Clippers shooting guard Luke Kennard will compete in the NBA Three-Point Shootout at All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, the NBA announced today on TNT.
The Clippers have had several players compete in Saturday Night contests in recent years, most recently Patrick Beverley in the Skills Challenge in 2020. However, no Clipper has been a contestant in the Three-Point Shootout since J.J. Redick was entered in back-to-back contests in 2015 and 2016–though current Clipper Paul George participated in the shootout as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018. The last time a Clipper actually won a Saturday Night event was Blake Griffin’s 2011 Slam Dunk Contest victory. Brent Barry also won the 1996 Slam Dunk Contest as a Clipper, marking what I believe to be the only other time that LAC has had an entrant emerge victorious on All-Star Saturday Night. Luke Kennard has a chance to be the third–if he’s still a Clipper by the time the competition rolls around.
Kennard is having a strong season for the Clippers, averaging 11.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game in 28.4 minutes while leading the team from downtown at 42.8%, good for 6th in the NBA. His ability to get hot at a moment’s notice has been an asset to the “Cardiac Clippers,” who have mounted massive comebacks at a historic rate this season–frequently in part due to multiple threes from Kennard. His season was highlighted by a 25-point, 8-rebound, 6-assist effort against the Washington Wizards in January as the Clippers came back from down 35 to win by 1 point. Kennard made a three-pointer with 9 seconds left to cut Washington’s lead from 6 to 3, and then after a Wizards turnover successfully converted a 4-point play to nudge the Clippers ahead and give them a shocking victory.
For Luke, this will be his first appearance in any All-Star event (I had to double check the Rising Stars Challenge from his first two seasons), but it remains to be seen if he’ll enter the event as a Clipper or not. The Three-Point Shootout is on Saturday, February 19th, and the NBA Trade Deadline is Thursday, February 10th at 3:00pm Eastern Time. While Kennard has been a valuable member of the team this year, he faces competition at his position with the emergence of two-way player Amir Coffey, who has been starting over Luke in recent weeks, as well as the addition of Norman Powell in last week’s trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report noted that before the Cleveland Cavaliers opted to flip the expiring contract of Ricky Rubio (who is out for the season) to Indiana for Caris LeVert, the Cavs were talking to the Clippers about Kennard as well. None of this means that the Clippers want to trade Luke or will, but it’s no surprise that his name has come up in conversations.
Either way, Clipper Nation will be cheering on Luke in the Three-Point Shootout next weekend. Good luck, Luke!
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