Deep Dive: Luke Kennard vs. The Heat

Against the Heat on Sunday, Luke Kennard got his first major minutes in a competitive NBA game of his career. The Pistons won as Kennard played the entire 4th quarter and he finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in just over 27 minutes played. While not exactly a coming out party, it was close, so let's go on a deep dive into the play of the Pistons rookie.


Kennard came into the league with expectations of being a terrible defender, he is a white dude from Duke without a good wing-span and he didn't show a whole lot of desire to be a good defender in college. He is lacking in overall speed a bit and also has all the rookie kinks that are there with every young player, but he has not been the train wreck a lot of people figured he would be.

First off is his off-ball defense, there are of course many possessions where he is not overly involved in the play and is largely standing off the ball. Most of those plays looked something like this: