Now that the Clippers’ 2020 season has reached its disappointing end, 213Hoops will work through the roster player-by-player for our “Exit Interview” series. Today’s exit interview features rookie Terance Mann.

Basic Information

Height: 6’5″

Weight: 215 lbs

Position: Guard

Age: 23 (turns 24 October 18th)

Years in NBA: 1

Key Stats: Played 8.8 minutes per game in 41 appearances this year, posting per-36-minute averages of 9.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.8 turnovers, and 4.6 fouls. Shot 46.8% from the field and 35% from three.

Started in all 20 of his G-League appearances with the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, playing 35 minutes per game and averaging 15.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and shooting 53.5% from the field and 32.7% from three.

Contract Status: After drafting Mann with the 48th overall pick last season, the Clippers signed him to a four-year minimum contract. His $1.5 million salary for 2020-21 is guaranteed, while his $1.8M and $1.9M for the final two years are not.

Expectations

Realistically, we should never, ever have expectations for non-lottery rookies–especially for a player like Mann, who was picked 48th overall and then immediately asked to move from playing on the wing in college to point guard in the NBA. But, naturally, folks get their hopes up, and that was only exacerbated when Jerry West talked the rookie up before the season began.

In terms of strengths and weaknesses, Mann was expected to be a smart and versatile player offensively and a big, active point of attack defender at 6’5″. A crafty distributor from the wing in college, we knew he was going to struggle in his first year trying to run an NBA offense, and individually we anticipated that he would struggle to be a true creator or scorer unless his shot came along significantly.

In terms of role on the team, there shouldn’t have been much expectation that Mann would get rotation minutes with established veterans Lou Williams, Landry Shamet, and Rodney McGruder ahead of him on the perimeter for the second unit. Offensively, everyone knew he would need time to learn a new position at the professional level, and on the other end, almost every rookie guard struggles to defend at first in the NBA.

Reality

If we accept that the expectation for Mann, as the 48th overall pick in his rookie year learning a new position, was nothing, then the reality of him as a rookie was pretty good! But for folks who were hoping that he would break into the guard rotation by the end of the season, seeing Mann relegated to emergency depth duties was likely a bit of a disappointment.

Overall, I thought he had a good year, though. Offensively, he was inconsistent as the Clippers cycled through emergency point guards in an attempt to find quality depth behind Patrick Beverley–Derrick Walton Jr., Jerome Robinson, Landry Shamet, Mann, and finally Reggie Jackson. Over the course of six spot starts from November to January, it was clear that Mann wasn’t quite trustworthy in that role at this early stage in his career, and as a result he stayed anchored to the bench as Jackson and Shamet filled in for the injured Beverley in the first round against Dallas.

But as unreliable as Mann was on offense, he showed flashes of being a dynamic playmaker that is encouraging in terms of his long-term development, most notably closing the season with a 25-point, 14-rebound, 9-assist performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder and posting 13 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds in a start over the Atlanta Hawks last November, nearly a year ago. But both of those games become a little less meaningful when held up to scrutiny: against OKC, both teams played third-stringers as they rested in the season finale to prepare for the playoffs, and against Atlanta, the Clippers jumped out to a double-digit first quarter lead behind a red-hot start and ended up coasting to a 49-point win, 150-101. So, while you’d rather your prospects play well in garbage minutes than struggle, Mann’s best offensive performances came in some of the lowest-intensity settings you’ll ever see in an NBA season.

In more normal situations, he was often invisible offensively, not providing meaningful on-ball creation or off-ball spacing from a position where NBA players are expected to provide both. His season numbers look respectable largely because Rivers minimized Mann’s usage in meaningful situations, saving him from being overly exposed. In our pre-bubble check-ins, Rob Flom wrote that Mann was routinely hesitant and non-impactful when given rotation minutes.

On the other end, however, Mann was the rare guard who managed to be a plus defender during his rookie campaign. His energy, size, and IQ all yielded defensive production far more quickly than you would expect on a reasonable development timeline, and while his overall limitations kept him out of the playoff rotation, he actually earned Doc Rivers’ trust as a situational defender. I never would have guessed that Terance Mann would appear in every single Clippers playoff game, but he saw at least a few seconds of action in all 13, often just to provide a possession of defense at the end of a quarter. It might not seem like much, but I think it’s significant that Rivers trusted Mann more as a single-possession defensive sub than Rodney McGruder, a four-year veteran with over 100 NBA starts who is known as a gritty perimeter defender.

Future with Clippers

Mann’s immediate future with the Clippers is safe–the team believed in him enough after drafting him that they gave him the aforementioned four-year deal with two guaranteed seasons, and clearly the franchise made the decision to be patient with his development as they asked a 23-year-old rookie to transition to point guard as he transitioned into the NBA. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t on the team’s opening night roster, whenever next season begins. They have no reason to cut a cheap prospect who multiple people in the organization are high on, and he simply hasn’t shown enough to have the kind of positive trade value that would make him a likely inclusion in any move the Clippers may try to make this off-season.

Following a moderately successful rookie campaign, Mann is left in a tricky in-between space on a contender’s roster: the next step for him to grow his career is to play regular rotation minutes, but he hasn’t shown enough for a good team to be comfortable having him as a top-10 rotation guy headed into the season. That is especially true for the Clippers, whose primary point guard is the injury- and foul-prone Patrick Beverley–they need more reliable veteran depth, which likely relegates Mann to the third string again.

If he can take sufficient steps forward, though, Mann will get his chances to break into the rotation. NBA seasons are long, 82-game marathons, and multiple players in front of him in the guard rotation will miss time and allow Terance to get real opportunities in competitive NBA regular season settings. He’ll have to improve upon his performances from his rookie campaign to be impressive, and while increased comfort at the professional level should come naturally, improving his volume and efficiency from deep will be a taller task.

By earning those 11th-man type depth minutes, Mann can cement his place on the Clippers’ roster going forward and begin to make his case to the team that he is capable of being penciled into the 10-man rotation as a third-year player (even if he doesn’t prove rotation quality, he can still secure his spot on the team by demonstrating that he can be relied upon for quality depth and situational utility). But if Terance can’t emerge as a legitimate depth option in 2021, whether it be due to his own struggles when given chances or due to being overtaken by fellow prospect Amir Coffey (or a new acquisition), the team will enter the 2021 off-season seriously questioning whether they want to guarantee his salary and roster spot for 2021-22. After a low-stakes rookie campaign, this is going to be a big year for Terance.

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Lucas Hann

Lucas Hann

Lucas has covered the Clippers since 2011, and has been credentialed by the team since 2014. He co-founded 213Hoops with Robert Flom in January 2020.  He is a graduate of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA and St. John's University in Queens, NY.  He earned his MA in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University.

12 Comments

  • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

    I’m not high on him. Like Lucas said, we should never have expectations for him to crack the rotation immediately. Not every 2nd rounder is Draymond or Paschall.
    I feel like this organization has been trying to convert him into the point guard because he doesn’t have ideal size/length or skills for a wing. Before the season, some people compared him to SGA and called him long-boi but he’s NOT long. SGA has a near 7-foot wingspan. Mann has only a 6′ 7.75” wingspan. And then, he can’t shoot. I hope they will get some reliable vets in the off-season.

    That being said, I love him or Coffey much more than Lou Williams. People who haven’t actually watched games always say “Lou at least can score! I love him! Don’t trade him!” Yes, he can score easily when team is up by 20 or when he plays against scrubs on bad teams.
    But he’s historically struggled with the Playoffs physicality and intensity. He plays poorly in Playoffs type games of the regular-season. If he’s not red-hot, we’re basically gonna give up easy buckets on almost every possession. Lou can’t stay infront of his man, gets burned every time and doesn’t even try to contest shots, box-out or rotate. FUCK TREZ! FUCK LOU WILLIAMS!

    • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

      Your Lou take is just as generalized as those you criticize. He’s a good playmaker even in the playoffs and best of our guards , which says as much about our roster as it does Lou. He stepped it up last playoffs as the feature scorer and playmaker. Whopping 45% assist rate and even in these playoffs he was higher than Kawhi.

      I think Lou will get shipped out and should no longer be a closer, but he’s less of the problem than you make it seem.

      Mann is meh.

    • Avatar osamu6238 says:

      Lou and Trez were bad this playoffs, but I don’t consider them “bad playoff performers”. They both did not come to play in the bubble, and I for whatever reason that is, it is really disappointing.

      I do think, had the season continued on as normal, we wouldn’t have seen them struggle like they did in the bubble. I feel like if you can use them to upgrade at PG or find guys that can give you more efficient scoring/defense, you do, but I don’t think Lou and Trez would be “additional by subtraction” by just like letting them walk like everyone wants to claim.

      • Lucas Hann Lucas Hann says:

        I am not sure about Lou. I think there’s something to be said for a career of efficiency numbers falling off a cliff in the playoffs when defenses are sharper and Lou himself has to exert more energy on defense. Particularly on the second point, it felt like Lou was constantly leaving shots short whether he was spotting up or driving to the rim.

        BUT, the team didn’t necessarily suffer because of Lou’s individual trouble finding the net. Certainly, the team would have done better if he had finished his looks at higher rates, but Lou’s threatening presence on the court offensively and his ability to create for others still helped. The team had a 118.7 ORTG in the playoffs when Lou played, compared to a 114.4 ORTG overall and just 103.9 ORTG when he sat. 103.9 is bad.

        Defensively, he set the team back, but only a bit–111.8 DRTG when he was on the court in the playoffs, compared to 110.1 overall and 103.0 when he sat (which is excellent).

        The numbers look even better for Lou when he isn’t sharing lineups with Trez, who I think we can all acknowledge was the worst Clipper in these playoffs. When Lou was on the floor without Trez for 154 minutes this postseason, the Clippers had a 130.6 ORTG and a 98.8 DRTG, both phenomenal. Also interesting but possibly just correlational: Lou shot 37% from the field and 15% from deep when Trez played with him, and 49% from the field and 37% from deep when he was on the floor without Trez.

        Lou is flawed and the triad of Pat, Lou, and Landry doesn’t fit perfectly together in terms of complementary skillset and ability to consistently provide the things LAC needs from their guards (Particularly Pat’s health and Lou’s defense). But it isn’t addition by subtraction. Lou is well above replacement-level at the things he does for the team, and the idea that the Clips should just get rid of him is foolish. Someone is going to be filling that role next season and if the Clippers don’t make sure it’s someone better than Lou, the team will be a lot worse for it.

        Trez, on the other hand, is an “addition by subtraction” guy (at least in the playoffs, RS Trez obviously contributed). He was well below replacement-level in the playoffs, and it wasn’t just this year–the team was miserable with him on the floor last year against the Warriors as well. He scored better against GSW because they didn’t have a big, lengthy defense like most playoff teams do, but the team was horrible defensively with him anchoring them. And despite his individual production, the team’s offense got worse when he came on the floor too.

        In a 6-game series where the Clippers lost 4 games, they actually won the minutes where Trez was on the bench. The only other player that was true for was Lou Williams, largely because the two played the vast majority of their minutes together in that series. But even then: Lou+Trez, -76 in 139 minutes; Lou alone, +7 in 37 minutes; Trez alone, -2 in 18 minutes (those last 2 are basically meaningless sample sizes).

  • Avatar Minion94 says:

    The way that he played later on during the season was encouraging. Regardless of the actual percentage, his hesitation to shoot it decreased.

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    I thought he was a fine choice for a 2nd rounder. Hell, he contributed more than our 1st rounder. If the roster stays largely the same I actually think he could wind up playing some meaningful minutes – Bev is injury and foul-prone, and although Lou is nominally the backup PG, Mann could fill in as a glue-type utility player. So for example, if Bev is down and Lou moves into the starting lineup, maybe Mann could handle the backup spot in tandem with Shamet. He’s definitely gonna need to pick up whatever offensive system the new coach installs quickly and work on his jumper (re: stop hesitating) this offseason though.

  • Avatar osamu6238 says:

    I like Mann, but I agree, I would be surprised if he is any really answer for the Clips long term. Reminds me of how I felt about Ty Wallace, solid players, don’t make a ton of mistakes, but in reality probably has limited upside and sadly, probably replaceable.

    Mann could surprise me, I mean if he develops his 3-pt shot and starting taking them comfortably, it could really transform his game. He actually shot a decent percentage when he took them this year, just seems so hesitant and actually taking the shot was like a last option for him.

    I’ve always felt like with PatBev, the Clips would benefit with having more a play maker on the court with him, leaving PatBev to be more a catch and shoot player. Mann, if plays to his potential, would be a near perfect fit for that spot, which I why I really hope he can show improvement in year 2. But we do have to temper our expectations as far as improvement. I think many time people expect the same leaps in improvement from like 23 year old 2nd round picks as they do from 19 year old lottery picks, just because they’re both “rookies”. In reality, very rarely do you see the huge leaps from the 2nd rounders.

    • Avatar chogokin says:

      The Wallace analogy is pretty damn spot on. As of right now I do think Mann probably has a better jumper (though he’s just as hesitant), whereas Wallace was better at playmaking, but Mann’s still got plenty of time to grow – here’s hoping the FO found a diamond in the rough in the 2nd round.

      • Avatar John Maclean says:

        Yes very good analogy. I loved Ty but he had this weird Jeff Green thing about him to his ceiling like he didn’t know his own potential. In Terrence I see a fire burning to break out and do bigger things. Either way he was a good guess for a second round pick.

        • Avatar mlslaw1 says:

          Pressure and motivation for TM. He has to improve his 3 ball to stick and I agree his stroke is way better than Ty’s. I watched a few of TMs college tourney games and he seemed close but just not completely there on those shots. Mann knows this and will be working hard to improve with shooting coaches. He’s a pro and a big money future is the prize and there lies the pressure. I like his game. Reminds me a lil bit of Dennis Johnson who also had a ?able outside shot but about whom Larry Bird famous said “DJ’s the best player I’ve ever played with.”