Luke Kennard was a lottery pick in last June’s NBA draft, selected No. 12 overall by the Detroit Pistons.
But, he appears to be flying under the radar when lining him up against lotterymates such as Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson and many more.
But ESPN’s Mike Schmitz writes Thursday that the league’s “forgotten lottery pick” will get his chances this season with the Pistons, one of 10 “underrated” rookies to watch out for this season (pay site). Schmitz divvied up the rookies into two categories — short-term impact and long-term impact — and slid Kennard into the former, which is for rookies who “are likely to have more of an impact this season than most might anticipate.”
Kennard averaged 19.5 points during his sophomore season at Duke, shooting 44 percent from 3-point range. He’s averaging 6.8 points in 24 minutes through four preseason games, though he’s drained just 28.6 percent (2 of 7, so it’s a small sample size) of his 3-pointers.
“He’s a tough shot-maker with a strong feel for the game who can play more on the ball than your typical versatile shooter,” Schmitz writes.
Kennard’s defense has been cause for concern, though Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy has said he’s better defensively than expected. And, while Schmitz writes Kennard will have “to improve drastically on the defensive end to play for long stints under Van Gundy,” Kennard will figure into the team’s immediate plans.
“ ... On a Pistons team that finished last season 27th in 3-pointers made per game and 28th in 3-point percentage, Kennard is going to get minutes,” Schmitz writes. “His versatility allows him to play alongside Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, Langston Galloway and Ish Smith. He has made clutch shots in high-stakes ACC games and has the confident mentality to have a big impact right away on a team that badly needs his scoring and playmaking.”