Terance Mann entered the 2019-20 NBA season with a surprising amount of hype for a second-round pick on a contending team. No less an authority than Jerry West suggested that Mann would have a significant role to play for the Clippers by the end of the season.
Ultimately, the expectations were a bit overblown. As it turns out, transitioning from the wing to point guard was a significant challenge for Mann, and there weren’t exactly a ton of minutes available with the depth of the Clippers roster and the team’s desire to win now. There is no reason to be concerned about Mann’s future development considering the circumstances, but his inability to impact the team in year one was somewhat of a letdown for those who thought Mann could slot in as the Clippers’ backup point guard.
The Clippers have at least 12 games left this season (eight regular-season contests plus at least one round of the playoffs), but it’s hard to envision Mann getting any more minutes in Orlando. The team might have one back-to-back game within the first eight, one that Kawhi Leonard would likely sit out; but even then, there are at least 10 players in the rotation ahead of Mann to block out his playing time, and probably 12. Mann hasn’t really played outside of garbage time in the calendar year.
Where Mann could find a way to contribute is on the defensive end, which Doc Rivers said earlier in the year would be the rookie’s “calling card.” I was about to say that the Clippers won’t be playing any teams as bad as the Wizards in Orlando, but Washington is literally coming, so Mann could have an effect.
It was unreasonable to set the bar so high for Mann, because his inability to reach it seems like a personal failing. Mann had a perfectly credible rookie season considering his draft position and the role he was asked to play. His court vision has improved. He has developed more confidence in his jumper, and he realizes that much of his value will come from simply taking open shots.
The book is definitely still open on Terance Mann, even if the hype was a little over the top. However, the book on this season is very much closed. It would require a minor disaster for the Clippers to need to Mann to contribute to their title chase. The first-year guard will simply have to learn by osmosis this season.
On to the links...
- Kevin Arnovitz has his annual list on ESPN of the next best head coaching candidates. Unsurprisingly, Ty Lue is a name to watch for a contending team, but no other Clippers coaches — not even Sam Cassell — made the list.
- Daniel Reynolds of Raptors HQ has a good piece about why the return of sports feels a bit incongruous with what is happening in the world right now.
- Former Clipper Caron Butler went on “The Full 48” podcast to discuss societal issues.
- Whenever the next NBA season begins, the city of Los Angeles will have another professional team: the G League select team. Former Laker player and coach Brian Shaw will be the head coach, and he spoke to the L.A. Times about the move.
- The L.A. Times also examined some health-related questions teams will have in Orlando, specifically how many medical professionals each team can bring in its traveling party. Doc Rivers told Adam Schefter Monday that he was about to have a Zoom call with the Clippers staff to tell half the coaches they wouldn’t be going to Orlando; more tough decisions await.