Can Detroit Pistons own Luke Kennard win an award this 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 is quietly having himself a good season for the Detroit Pistons, is he having a good enough season to win himself an NBA award?

Luke Kennard is quietly having himself a good season, partly from improvements made, partly because that’s what the Detroit Pistons need from him. Kennard is currently averaging 16.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists in a career high 32.8 minutes per game. He’s shooting 44.8 percent from the field, 39.9 percent from three, and 89.6 percent from the free throw line. That three-point percentage puts him 43rd in the league in players that have attempted more than 60 three-pointers.

The Case for Most Improved

Kennard has been under utilized up until this season in my opinion, but that gives him an opportunity. He has been given an increased role with plenty of minutes to get onto the court and produce. He fits the general criteria for players that generally win this award, a player who has had limited opportunity, has been given an opportunity and the role within the team to produce and but up good numbers.

I mean look at the previous three winners Pascal Siakam, Victor Oladipo, Giannis Antetokounmpo… they all met that general formula at some point in time.

Last season Kennard averaged: 9.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists in 22.8 minutes per game. That was on 43.8 percent shooting from the field, 39.4 percent from three, and 83.6 percent from the free throw line.

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There is a pretty clear improvement here from Kennard, and he should absolutely be in the mix for most improved. The only thing I can see going against him at the moment, is the Detroit Pistons record. The Pistons currently sitting 9th in the East at 10 wins and 14 losses, and they are a team that doesn’t get a lot of national media attention when they’re doing well, let alone when they are outside the current playoff picture.

The Case for Sixth Man of the Year

Dwane Casey has utilized Kennard almost exclusively off the bench, so in terms of eligibility, he’d almost always be a lock. However due to the Detroit Pistons injuries, he’s started 20 of 23 games, that may be his downfall. Does he have what it takes to beat out the ever present sixth man Lou Williams? Let’s have a look.

Lou Williams: 20 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists on 40.6 percent from the field, 34.4 percent from three, and 85.2 percent from the free throw line.

Luke Kennard: 16.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists on 44.8 percent from the field, 39.9 percent from three and 89.6 percent from the free throw line.

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So Williams absolutely has the edge, and there’s a pretty obvious reason he’s a perennial sixth man of the year candidate – he’s won the last 2, and 3 of the last 5 years! However if Kennard can have the same sort of production once he heads back to the bench, he should at least receive some votes due to his superior efficiency.

Kennard’s best opportunity to win an award is Most Improved. He’s shown improvement every season and has been a larger contributor every season he’s been in the league. He’s also shown growth within the team, being trusted to do more with the ball as reflected in his assist numbers, and is still the team’s best shooter. Hopefully he can get some votes and start getting the national attention he deserves, because he’s been having himself a good season.

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