Brandon Jennings didn't come to the Detroit Pistons to be on the outside of the playoff discussion, or to feel like head coach Maurice Cheeks got fired prematurely, but that's the hand he holds with 24 games remaining in a fast-fading season.

Jennings made it clear Friday he doesn't like his cards.

It would be "kind of embarrassing" to miss the playoffs with the retooled roster this season, he said, and the dismissal of Cheeks after 50 games continues to affect him more than his teammates, he acknowledged.

"To be honest, I don't think the team is probably tripping," about the Cheeks firing, Jennings said. "I feel like it's still the same. It's still the same. Not much has really changed, if you asked me."

Internally, he admitted, has been different.

"You give a coach a half-a-season, with new faces and new chemistry, that's not enough time, I don't think," Jennings said, referring to Cheeks, who was fired with a 21-29 record on Feb. 9 after consecutive wins the previous two nights. "I felt like he was basically in a losing situation. We were winning. Now we're playing like the old Pistons were in the beginning, I feel like."

Jennings, as a point guard, felt a bond with Cheeks, who played the position for the 1983 NBA champion Philadelphia 76ers.

Veteran New York reporter Peter Vecsey recently tweeted that sources told him Josh Smith and Chauncey Billups went to Pistons president Joe Dumars to request Cheeks be fired.

Pistons management's only comment on the Cheeks firing came in a press release.

"I have no idea about that," Jennings said of Vecsey's tweet. "I mean, I don't know. Rumors always start. Everybody's always trying to figure out who did what, who did this. But to me, I don't know."

Jennings was acquired from Milwaukee in a sign-and-trade last summer. He and Smith were expected to upgrade the roster enough to end the Pistons' four-year playoff drought.