3 reasons why the Detroit Pistons should trade Luke Kennard

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

3. Can Kennard be a primary piece and win?

This is hard to gauge and, likely, the ultimate question regardless of if he fits the timeline. The Pistons brass were likely hired with a five-year plan in mind, but plans change. Selecting Sekou Doumbouya, who turned 19 in December, points towards a rebuild. He’s the best asset the Pistons have and certainly is a big part of their future.

Is Kennard a top-3 player for a contending team? Ginobili was as a two-way player. Redick made the playoffs in all 13 seasons of his career, but wasn’t a top-3 player. He was still a consistent contributor and a key piece, just not a primary piece. That was left to Paul, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Kennard’s ball-handling gives him a chance to be a third option, but he still leaves plenty to be desired on the defensive end. So he’d need to be surrounded by plus defenders on the wing.

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This season, Kennard has proven what he can do in the starting lineup. His minutes bumped up by 10 per game and his usage rate remains unchanged but his productivity has increased. His assist rate is up to 18.9% from 12.3% a season ago. His true shooting percentage is up to 58.9% from 56% each of his first two seasons.

Notably, Kennard’s Player Efficiency Rating is up to a career-high 14.4 (league average is 15). That’s good for fifth on the team, though it’s a small sample size for Reggie Jackson, who is ahead of him.

One is left to wonder how that would change on a better team. Certainly playing on a Pistons team that has not been anything but good. If a team is hungry enough before the deadline hits, everyone can find out sooner rather than later.

The Pistons shouldn’t be sellers just to sell. They can afford to wait for a team to meet their price, which should be at least two young assets — either a young player and a pick or two high-level picks, or some sort of combination.

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