The first of our 213 Hoops Roundtable player grades for all of the core Clippers’ players in the 2022 NBA season is bench guard Luke Kennard.

Randi Geffner: A-

My dad may disown me for not giving a solid A grade, as Luke was his favorite Clipper the second half of the season.  It was tempting given that Luke was the NBA leader in 3 point percentage, was a pure joy to watch at the All Star Three Point contest, and he could have gotten an A+ just for his lights out shooting role in the historical comeback win over the Wizards in January.   Luke stepped up from a bench role where he was expected to get the open catch and shoot opportunities when all the attention was on Kawhi and PG13, to the player in the middle of the action, drawing a lot of defenders on his own, as well as becoming a solid defensive presence when needed.  The only thing that weighed the tiniest bit against the solid A grade is some inconsistency and hesitancy that showed up a little in some clutch situations.  Overall, Luke was a great part of this team and someone we should all look forward to seeing paired with Kawhi and PG13 in the fall.

Ralston Dacanay: A-

I really liked what I saw from Luke Kennard this 2022 season. In a year where the Clippers severely struggled with chronic offensive lapses, Cool Hand not only was a steadying presence but a downright killer at times as well. He broke his career-high in threes made in a game (8), led the NBA in three-point percentage (44.9%) and had numerous loud stretches to heroically carry LAC to wins (hello Washington) in a season that was way more fun than it was supposed to be. When Luke first came to Clippers, I was excited to see his confidence grow on one of the most competitive teams in the league, and he definitely displayed that on both ends this year. Although he didn’t go absolutely crazy or anything in terms of posting a career-high in PPG or APG, Luke filled the role the Clippers really needed someone to, which was to provide some much-needed juice offensively whenever Reggie Jackson had to sit — he was at the top of opposing teams’ scouting reports a lot of the time. Luke and Isaiah Hartenstein had some nice chemistry right from training camp, which is something that I really would miss if that duo is no longer intact next season.

Lucas Hann: A-

Luke had a really nice year this season–he was more confident on both ends of the floor than in his first as a Clipper, and had the best 3PT% of his career on a career-high 10.8 3PA per 100 possessions.  He was crucial to a number of the Clippers’ biggest wins of the season, and he was the most serious (and mobile) of the Clippers’ off-ball shooting threats, serving an important role in creating space for an offense that was often stuck in the mud.  Kennard made 4 or more threes 20 times in 2021-22, and the Clippers were 15-5 in those games.  The only slight knock here is that I was really hoping to get more usage from Luke, who was supposed to be a strong enough offensive playmaker to play some point guard when the Clippers brought him in from Detroit.  In a year without Kawhi Leonard and mostly without Paul George, there was a huge vacuum on the offensive end, but Luke posted the lowest usage rate and assists per 100 possession marks of his career, along with the fewest shot attempts per 100 possessions since his rookie year.  He was spectacular in his role this year, but I do wish that he had embraced the opportunity to do a bit more with the ball in his hands this season.

Shapan Debnath: B+

Coming into the 2022 season, I fully gave up the idea of Point Luke Kennard, an idea pitched after Kennard had an interesting handful of games as a Piston. There was some thought he could run some offense, but on a Kawhi-less Clipper team I embraced JJ Kennard. In that sense, Luke did everything I’d want. He led the league in 3% on pretty good volume, hunted shots, even improved defensively. He was a dangerously vital component to the Clippers this year. I even quietly looked up 6MOY candidates to see how far up he might place. Yet, I can’t quite bump him to an A, because an A would’ve been him capturing some of that Point Luke hype back in a season he’d have opportunity to do so, because sharpshooter Luke, for as good as he is, finds himself a specialist on a healthy Clipper team that prides itself on being full of dynamic wings.

Erik Olsgaard: A-

Leading the NBA in three point efficiency automatically grants Luke at least a B for me. And from there, he did two things this year that each bumped him up a partial letter grade. First, he shifted his shot profile to almost 2/3 three pointers, using his best tool at the highest rate of his career. Second, he started working more off-ball, running around like a maniac (distance traveled offensively up 37% from last year), using his gravity as a weapon as much as his shot. With over 90% of his threes were unassisted, Luke has turned himself into one of the biggest catch-and-shoot threats in the league. That’s great process. I suppose a step up defensively or on the glass would have gotten him an A or A+, but it’s hard to be disappointed in anything Luke did this year. It’ll be fun to see this more deliberate, confident version of Luke on the full squad next year.

Robert Flom: B+

Luke Kennard had a very good season, as Joey expanded upon in great detail in his exit interview. He was the league’s leading three-point shooter by percentage, took a fairly high volume of threes (though maybe not as high as we’d like), and also improved on defense. In an injury and COVID-ravaged season, he played in 70 games and averaged 27.4 minutes per game, meaning he played the third-most minutes of any Clipper. His shooting and clutch abilities were critical to several of the Clippers’ biggest comebacks. So, why the B+? Well, while Luke has excelled as a three-point shooter, the much hyped playmaking and ballhandling that was expected upon his arrival from Detroit two seasons ago has not emerged basically at all. The Clippers really could have used more shot creation and high-volume scoring this year, and as Lucas mentioned above, Luke took the fewest shots and dished the fewest assists per 100 possessions of his career. He’s a nice player, and an exceptional shooter, but the lack of development in other offensive areas keeps me from giving him the full A.

That about does it for this roundtable look at the 2022 season of Luke Kennard. Give your own thoughts and grades below!

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