Luke Kennard: Is He Undervalued In Detroit?

Detroit Pistons Luke Kennard. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Luke Kennard. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Luke Kennard had a solid rookie and sophomore season for the Detroit Pistons. Is he being undervalued as a player and an asset?

It’s March 2nd, 2019. The Detroit Pistons are playing in Cleveland against a lottery destined Cavaliers team.

The game has been over from the jump.

As the fourth quarter begins, Cavaliers broadcasters Fred McLeod and Austin Carr are beside themselves. The audible disbelief is palpable. Luke Kennard will not miss.

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With 9:40 left in regulation, Luke hits a three as the shot clock expires.

“Are you serious Luke Kennard? Can’t miss. Just stop it.” We hear from Fred.

with 8:58 left, Luke hits the shot heard around the world of Pistons Twitter.

Sizing up Nik Stauskas, Luke pulls up from 34 feet.

Right between the eyes.

Ending the night with a game high 26 points on 10/15 shooting and even 6/7 from three, it was apparent that despite the game being against an inferior opponent, Luke Kennard had officially arrived.

It hasn’t been easy. There were plenty of games throughout the past two seasons that Luke had shown a reluctance to shoot the ball, a lack of court vision, lacking defense, the list goes on.

But what we’ve learned is that’s not the true Luke. He’ll have his off days, as any player does. But when it comes down to it, the Pistons have a shooting guard who can run the perimeter, create space off the dribble, and pull up from Woodward Avenue.

On February 27th, Luke finished a game against the Spurs 0/6 from three. It was one of his poorest shooting performances of his short career.

How did he respond? By completely torching the basket for four games.

Luke went nuclear over his next short stretch averaging 20.0 points per game on a 59.2 field goal percentage and 59.3 three point percentage.

Luke finished the season with the highest three-point percentage on the team.

The worry that has been cultivated over the past several months is that there’s a plausibility that Luke could be on his way out of Detroit via trade. The odds are that no matter who the Pistons may be receiving as a return, it would be a mistake.

On a team that is full of “shooters who can’t shoot”, the last thing that should happen is giving up on your former first round pick who has proven time after time that he can close a gym with his jump shot.

Best utilized off pick and rolls and catch and shoot sets, Luke adds an element to the offense that the Pistons need arguably more than anything else. A consistent stroke from the perimeter.

The narrative has two sides. One being that Luke’s ceiling is close to J.J Redick, something that J.J himself even said he sees in Luke. That trading away one of your most valuable assets means likely mortgaging your future away for a short-term gamble.

Under almost no circumstances is that worth it.

The other side claims that the Pistons should sell high. Luke’s offensive game has at times lifted the Pistons to victories on his shooting ability alone, and that’s something that Detroit should utilize.

Whether that means obtaining the services of Mike Conley, or some other A-list NBA player emerging on the trade block, to some, the future looks very uncertain for Luke.

But Luke Kennard isn’t a bargaining chip, he’s not bait that we’re dangling in front of a handful of NBA teams in an attempt to get a trade haul.

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He’s a Detroit Piston, and he’s here to stay.