Luke Kennard could make return tonight against the Thunder

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 19: Luke Kennard
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 19: Luke Kennard /

Detroit Pistons guard Luke Kennard could make his long awaited return from a right shoulder injury tonight. The Pistons should play him if he’s ready.

The Detroit Pistons have been without their second year shooting guard Luke Kennard since October 15th.

We may see his return tonight.

Fans, followers, and players alike were excited to see the sophomores progress. That has been delayed due to an injury to Kennard’s right shoulder. Kennard had run into a screen against Cleveland Cavaliers and was noticeably in pain.

In his rookie season, Kennard averaged 7.6 points a game, while shooting 44 percent from  the field and 41 percent from long range. With new head coach Dwane Casey, the expectation was to see some growth and a bigger role for Kennard.

He only played in three games before he got hurt, but only averaged 14 minutes a game. That’s down minutes from his rookie season where he averaged 20 minutes a game.

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Kennard had gotten hurt in the off-season, and some have said that he wasn’t in his best shape to start the season because of it. That may have had a lot to do with his low minutes at the beginning of the year, although with Langston Galloway and Bruce Brown playing well some are worried about how much Kennard will play.

There’s no doubt that Kennard should play a good chunk of minutes for this team as soon as he’s healthy. He was sent down to play with the Grand Rapids Drive team this week to see how he was feeling, and he looked really good.

Kennard finished that game with 27 points, five rebounds, and five assists  in 24 minutes of play. He shot 7-13 from the field, and 5-8 from long distance.

He said it was “sore here and there”, but all around he felt good.

After seeing him play in that game, it’s clear that he’s exactly what the Pistons need right now.

In this new Casey system, the team prioritizes shooting a ton of threes. The Pistons are sixth in the NBA in three point attempts per game at 34.3 a game.

That’s all good, exactly how the new era of analytics would like a team to play.

Except, the Pistons just aren’t making a lot of them.

They are 26th in the NBA in three point percentage at 32.9 percent. That is pretty awful.

To be that high in attempts a game, and that low in percentage is pretty embarrassing to tell you the truth.

Kennard immediately helps the team in that regard. As said above, Kennard shot 41 percent from three last season. He was arguably the best sniper in his draft class, and continued that into his pro career.

Casey may love Browns defense.

Casey may trust Galloway for some reason more.

But, if Luke Kennard can go tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder, one of those two guys should sit.

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And Kennard better play.