(Another in a series of player profiles prior to training camp.)

Luke Kennard

Position: Shooting guard

Height/Weight: 6-6/206

Age: 23

2018-19 stats: 63 games, 22.8 minutes, 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 43.8 percent shooting, 39.4 percent 3-point shooting, 83.6 percent free-throw shooting.

Career stats: 136 games, 21.3 minutes, 8.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 44.1 percent shooting, 40.3 percent 3-point shooting, 84.7 percent free-throw shooting.

Contract: $3.82 million this season and team option of $5.27 million in 2020-21.

2018-19 in review: Improved scoring average by more than two points per game. … Scored 20 or more points six times. … Career highs in minutes (37) and points (28) Dec. 10 at Philadelphia. … Career-high six 3-pointers made (on seven attempts) March 2 at Cleveland. … Season-high nine rebounds vs. Chicago March 10. … Missed 16 games with an AC joint sprain of his right shoulder Oct. 27-Dec. 1. … Averaged 11.7 points and shot 47 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point distance in 25 games after the All-Star break. … More productive in 53 games off the bench (10.2 points, 45 percent shooting) than in 10 games as a starter (7.5 points, 38 percent shooting). … Scored a team-high 27 points in a must-win situation in season finale at New York, enabling team to reach playoffs. … Averaged 15.0 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 49 percent from the field and 60 percent from 3-point range in the four-game playoff sweep against the Bucks.

2019-20 outlook: Kennard is a valuable asset for a team in need of 3-point shooters. He’s a 40 percent career shooter from beyond the arc and figures to get better, not necessarily in percentage but in volume with more minutes and more assertiveness.

Coaches and teammates have implored Kennard to be more aggressive since he entered the league in 2017 and he took significant strides in the second half of 2018-19. A knee injury just before Summer League cost him valuable off-season training time and a shoulder injury early in the season set him back. But he improved steadily midway through the season and was at his best after the All-Star break. The Bucks were prompted to game plan for him in the playoffs.

While Kennard’s offensive skills have begun to blossom, coach Dwane Casey continues to stress his need to improve defensively, his weakness when drafted 12th out of Duke in 2017.

Other teams apparently see the potential in Kennard since he’s been frequently mentioned as part of a proposed package for a big piece the Pistons have tried to land. But they are unlikely to part with him at this point.

Kennard could start at shooting guard but is probably better suited to come off the bench as the sixth man and provide instant offense.

Quotable: “(Coach Dwane Casey) allows us to play free, space the floor and just be (ourselves). I learned a lot from him, from the other coaches this year, feel like I matured a lot, as a person, as a player. Just the basic fundamentals … I’ve continued to work on trying to be a knockdown shooter. We want to play fast, with a lot of pace. It’s fun when you play that way.” – Kennard.

Key question: Should Kennard start in 2019-20 or is he better suited to come off the bench?



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