Our exit interview series on the 2023 Clippers continues with a review of the season of one Terance Mann.

Basic Information

Height: 6’5

Weight: 215 pounds

Position: Shooting Guard/Small Forward/Power Forward

Age: 26

Years in NBA: 4

Key Regular Season Stats: 8.8 points, 2.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 0.5 steals, and 1.0 turnovers in 23.1 minutes per game across 81 games played (36 starts) on 51.9/38.9/78.0 (2.4 3PA and 1.5 FTA attempts) shooting splits (61.9 True Shooting)

Postseason Stats: 10.6 points, 2.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 1.8 turnovers in 26.6 minutes per game across 5 games played (zero starts) on 57.6/47.4/66.7 (3.8 3PA and 1.8 FTA attempts) shooting splits (71.7 True Shooting)

Expectations

After another solid step forward in the 2022 season, fans were hoping for a breakout for Terance Mann for the Clippers’ 2023 campaign. Reasonable expectations would have been for similar levels of production on a per minute basis with increased efficiency due to playing next to Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, even with Terance coming off the bench. Even as a reserve, everyone believed Terance would have a major role to play on the Clippers as one of the only guys on the roster not a small guard or bigger, older forward.

Reality

Somewhat shockingly, Terance Mann was on the fringes of the rotation to start the season, with Luke Kennard, Norm Powell, and John Wall all ahead of him. Between Kawhi’ injury and Wall’s load management he was still able to receive some minutes, but he averaged just 16.2 minutes per game in October across seven games played. With the Clippers injured and struggling, Terance’s minutes shot up to 23.5 in November, and he put together a solid month scoring 9 points per game on a 62.6 True Shooting. However, Kawhi returned in December, the Clippers got healthy, and Terance’s minutes sank once more to 19.8 in the final month of 2022.

Then, one fateful day in early January 2023, with the Clippers in the middle of a five-game losing streak, the call was made to bump Terance Mann to the starting unit as the point guard, demoting Reggie Jackson. Terance proceeded to start the next 20 games for the Clippers, and had a fantastic February with 12.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists on a ridiculous 75.4 True Shooting across 10 games played. The Clippers went 12-8 in those games: not great, but a better winning percentage than they had the rest of the season (32-30), and in their toughest schedule stretch as well. In short, Terance starting was a success, as the team notably had more energy, defense, and overall activity with him compared to Reggie or John Wall.

At the All Star Break, however, the Clippers signed Russell Westbrook because of the pleadings of Paul George and Ty Lue, and Terance was demoted to the bench once more. Terance started just one game the rest of the season, the fantastic win in Memphis with Kawhi and Paul George out, and played in under 20 minutes in 10 of their last 21 games. While Terance played well, he was quieter than he had been, and a lot less aggressive offensively than when he was starting.

In the playoffs, Terance played quite well despite more inconsistencies in playing time. He hit double digits in scoring every game (though four were 10 point outings and the other just 13), played solid defense, and was efficient shooting the ball. Unfortunately, he was brought off the bench in all postseason contests, limiting his minutes, even though Ty Lue played him a lot in second halves because of how well he played. Aggression offensively remained an issue, but Terance was a key part of the bench units that were the lineups winning the minutes against the Suns.

On the whole, it was a solid season for Terance, but one where it felt like he should have gotten more minutes. If I had my druthers, he would have been the starting point guard the rest of the season after the move there in early January. The Clippers just play better when he’s on the court, and his size, rebounding, and activity all stood in stark contrasts to the older guards on the Clippers who frequently played ahead of him. It seems like a true breakout isn’t going to happen, but the Terance Mann of the 2023 Clippers was a very nice player anyway.

Future with Clippers

Terance Mann just wrapped up his 4 year, $6.2M rookie contract that was one of the best bargains in the NBA, and is signed for two more years at $22M total. Terance is the second longest tenured Clipper behind Ivica Zubac and is beloved by Clippers’ fans. At just 26 years old (turning 27 right when the NBA season starts), Mann is squarely in his prime, one of only three Clippers (the others being Zu and Amir Coffey) for whom that can be said. Thus, he probably has the most trade value of any player on the roster outside of Kawhi Leonard, and is along with the Clippers’ distant 1st round picks the Clips’ only meaningful trade chip (maybe Zu depending on the other team needs).

However, all of those items are what make him valuable to the Clippers too. While he hasn’t proven capable of sopping up usage or being a high-volume scorer, his combination of defense, ball-handling, defense, rebounding, and passing makes him an ideal fit next to the Clippers’ two stars as well as on high-energy bench units. Unless the Clippers are getting a true star, it’s hard to imagine Terance getting traded – if anything, hopefully he has a bigger role on the Clippers in years to come.

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