As the season draws closer, many pundits, fans and others with an interest in NBA basketball will have started drawing up their predictions for the new season. I’ve lost count of the amount of content I’ve seen over the past week or so forecasting what could be in terms of title winners, finalists, conference winners and more. Fortunately, the Los Angeles Clippers have featured heavily in those three conversations.
There are plenty of reasons why this team is seen as a serious contender. For one, they’re stacked with star talent and they all seem to be getting along without allowing egos to take over. They also have experience and relative continuity on their side which will serve them well for seasons to come. That is one of the underrated factors of the Clippers; despite the average age of the squad being one of the highest in the NBA, every current main roster player besides Reggie Jackson is already signed up for next year. Therefore, while this season may feel win or bust, there’s actually a chance this team could run it back – though, admittedly, that would be much sweeter with a championship already under their belts.
Luke Kennard was one of the first to get a multi-year contract before a good number of his teammates, and I remember thinking at the time it felt like a lot of money for somebody relatively unproven as a Clipper. Now his salary and the length of the deal represent great value in terms of his contributions, plus other contracts on the team and across the league.
What is the best case scenario for Kennard?
Kennard has proven himself to be a reliable spark plug off the bench, leaving his mark on many a great Clippers comeback under Ty Lue’s tenure. If he can continue to be one of the top scoring options from the bench this season, he’ll have done a very good job considering the amount of talent on the roster in the present day. He’s made steady progress on the defensive end since he arrived from Detroit, and a continuation of that could see him remain one of the first guys off the bench when the chips are down.
What is the worst-case outcome?
There remains plenty of talk of consolidation trades, especially considering the selling market there is likely to be with the generational talents of Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson at one and two in the draft next year. Kennard may find himself thrown into a lot of those trades for the very same reasons highlighted above; he’s a good scorer and a passable defender on a respectable multi-year contract.
Personally, I’d like to see the organization stick with what they have unless something too good to turn down — a la the Norman Powell and Robert Covington trade — presents itself. Just call it the #KeepKennard campaign.
What do you think is the most-likely role for Kennard?
With so many backcourt options, I think Kennard’s role on the team is going to be very tailored with minutes more scarce than in his first two seasons in L.A., though it doesn’t make his role any less important. In fact, I think it will make his scoring an even bigger asset to the team considering the guys he’ll be battling with for playing time. He’ll certainly have to make the most of those minutes, but that shouldn’t be too much of a worry for the NBA’s leading three-point percentage shooter.