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The lame Kennard of the Clippers

22, 11 and 4. These numbers do not correspond to the points scored by Luke Kennard in three games, but rather to his minutes played over that same period. A statistic which indicates the difficulties of adaptation which he experiences, since his arrival at the Clippers this fall.

This night, against the Nets, the former Pistons player was only entitled to a short appearance, in the first quarter of this shock finally lost by his team. Time for him to miss two 3-point shots and be ousted from the rotation by Lou Williams, yet far from being successful so far (9.1 points on average, 38% on shots and 36% at 3 -points).

« We wanted to play more with Lou [Williams] for a matter of rhythm », Explained Tyronn Lue afterwards, au Los Angeles Times. « We were just trying to bring more rhythm, to force [nos adversaires] to defend. »

From a statistical point of view, Luke Kennard (8.1 points per game) is certainly no better than the triple Sixth man of the year. But he does it by being more skilful (47% on shots, 43% on 3-points). The 24-year-old’s problem is ultimately quite different: he is too altruistic and not enterprising enough for the taste of his coach, who implores him to think more of him.

« They’re constantly there, saying ‘Shoote!’ », Confided the main interested party, always au Los Angeles Times, last week. ” One day, [le coach] even said ‘Do you see what it feels like when you shoot?’, after I pulled one off in isolation. […] If I’m near the bench, someone kicks the ball at me, and I have any space, everyone will yell at me [pour que je tire]. Face aux Pacers, Kawhi [Leonard] In fact, repeatedly told me ‘Dude, you have to shoot’. »

Be aggressive and no longer hesitate

In the end, Luke Kennard’s lack of selfishness is now causing him harm, he who had already been punished Sunday night against the Knicks. First replacement for the California franchise to usually come off the bench, in the first quarter, he was then surprisingly although throughout the second by Tyronn Lue, before playing again after half-time.

« It was not because of a loss of ball, I do not train like that. The reason is that he refused an open shot and this resulted in a loss of bullet », then justified the coach of the Clippers. « I want him to be aggressive and take his shots because he’s a great shooter. We need him to be aggressive and to be himself. Let him create the game, attack the basket and, of course, take the open shots. He refused a lot of them so we make sure we stay on his back for him to take them. »

A shame for a player who has never needed to be told so often to take his chance before, both in high-school than in NCAA. Younger, the 12th choice of the 2017 Draft was indeed renowned for his scoring qualities, at Franklin High School (Ohio) then at Duke University.

Shooter recognized since his arrival in the NBA, with 40.2% success at 3-point in three years in Detroit, Luke Kennard does even better in Los Angeles since he posted his best mark in the exercise, with 43% success behind the arch. The only difference is that its volume has decreased within this team, which is also provided in terms of talent, from almost 7 to 4 attempts at 3-points, between the seasons 2019/20 and 2020/21.

When he refuses the few outside shots he benefits from, it inevitably irritates Tyronn Lue. Even if the left-handed rear, altruistic as possible, does so by thinking above all for the good of the collective. These reviews remain positive for him, however, in the sense that it shows that the Clippers have complete confidence in their new element, them who recently offered him a contract extension of $ 64 million over four years.

Regain sensations, after a year without playing

Rather than being alarmed about his level of play, Luke Kennard prefers above all to rejoice in being able to replay, after having been away from the courts for a year, between his double tendonitis in his knees and the suspension linked to Covid-19. In other words, the most complicated period of his young career, coming out of his best individual campaign (almost 16 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists on average, at 44% on shots and 40% at 3-points).

« It wasn’t funny at all. But [cette période de convalescence m’a bien plus aidé qu’imaginé et, désormais, je me sens bien, mon corps aussi, et je bouge bien. C’était dur, car frustrant de ne pas pouvoir jouer et d’être blessé, mais je suis soulagé d’avoir traversé tout ça. […] I learned a lot about my body in 2020 “, Admits the former player of the Pistons.

And he can obviously count on the support of his team and his teammates, to acclimatize to the air of Los Angeles and go up the slope in the coming weeks. Starting with that of Paul George, aware of what it entails when you come back from an injury and discover a new environment.

« We’re on his back, but we’re also aware that he really missed a lot of time last season. I know what it’s like to join a new team and you are trying to fit in. You don’t want to shoot, you don’t want to be super-aggressive, you don’t want to abuse. You just want to blend in with the system. But we still need him to be aggressive. He will get there. »

Luke Kennard Percentage Rebounds
Season Team MJ Min Tirs 3pts LF Off Def Until Pd Fte Int Bp Ct Pts
2017-18 THE 73 20 44.3 41.5 85.5 0.3 2.1 2.4 1.7 1.2 0.6 1.0 0.2 7.6
2018-19 THE 63 23 43.8 39.4 83.6 0.2 2.7 2.9 1.8 1.5 0.4 0.9 0.2 9.7
2019-20 THE 28 33 44.2 39.9 89.3 0.3 3.2 3.5 4.1 2.3 0.4 1.5 0.2 15.8
2020-21 LAC 21 23 47.2 44.2 83.3 0.1 2.8 2.9 2.0 1.6 0.3 1.1 0.2 8.5
Total 185 23 44.4 40.6 86.2 0.2 2.6 2.8 2.1 1.5 0.5 1.0 0.2 9.7

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