Detroit Pistons ‘hoping’ Luke Kennard is part of their rebuild

Luke Kennard was a part of Detroit Pistons trade talks but on Friday, senior advisor Ed Stefanski explained Kenanrd’s value moving forward.

For a brief, three-day period it seemed as if Luke Kennard wasn’t a part of the Detroit Pistons plans, but that wasn’t the case.

The third-year guard was the focal point of Pistons trade discussions with the Phoenix Suns, getting as close as “gaining traction” on Tuesday night but talks fell through as the teams met on the hardwood Wednesday.

Pistons’ senior advisor Ed Stefanski has seen Kennard’s year-over-year improvement and believes he is a valuable player.

“Luke is well-respected and well-liked by other NBA teams, and they should because the kid has a lot of talent,” Stefanski told reporters on a conference call Friday. “I thought what Luke did when I was here my first season and what Luke did to make himself this season, there was a nice jump there — a really nice jump. I think he’s a really good player.”

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Kennard has seen a significant jump in playing time. He played in 28-of-30 games before missing the last 25 with knee tendinitis. He’s averaging a career-best 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He’s also had his minutes bumped up to 32.9 per game.

The 24-year-old’s bump in assists comes while keeping his turnover rate down. He’s kept up with his consistent shooting, hitting 39.9% of 3-point attempts this season. His aggressiveness is getting him to the free-throw line 1.7 times more per game, too.

It’s a great fit for the modern-day NBA.

“I just think he’s a really good basketball player in today’s game — making 3s, making plays off the bounce, pick-and-rolls, seeing the floor,” Stefanski said. “I don’t think you can have enough playmakers and shooters in today’s NBA game.

“Yes, we’re hoping that Luke is part of this rebuild.”

That has to be an encouraging sign for Pistons fans who saw the reality of Kennard being traded coming to fruition late Tuesday night.

Kennard is expected to return after the All-Star break, Stefanski said. The Piston have been advertising Kennard with the Feb. 20 Milwaukee Bucks game — the first after the break. That could be his target return but, as Pistons fans have seen this season, those timetables can change.

Next: Is Svi Mykhailiuk a better prospect than Kennard?
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