Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 3/26/12

February 09, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Milwaukee Bucks Brandon Jennings had 18 points and 5 assists..Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Detroit Pistons 81-93. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

Getty Images

MILWAUKEE -- Brandon Jennings is well aware that not everyone believes he and Monta Ellis can form a solid backcourt for the Bucks. Two undersized guards known for their scoring abilities on a Milwaukee team that now lacks a true center without Andrew Bogut. It sounds quite familiar to the Golden State teams that Ellis played on, where he and Stephen Curry were never able to turn the high-scoring, fast-paced Warriors into a winning team. Jennings has had doubters before, such as those who questioned his decision to play overseas rather than in college, and now he's out to prove that he and Ellis can make the Bucks a playoff team together. "We have a target on us now," Jennings said in a one-on-one interview. "Everybody wants to see, is it really going to work? Or are we going to be able to make that push for the playoffs? It's always been our big goal, to make the playoffs." So far, there have been mixed results. In their first five games together, Milwaukee went 3-2. The three wins all came on the road -- in Golden State, Portland and Charlotte -- all of which are teams with a record worse than .500. The Bucks' two losses came at home, both to playoff teams in the Eastern Conference; Boston and Indiana. "I just have to keep playing my game," Jennings said. "I can't change who I am and what I've been doing since I've been here. The only thing is now I have another guy who can score points. It just seems like the ball's been moving so well, (and now) me and him aren't scoring as much anyway." Since the trade, Ellis' numbers are significantly down. After averaging 21.9 points on 43.3 percent shooting with 6.0 assists this season in Golden State this season, Ellis has 13.8 points on 38.7 percent shooting and 5.6 assists since joining the Bucks. Jennings' numbers aren't down as much, but his 19.0 points-per-game scoring average prior to the trade has been 15.0 points in the first five games with Ellis. However, as a team, the Bucks are scoring more points every game since joining Jennings and Ellis. Milwaukee, which struggled so mightily on offense in recent seasons, is currently seventh in the NBA in points and third in assists. While Jennings, at 6-foot-1, would traditionally be considered the team's point guard, it has been Ellis -- at 6-3 and mainly a shooting guard in Golden State -- who has impressed many of his teammates with his point-guard-like vision and willingness to distribute the ball. "He's more a passer, to me, it seems, than scoring," Jennings said. "It's just the style of the offense he was in (with the Warriors.) I actually had heard before that, that he was (naturally) more of a distributor." What Ellis has shown in just five games with the Bucks has already taken pressure off of Jennings to have to run the offense on every play. But having Ellis on the court has been helpful to more than just Jennings. "It takes pressure off the whole team, not just Brandon," starting center Drew Gooden said. "We've got another guy that can facilitate. With Monta, that's definitely a plus for us. He can be a great playmaker." It was Ellis' skills as a ball-handler and passer that was a major factor when Milwaukee's front office and coaching staff was deciding on whether to go through with the trade. "Monta, in our opinion, was an underrated passer," coach Scott Skiles said. "Most guys that score the ball, people don't see a lot of the other things they do. He can make point-guard type plays. He's a good pick and roll player, and he's a willing passer. "But there's going to be moments when we need him to go and score and get baskets. We haven't had any need situations yet, but he'll certainly fill that role too. "The challenges are from the size standpoint." And it is that size factor that will be a looming issue for the backcourt of Jennings and Ellis for as long as they play together. That is especially noticeable on defense. When Milwaukee hosted the Pacers on Saturday, Ellis was matched up with Indiana's 6-9 shooting guard, Paul George. Ellis will also have to match up twice this season with the New York Knicks' much bigger guards, with J.R. Smith at 6-6 and Landry Fields at 6-7. "There's obviously a size issue, that's for sure," coach Scott Skiles said. "We weighed all that before making the move. (Small ball) is just kind of the way the league is going. Coaches put small players out there quite a bit, and they're very difficult matchups." When the Bucks made the trade, they were just on the outside looking in for the playoffs. More than a week later, that is still the case. While Milwaukee has won three of five, the Knicks -- who hold the Eastern Conference's eighth seed -- have been winning since replacing coach Mike D'Antoni with Mike Woodson. And while Jennings wants to show that he and Ellis can work well together, he knows the Bucks will likely have to win more than three out of every five games over the final month to get a chance at the postseason. "If New York keeps winning and we keep losing, obviously we know what's going to happen," Jennings said. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dallas Cowboys' team employee bus involved in fatal crash

Aldon Smith posts video under a pseudonym of a blunt on Periscope

WATCH: Cam Newton get blocked by a girl playing volleyball

Russia avoids complete ban from Rio Olympics by the IOC

Report: Padres trying to move Andrew Cashner, Derek Norris

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Baseball's top prospect called up to majors by Astros

Report: Braves 'aggressively' shopping Francoeur, Aybar

Report: Hue Jackson designing plays for Terrelle Pryor

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Cristiano Ronaldo spars with Conor McGregor in gym

Adam Silver is the new standard-bearer for league commisioners

Iowa football player held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go

Eight most significant injuries going into NFL training camp

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker