Should the Detroit Pistons start Luke Kennard next season?

Detroit Pistons Luke Kennard. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Luke Kennard. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Luke Kennard has come off the bench for the Detroit Pistons for the majority of his career. Should the Pistons start him next year?

Luke Kennard has played in 136 games for the Detroit Pistons in the last two years. Kennard has only started in just 19 of those games.

Kennard was regulated to playing the role of the sixth man for the Pistons this past season and made strides as the season progressed. However, many fans believe Dwane Casey and the Pistons may be holding Kennard back in what he could actually be.

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The Pistons got a taste of this in Kennard’s first-ever playoff experience against the Milwaukee Bucks this past season. Superstar Blake Griffin was out the lineup the first two games due to a lingering knee injury, which made Casey insert Kennard into the starting lineup.

The problem throughout the season was Kennard’s inability to play at his peak aggressiveness when sharing the basketball court with Griffin. The Pistons ran almost their entire offense through Griffin, which can be seen by his team-leading and career-high usage rate of 30.2 percent.

This often left Kennard spotting up and not being as involved in the offense as he usually finds himself when coming off the bench.

So, Griffin being out of the lineup opened up touches for Kennard to handle the ball and work the offense in the pick and roll.

Kennard went on to average 15.0 points, four rebounds, 1.8 assists, on a true shooting percentage of 60.4. In the first two games without Griffin in the lineup, Kennard averaged 20 points, four rebounds, two assists, on a true shooting percentage of 68.5.

This shows Kennard struggles to co-exist with Griffin on the court, but I believe this falls on Casey and the coaching staff. Casey has often said that this team runs concepts, not plays. He gives his players free motion out there to do what they think is best.

However, this is not always the best way to play the game of basketball. It falls on the coach to have some sense of structure within the offense. And when you have a player who is easily your best wing on the team incapable of playing alongside your superstar player because he gets relegated to just spotting up, it falls on the coach.

Not only would getting Kennard involved in the offense more with Griffin help the Detroit Pistons win games, but it would also take some of the load off of Griffin who we just saw wear down at the end of the season.

It’s impossible to expect Griffin to carry as much of a load as he did this past season next year and expect him to be healthy in April. Casey must be a head coach here and find a way to best utilize the players he has.

Luke Kennard should be starting for the Detroit Pistons next year. But, it depends if Casey will find a way to incorporate him into the starting offense.

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If Casey can’t do that next year, Kennard will have to stay in the sixth man role.