s AA game.

Look, I get it.  Jennings ditched college for Europe.  If he succeeds you will see more players do that and this directly effects Bilas, Vitale and ESPN.  College Basketball is what put ESPN on the map and it still is a huge part of its programming, especially when football winds down in January until the tourney starts in March.  College Basketball becomes more and more uninteresting each year.  It is all about the tourney now, rendering the regular season meaningless.  The only regular season games that are watchable at this point are games with these high-profile freshman like Kevin Love, Derek Rose and Kevin Durant. 

 If College Basketball loses more of these players it will show in the ratings.  I couldn’t help but feel that some of the ESPN analysts were making it a point to bash Jennings and I was not sure how accurate they could even be without seeing him in person.

I do not entirely blame ESPN, I just think they should get some blame.  If Vitale and Bilas have not seen a prospect in person, they probably shouldn’t bash him.  They should not try and find any way possible to promote a college kid over him just because the kid went to college.

Flawed Draft Process

The draft process for the NBA is flawed.  The draft occurs within a couple weeks of the finals ending, this is not much time for front offices to evaluate the talent.  I always hear that the NFL draft boards will really start to change later in the process because this is when the coaches have had time to break down the film.  I am not sure coaches get as involved with the NBA process and it shows in the results.

The NFL season ends in early February and their draft is not until late April.  The NBA season ends in early June and the draft is in a couple of weeks.  I know the teams that are out of it are in the evaluation process, but to hold the draft only a couple of weeks after the season shows how little the coaches are likely to get involved.

Flawed Workout Process

Some players will only workout for certain teams.  Some players avoid other players.  Some players will do any workout at anytime.  This is not an apples to apples comparison and results in poor evaluations.

It was also stated in the article that Jennings was cocky or trash-talking in workouts.  Do you blame him?  He was willing to do workouts whereas other college players would not.  At the same time he was getting bashed, while these players were getting praised.  How in the hell do they think they can base a guys character off of this flawed process is beyond me.  The agents and NBA need to work something out in the next CBA that gets these guys all together again.  Years ago there was a good draft camp, now it is almost non-existent.  Lets go back to a main combine to at least see guys at comparative positions play each other, without that, there probably shouldn’t be the strong judgements on the players that there currently is.


So there are a few different parties to blame for Jennings fall to 10.  You could also throw in the European system, his team in Greece for not playing him more, and several other reasons.  One thing I liked from the start, and an item I think the scouts forgot, was that Jennings was solidly thought of as the top HS player from his class.  History has shown that being the consensus top player in your High School class leads to great things.

As a Bucks fan I say thank you to the flawed process and the gift of Brandon Jennings.  But I will still curse you for many of the other Buck draft busts that are too numerous and painful to mention.

Tags: NBA Draft

  • Brian

    I totally agree with ESPN getting in the way at times and really playing a role in draft prospects and how they are viewed by teams and organizations. As far as the trash talking in workouts, the kid is a young gun and is trying to make his name in this league as a premiere PG. Let the kid play the game and watch his play on the court. Nice article and thanks for the read!


  • Justin Malaise

    I appreciate the thoughts.

    As a young sportfan, I loved ESPN. Waking up to sportscenter was great. But in recent years I find myself more and more annoyed by their arrogance and even their quality of coverage. I now go elsewhere if I can to get any unbiased reporting.

  • Brian

    I totally agree. I mean I will watch some of the sports shows just to see what is going on and what the top story lines are. Shows like First Take and Sports Nation, but otherwise… the analysts and their “ego” seem to get in the way of actually providing great insight and facts for the “fan.” That’s why I love reading online blogs and publications because they are for the fan. Glad to have come across your site here. Keep it up!

  • Justin Malaise

    I agree that the “ego” thing has become a big problem at ESPN. I first started to get really annoyed by the network several years ago with their draft coverage. Every time the Packers would pick, it would go to commercial! They only did a couple commercial breaks in the entire first round back that would last over 10 minutes per break, and the whole time was spent during the Packer pick. I put up with countless discussion of the Lions being back and all other kinds of crap, while I only got a couple of minutes out of 7 hours on the Packers. Any analysis that was given was centered around Kiper shouting at the tv with all of the 40 yard dash stats he could throw, and Berman trying to make nickname jokes. Good God.

    Thank god for the NFL network, they break down why guys will fit into certain schemes or struggle with a transition to the NFL. You know, actually give you analysis that couldn’t just be read off of a combine report.

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  • Vic De Zen

    Very interesting take. I agree that ESPN played a part in all this. There should have never been a doubt this guy was going to be a very good NBA player. I am surprised it’s happened so soon, but he shouldn’t have been seen as a risky pick.

  • Black Jones

    Great Article. I’ve been all over the net looking for info on this guy since he dropped 55 on Golden State. I have GOT to see him play in person after that. So kudos for being one of the best articles out there to bring me up to speed on the Brandon Jennnings Story. One criticism that I have, though, is with your broken link at the end of your article. I was all anxious to see basis for the point that you were making about in the following quote, “History has shown that being the consensus top player in your High School class leads to great things.” I picked the link and it didn’t work. Please get that fixed. Thanks,


  • Justin Malaise

    It should be fixed now, I am not sure what was wrong with it. Let me know if you still have problems with it.