How will Luke Kennard’s injury impact the Detroit Pistons?

 

Detroit Pistons guard Luke Kennard was injured in last night’s action against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 22-year old former lottery pick injured his right shoulder trying to fight through a Channing Frye screen.

Last night, Detroit Pistons fans who were clamoring for more Luke Kennard minutes were initially treated to some good news, followed shortly by some very bad news.

Kennard, who has only been playing 14 minutes per game this year (compared to 20 per game last season), was finally being featured in the offense in the first half against the Cavaliers. He was perfect on the night, shooting 4-4 (8 points) while adding an assist and a steal.

Unfortunately, at the end of the second quarter, he took a hard screen from Cleveland forward Channing Frye. It took him out of the game. This morning the Pistons gave us an update:

It’s unclear how long he will ultimately be out but Adrian Wojnarowski seems to know something we don’t. He said Kennard is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.

This is devastating to fans who saw his early performance as a way to break into Dwane Casey’s rotation, but such is the life of a basketball player.

Based on how much variance Casey has put into his lineups on a game-to-game basis, I’m confident Luke will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself once healthy. In the meantime…

How will Luke Kennard’s injury affect the Pistons’ rotations?

As I said, many Pistons fans have bemoaned the low usage of Kennard this season. However, in this situation that can be viewed as a slight positive.

They aren’t exactly losing a key piece right now, and I don’t expect this to send the team into a downward spiral or anything.

Casey spoke today on how they will distribute Kennard’s minutes:

Glenn Robinson III, who has been playing limited minutes lately, will stand to benefit the most from the injury.

He has seemingly been placed in Casey’s doghouse this year so far but could receive enough playing time to prove himself now.

I actually think Robinson was poised to see more minutes regardless in the next few games. The Pistons, who go up against the Celtics twice in a row in the next week, will need his size on the wing to go up against Boston’s Jaylen Brown.

While it seems like GRIII and Bruce Brown will gobble up most of Luke’s minutes, don’t be surprised to see Jose Calderon slide his way into a few games.

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Since Casey likes to use Ish Smith and Reggie Jackson together with the starting unit, losing a ball handler like Kennard off the bench could mean more minutes for Calderon.

Casey also mentioned Zach Lofton and Khyri Thomas as guys who could gain opportunities from Kennard’s absence. Both players have played under ten minutes on the season.

I flagged Thomas as a guy who could help the Detroit Pistons this year in a season preview piece.

We are hoping for a speedy recovery for Luke Kennard.

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