There is no better way to enter a three-point race in the NBA All-Star Weekend than conserving eight threes to put a bow in the first half of your season profitably, and the Los Angeles sharp shooter Clippers, Luke Kennard did just that. .
Better yet, Kennard took that moment to a high first round result of 28 in the competition, making it to the top three. Unfortunately, Karl-Anthony Towns shocked the world and the players with a score of 29 to beat Kennard and 26 of Trae Young for the throwing crown, but there was a silver line.
About three hours northeast of his hometown of Middletown, Kennard family and friends were watching everything happen live at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland.
“It means everything man. “Just being from Ohio, hearing that the All-Star Game would be back in Ohio, I wanted to be here, so getting the invitation meant a lot,” Kennard told BasketballNews.com at the Mountain Dew and Ruffles’ The Block event. before All.-Saturday with the stars.
“I had many families and friends who came. Just to be around town, I know a couple who [weren’t even able] be there and said the ticket [prices] were crazy. Just being around town and enjoying the experience. It means a lot. The goal is to represent the Clipper Nation. Just have fun with it, enjoy the weekend. ”
Luke Kennard got hot in the first round, finishing with the score 28 pic.twitter.com/79sv97YuVT
– Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) February 20, 2022
A superb highlight at Franklin High School from 2011 to 2015, Kennard’s claim to fame – then and to this day – was surpassing LeBron James’s career record at Saint Vincent-St. of Mary. In his four seasons with the Wildcats, Kennard recorded a total of 2,977 points from LeBron 2,646 with the Irish. (He currently ranks second in Ohio high school history behind former Ohio State sniper Jon Diebler, and holds the record for most free throws in a career with 760.)
So in addition to the familiar faces in the audience cheering him on, sharing the festivities with another Ohio high school legend at LeBron at an All-Star weekend in their state was “wonderful” for the 25-year-old.
“He has done a lot for the state of Ohio, especially where he came from and his hometown [of Akron]. “It’s really fantastic,” Kennard said. “He’s a North Ohio guy, I’m South Ohio, so we’ve done a lot together. Ohio means everything to us. It’s where we come from. We never forget where we came from. So it’s pretty special. “And to be here again together, enjoying this weekend, is a lot of fun.”
Having passed that kind of record held as the King’s name icon, it is no wonder that Duke University was called. Kennard spent two years playing for the Blue Devils, finding his level as a second student as the team’s main option alongside Jayson Tatum, Grayson Allen and Frank Jackson. He averaged 19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game that season, playing more efficiently and comfortably than he did as a freshman.
After learning under the tutelage of legendary Mike Krzyzewski in Durham, NC, Kennard believes he owes a debt of gratitude to the future retiree and notes that coach K stays in touch with him almost every day.
“He meant a lot [to my career]. Coach, he gave me the opportunity to play at the best university in the world, to play for the best coach who has ever trained the game. It was a lot of fun. I mean without going there, [there’s] “By no means would I be here today,” said Kennard. “He is wonderful. He is such a family guy. Whenever I have a big game, he always sends me messages like after the game. He keeps in touch with many of his players. I’m happy for him.
“He did everything he wanted to do during training. There is no better guy or coach for everything that happened to him – he deserved it all. Enjoyed the pension for him. He will enjoy now, he will enjoy his family and grandchildren. I’m happy about it though. I keep in touch with him all the time and hope they can come out with a bang and try to make him a national champion this year. It was a pleasure to watch. “
Nowadays, Kennard is in the middle of his fifth NBA campaign and second with the Clippers. The second year in LA has brought a more significant role for the swingman sniper, as he is producing 11.8 points per race at 61.6% of real shooting at a hair below 28 minutes per night. On the surface, you will see almost the same percentage of perimeter (? 45%) in successive seasons; however, the freedom in which Kennard is shooting these doubles is very different.
Up to this point in 2021-2022, Kennard’s three-point scale is at the highest career level of 0.670, which is almost 13 percentage points above 0.541 last season. There is no area beyond the arc where he shoots below 40%, according to InStat.
Take a more specific dive into his touch time data, and you will find that he is launching from a distance almost immediately after capture without hesitation. This season, Kennard has completed 263 triples with less than 2 seconds of touch time and has made 45.6% of those attempts, on track to double last season’s score (177) overall. Kennard has also had games where he went most often early in the punch time, which means he is being put in excellent positions by Clippers coach Tyronn Lue and his players to raise screens and submissions.
“It’s just the people around me. “People around me built that confidence in me and just put that trust in me to do those kicks,” Kennard said. , how to get off the screens… When you are considered one of the elite shooters in the NBA, attract a lot of attention.The boys do not like to leave you so much.Thanks to T-Lue for putting me in the position to open up and my teammates the team that found me when I am open and when I have so little time and space.
“But for me, I feel like I’ve grown a lot [by] taking those shots. I feel like a few years ago, even last year some, I would not take some of the photos I am taking this year. So just merit [my] teammates for building that trust and trust in me. “I feel like I learned a lot and grew up a lot.”
Kennard did not stop here with his praise for Lue, who has led LA to a 30-31 record despite the absence of Kawhi Leonard throughout the year and Paul George for more than half the season.
“He is wonderful. He is the coach of the players. He knows how to train the game. He is one of the best coaches in the NBA. “I like to play for him,” said Kennard. “He really builds a level of trust in his players. My role is definitely bigger this year than it was last year. We got some injuries but at the same time we won 30 games this year. We lost some very close matches we should have won. And with what we did in the play-offs last year, dropping 2-0 in some series, it speaks volumes about what kind of coach he is and how much we trust him.
“I like to be with him, I like to play for him. So he has built a lot of trust in me, and he just lets us play and be free and be who we are. It was a lot of fun. “
Reggie Jackson has had a lot to do with Kennard’s success in filming as well. The veteran point guard has the most passes for Kennard on the squad currently, and the fastest player to have nailed 58.7% of those efforts from downtown. Whether looking up in transition, throwing the bullet ball behind an Ivica Zubac top screen or extending it from the outside after a run, they have climbed 29 times so far.
Maybe it’s the synergy between the two from the time spent together in Detroit, or maybe it’s Jackson ’s calm and supportive nature that keeps everyone not only confident in themselves, but also relaxed.
“Reggie, he is one of our vocal leaders. He always talks to us, always has a smile on his face. He lights the room. He is a great man. He is one of your biggest advertisers [men] you can get, “said Kennard.” You can probably ask for lots of interviews after playing with other guys and Reggie in the background by dancing or doing something crazy.
“But we do not love Reggie. He likes to be in LA He has a lot of friends there. He and PG are really good friends. So they enjoy each other. Reggie is gorgeous. I played with him in Detroit, I mean, he was my vet. So I know him for a while since I was in the league and just getting back on a team with him is fantastic. However, he makes us go. “He is a great player and he has had a very good year so far, so I am happy for them.”
We have revealed a lot about this particular group of Clippers this season. While a ton of attention this team is getting is about the future and what can happen when the list is in full force with PG and Kawhi, LA is showing an admirable amount of resilience here and now.
“We have a very good team. Of course when we have guys like PG, Kawhi, Norman Powell – every time those guys come back, it’s just going to take us to a whole different level, a scary level honestly, “Kennard said.” We have a very good group. , we’ve won a lot of games so far, we’re in that fight for the play-offs. At the moment, we’re in the Play-In zone, but we said to each other after our last game before the break: ‘We want to hit the ground running “When we come back. We want to be ready to go. We want to start winning more games.” And that is our goal.
“We want to continue to build what we are doing, just trusting each other, trusting what the coaches are doing, but also having fun with it. It has been a good year… It has been up and down. It has been a strange year – like the COVID situation [where] the boys have been out – but we have fought it and the boys have grown a lot and have had great moments for us. So it’s exciting to be part of a team that likes to win and expects to win. “
It’s fun to think about the future, but the Clippers have no plans to look ahead any time soon.
They will make you win it.
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