Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lightning trade Zane Johnson to the A's for Brent Jennings

    The London Lightning and Brampton A's completed a trade on Wednesday, with London sending SG Zane Johnson to Brampton for SF Brent Jennings. It's one of the rare trades that sees two former players of the week swapped, and certainly ranks as the biggest trade of the season.

     For Brampton, the logic is clear: Brampton like to shoot threes, and Johnson is one of the most dangerous three point shooters, shooting almost 42% from beyond the arc. Three pointers were a huge priority for Brampton's coaching staff, but they haven't had the consistent shooters they had hoped, finding success with more of a mid-range shooting/slashing style. With Johnson in the lineup, it can free the A's to play both styles, with Johnson's shooting either spacing the floor for cuts to the hoop, or they can make three point shooting the focal point, using Johnson as the catalyst. With Johnson being capable of making his shot from near half-court, it's completely possible that Johnson could average 20 points a game in Brampton. Brampton gave Johnson an offer sheet in the summer, but London matched. With Johnson struggling since coming back from a bruised heel (an injury that can wreak havoc on a jump shot), Johnson's value was low, and Jennings value was at its highest, making it a good time for Brampton to pounce. Now the A's get the apple of their eye.

     As for London, this is simply a case of trading from an area of strength to fill a weakness. London didn't need Johnson after John Hart had taken his spot in the lineup, making Zane a luxury. What London needed desperately was more help on the wings, with Emmanuel Little being the only true wing player on the team. Enter Jennings, who over the past 30 days, has been arguably the best wing  in the league. The 2nd overall pick in 2013 has been dynamite since being put into the starting lineup on December 13th, averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds since, never letting his points dip below 12 outside of one abysmal game against Mississauga. Another added incentive is that Jennings has averaged 20 a game against London's main rival, the Windsor Express, during that run. London also could have decided to shake up the roster after a rough weekend that saw London lose in OT to Halifax, a game that London should feel lucky to have even gotten to OT, and then getting smoked the next day by the Mill Rats. The only reservation Lightning fans may have is that if Jennings' current hot streak is a flash in the pan, and he reverts back to the player who averaged 5 points a game prior to December 13th, then London will have given up their best trade asset for nothing.

     Until these guys play a game though, we won't be able to name a winner or loser. And right now, the trade looks like a definite win for both teams, with London getting one of the hottest players in the league, and Brampton getting a potential stud.