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L.A. Clippers 2019-20 Player Preview: Terance Mann is guaranteed (at least two seasons)

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The 48th pick is punching above his draft position and is guaranteed for two seasons.

NBA: Summer League-Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Basic Information:

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 216 lbs

Age: 22 (for a few more weeks)

Position: F

NBA Experience: Rookie

Key Stats: In four seasons at Florida State, Mann appeared in 140 games, started 101, and averaged 9.4 points per game on 55.2% overall shooting. In his senior season, Mann converted 39% of his three-point attempts (2.1 3PA/G) and 79% of his free throws.

Contract Status: Signed a four-year deal totaling approximately $6.3 million with the first two years guaranteed.

Expectations:

Tempered. Heavily.

Let’s face it, if Terance Mann plays, it’s because he’s super awesome and ready on a timeline beyond any reasonable expectations, in which case we should just be pleased with our fortuitous discovery of an accidental $1,000 deposit into our checking account, or it’s because too much of this team’s deep wing rotation has been torn asunder by injury or unforeseen suckiness, which might reveal Mann as silver lining but would otherwise disappoint given the larger carrots in reach.

(Deep breath.)

So, what are the reasonable expectations? Mild usefulness, preferably demonstrated in the waning minutes of one-sided — ahem, Clippers-sided — blowouts. Let him show some defensive utility against opposing scrubs. Let’s see if he can maintain the ballhandling chops he flexed during summer league against the slightly sturdier defenses of regular season garbage time.

Mann, I’m ready to like you, but I’m not ready to need you.

Strengths/Weaknesses:

I’m cheating a bit and combining these categories because I don’t recall watching a minute of Florida State basketball over the past four years, and we’ve already posted an excellent breakdown of his skillset.

But, I want to mention two less measurable but still apparent strengths: Mann’s intelligence and toughness. Google them and be regaled (and make sure you don’t spell it Terrence Mann unless you’re prepared to read about Field of Dreams or the Broadway actor).

See, something happens when the first round of the NBA Draft gives way to the second. Well, a couple things happen. First, players lose their entitlement to guaranteed contracts. Mann got two years, so he’s ahead of the game. (Although guaranteed years for second-round picks have become increasingly common.) Second, questions about those players inquire less about what they can’t do and more about what they can do.

First-round draft picks are generally evaluated to already possess some level of NBA skill, or at least NBA athleticism. Their respective career lengths are determined by the quantity and depth of their shortcomings, and whether they can address them. Second-round picks must clear a higher hurdle and prove they even have one of those skills to begin with, or can display a modicum of that athleticism. Their viability is less presumed; more must be proven.

Mann may be a quality defender. He may be a capable ballhandler. He may become a proficient shooter.

Whatever he is, we can be confident he’s going to be planted on the bench (or even the floor, and I don’t mean the playing surface between the lines). He’s going to be challenged in practice. Coaches will yell at him. Bigger and better players will beat on him. He will be asked to order many cups of fancy coffee.

What Mann already is, by all accounts, is a quality team member. And for what he’ll be asked to do this season, that should be enough.