Pistons guard Jennings wants more playing time

Vincent Goodwill Jr.
The Detroit News

Minneapolis – — The words that came out of Brandon Jennings' mouth Thursday likely didn't reflect his true feelings, but the Pistons' starting point guard was despondent when talking about his second straight short-lived performance to start the season.

Jennings playing just 20 minutes in the opener was followed by backup D.J. Augustin again taking up the majority of the playing time Thursday in Minneapolis. Jennings played only 16 minutes there before being benched after a technical foul in the third quarter.

His usual joking mood wasn't replaced by the reflective mood he often takes when addressing his play, good or bad. The 25-year-old said he wasn't frustrated, but it's clear he wants more of a chance to have an effect on the team, so long as he's the starting point guard.

"I'm not frustrated. It is what it is. I don't make the decisions," Jennings said.

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy pulled both Jennings and starting small forward Kyle Singler as the Timberwolves lead grew to 19, before Caron Butler caught fire, hitting nine straight shots to bring the Pistons back to tie the game with less than two minutes remaining.

"Listen, we dug that hole," Van Gundy said. "We just had a talk about it in there. I mean we just absolutely melted down, hung our heads, and basically the group on the floor was willing to let the game go, they were willing to let the game go."

When asked, Van Gundy said, "It wasn't just Brandon. You can't put it on one guy. It was a collective meltdown and lack of fight and that's very disappointing more than anything else that I could possibly see as a coach."

Van Gundy said he thought Augustin played better and said he had more confidence in him than Jennings, prompting Jennings to say, "Then he should start and I'll be the backup, if that's the case. That's all I got."

Jennings has eight points and eight assists, making four of his eight shots. Augustin is averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 39 percent.

Surprisingly, Josh Smith is calling for patience and perspective.

"I think they're both playing well, if you ask me," Smith said. "It's just a decision that coach is going with and we just have to try to get wins and not worry about controversy. It's two games into the season."

"We'll have to wait and see, 30-40 games down the line."

Van Gundy probably isn't going to make any wholesale changes anytime soon, especially without seeing how his most consistent, if not best player, Greg Monroe, fits in with the group. Van Gundy hasn't said whether Monroe will start or come off the bench in the home opener Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets, and Monroe is a huge piece for any point guard to play with, particularly Jennings.

With a day off Friday, everybody likely gets a chance to cool their heads and come back Saturday morning refreshed. Jennings played fewer than 24 minutes just three times last year.

Chances are, it won't last too much longer.

vgoodwill@detroitnews.com

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Nets at Pistons

Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, The Palace of Auburn Hills

TV/radio: FSD/105.1

Outlook: The Nets, led by new coach Lionel Hollins, lost their season opener by 16 points Wednesday night .... Pistons reserve forward Caron Butler scored 24 in the team's loss to Minnesota Thursday.