It wasn’t so long ago we were taking a look at what the Clippers achieved (uh…) in the Bubble and what we’d expect moving forward in the upcoming season. The usual suspects were all touched upon sans for one Luke Kennard. While I admit that its much easier waxing poetic about how good Kawhi Leonard still is (but not how good he is at using a middleman), or how Pandemic Paul should probably just uninstall IG, or how the Serge Ibaka contract adds the proverbial cherry ontop the shedding of Trezz to the Lakers. Admidst all that, plus the resigning of Marcus Morris, just so many words and so little space for content. I mean the internet is almost full I heard. Regardless, as was requested by commentators, we’ll take a look at Luke Kennard. What’s more interesting is how I’ll tie Paul Newman into this post to make the title work. Hint: It won’t.
2019-2020 Season (28 Games Played)
2020-2021 Razzball Projections
There’s a question of value that’s tied into playing time that I’ll address right off the bat. The largest concern is that of Reggie Jackson and Lou Williams, the two players standing to benefit from the most bench minutes out of the pool Kennard wants to dip in. I dip you dip we dip sorta thing. In addition, when rotations have Beverley and Paul George starting, Kennard’s minutes could further be affected. And these concerns aren’t being helped from the middling minutes he’s had this preseason so far as this post is being written. Another aspect to think about though is the fact that this will be a regular season coming right after the Bubble and playoffs that just ended a few months ago. Load management for this team will definitely be a thing, and while I personally think there will be enough minutes here to feed a lot of mouths, do keep in mind that this will still be a defensive-minded team first, and with the names I mentioned above in both Jackson and Williams, there will be balance issues that the team will have to contend with. Not to mention the fact that he has yet to pass Nicolas Batum in the rotation. Is the preseason so far indicative of what’s to come? I don’t want to say 100% yes yet, but I guess since this is the unofficial concern paragraph, I’d be remiss not to point out that this player does have some complications.
Now to the good stuff!
Even with the paragraph of doom, it’d be hard not to see Luke Kennard be a reliable, if not unspectacular contributor, and there’s always a chance he becomes something more. The comps I’ve seen of Eric Gordon and Tim Hardaway seem pretty fair, and his value is tied into all the right places, points, triples, and dimes are what he brings to the table and so really the question is just usage. And while I’d normally tie that back into the concern of his rotational impact, I’d be remiss not to point out that the same concerns existed with the Pistons a season ago, but when Blake Griffin was out, Kennard thrived with the added minutes and showed offensive impact. This might serve as a good sign when you consider that the Clippers have their own durability issues.
All in all, we have a player who has pretty good shooting efficiencies but can’t play defense and struggles to get to the line, yet is reliable at what he’s good at with a chance to keep growing. That certainly checks some boxes. The only question remains on what you believe he’ll have access to in rotation minutes. If you think he’ll get them like I do, then he’s definitely a late-round gamble or in-season pick-up. And the best part is, even if you don’t, he still is someone to keep an eye out for once we see trends forming both in rotations and health.
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him @jaywrong.