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DBB on 3: Pistons first round draft pick Luke Kennard

So the draft is done, Mr. Kennard from Duke is our man. What do our writers think of our newest Piston?

NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The draft is over. Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Bower seem pleased. NBA media seems generally positive, if not ecstatic. Diehard fans, of which each of the writers here at DBB most definitely would count themselves, can sometimes be a different animal though.

We don’t necessarily ascribe to the common wisdom. I’m sure there were many among us who may have hoped a player might have fallen (Dennis Smith Jr, in my case) based on some last minute bump by a lesser player or through an indescribable pick by a normally terrible-drafting team (Sacramento, I was looking at let me down).

But the draft actually went remarkably according to plan, or at least how mock drafts had envisioned. Malik Monk falling to Charlotte was seen by some as a bit unusual but not by all, and Luke Kennard being available for and picked by the Detroit Pistons was widely seen as the most likely outcome. I was honestly a bit disappointed when the pick was announced because as I said I was hoping for a drop from Dennis Smith, followed by the tease of Malik Monk and then the possibility of Donovan Mitchell. Yet the more I read up on Kennard the more I’m cautiously optimistic.

In this edition of DBB on 3 we asked our writers to give their first and second impressions, along with some thoughts on expectations for Luke, and finally a request for possible nicknames...some are not pretty, just a heads up. (If it were the 80’s Luke Duke would be, yeah notsomuch)

1. What grade did you give immediately upon hearing that the Detroit Pistons had selected Luke Kennard with the 12th pick? Has your grade changed since?

Ben Gulker: A, and that hasn't changed. Not because I think he will be a starter, but because he was arguably the best player available and his shooting addresses the greatest roster need.

Ben Quagliata: B+. He was my guy all along, but I’m hesitant to give it an A because that’s more reserved for a knock it out of the park type player. Kennard is going to be a specialist who fits a need in Detroit with his shooting and playmaking, and that’s all you can ask for using the 12th pick. You’re not getting a generational superstar (usually). No one left on the board would’ve been an A.

Justin Lambregtse: I gave them an A and I still give them an A. Luke Kennard and Donovan Mitchell were the two highest players I had on my board that would be realistically available at 12, I liked Kennard a bit more than Mitchell.

Steve Hinson: Immediately: A

He was the right pick for the spot. I would have loved to have seen Zach Collins or Malik Monk drop to the Pistons, but it's always risky giving up a future pick just to move up a couple of picks. Some may prefer Donovan Mitchell, but I think Kennard is a much better player at this point in their careers.

Changed since: B for the draft as a whole

I would have liked to have seen them grab a second round pick for the falling Ike Anigbogu. Even if the price for a pick was steep, $3.5 million for the Golden State Warriors to get the 38 pick, it's still much less than what the Pistons paid for their third center last year - which was $7 million for Boban Marjanovic.

Kevin Sawyer: B-. There was better talent on the board (John Collins in particular), but I get it. The Pistons desperately need shooting, and Kennard is a shooter. That said, three point shooting doesn't project particularly well to the NBA level compared to other categories. That his profile is otherwise underwhelming to downright bad means he has to deliver on outside shooting at an elite level, or he really doesn't deserve a roster spot. But if he does, then we have solid player for cheap the next four years. That's a decent risk at the 12.

Sean Wheeler: A-. While Kennard has his limitations, you can’t argue with taking the best overall offensive player still on the board, especially when offense is the exact quality your team needs the most. I really don’t have the patience to wait for a guy like Mitchell to become a decent shooter.

Ken Wallace (revken): My immediate reaction was a D, but now that I've thought it over and considered what our other options were, I give it a B.

Ryan Pravato: My grade jumped in the few days since from a B to an A. He's a safe choice and it's tough to argue that he doesn't have a lot of upside still. Pistons filled a need and at the very least he'll be a good 6th or 7th guy in the league for many seasons. In fact, in a post back in May I said that Kennard is "exactly what the Pistons need." Based on his numbers in perhaps the best college league in the world and the eye test (my eye test), there's a pretty decent chance he becomes one of the best shooters in the league in due time - so what's not to like?

Lazarus Jackson: B+, and it hasn't changed. I only had one player (Justin Jackson) higher on my big board for the Pistons, and that selection (or a player like Malik Monk falling to 12) would have netted an "A" grade from me. As-is, Kennard should fill a huge need for the Pistons and I look forward to watching him in Orlando Summer League.

Jordan Bellant: I would give it a B+. I like Luke and think he can be a solid rotation player for years to come. I think his offense translates and he is a smart player that can learn to not be a total liability on defense. Not sure how he fits with Stanley Johnson on the wing, it's a good test for SVG.

2. What is your best case scenario for Luke, this year and long term?

Ben Gulker: This year, 10-15 minutes per game, 35 percent or better from deep on 2 attempts per game, and adequate team defense. Long term, I see him as a role player providing a shooting and scoring punch off the bench.

Ben Quagliata: Spaces the floor effectively enough to be used by SVG and plays hard enough on defense to cause opponents second thoughts. In terms of stat projections, I think a good best case this year would be 38 percent from 3, 15 minutes a game or so, 6-8 points per game.

Justin Lambregtse: I expect Luke Kennard to spend most of the year with the Pistons. I don't see him playing as much as Stanley Johnson did as a rookie, but I think he will still get some playing time. Long term, I think he will be a player with scoring lunch off the bench.

Steve Hinson: Kennard has the ability to be a potent, efficient scorer in the league. His three point shot looks to me like one that will translate well and early. If the Pistons don't bring back Reggie Bullock, I think he'll be the team's best three point shooter next season. That could make for some rotation decisions with Stanley Johnson. Long term, I think he’s probably a starter who can be all you want out of a complimentary scoring option.

Kevin Sawyer: Best case scenario is that he hits threes at a rate in excess of 38 percent and doesn't try to do too much and is able to stay on the court for 20+ minutes per game. Long term, he becomes an elite shooter who can give a team 15 points per game on 60 percent true shooting percentage.

Ken Wallace (revken): Best case for Kennard this year is being our number two shooting guard behind KCP, which means that Stanley doesn't play any shooting guard.

Ryan Pravato: If he can't average at least 12-15 minutes per game his rookie season, then there's a problem. It's not like there's a bunch of guys ahead of him in the pecking order besides KCP. It will be fun to see if SVG gets creative with lineups - but I won't hold my breath. Most regular season NBA games don't feature much defense until the fourth quarter (if even then), so Kennard just needs to not be brutal on that side of the ball (it would be an improvement from much of the team) and he'll earn his playing time.

Career wise: Poor man's Gordon Hayward is best case. Worst case is Troy Daniels, a liability on defense but can really get hot here and there. Or, Luke Kennard becomes a solid version of Luke Kennard...which is acceptable. I don't think there's a ton of players like him out there. That's a fun thing.

Lazarus Jackson: Best case? Luke shoots well enough to encourage Stan Van Gundy to actually utilize a 10-man rotation, and defends well enough to not make him regret it. If his ball handling and ball movement makes the other bench players he's on the court with better (like, say, Stanley Johnson?) all the better.

Jordan Bellant: This year, playing 15 minutes per game and being an efficient scorer. Long term, a J.J. Redick-like starter for a playoff team.

3. Give a shot at a nickname...go know you've thought about it.*

Ben Quagliata: Obscure one here. Barbie. Mainly because he’s blond and has “Ken” in his last name *ducks*.

Justin Lambregtse: I am terrible with nicknames, so I am not even going to try. (Lukie the Dukie? See, that's why I don't try).

Steve Hinson: K3NNARD will probably happen. Other than that, I got nothing.

Kevin Sawyer: He looks like my friend Adam Omelianchuk after he has had a couple of beers, so I am going to call him Omeliandrunk, and I hope that really catches fire because that would be baffling to both parties.

Sean Wheeler: Hopefully we’re calling him Luke Skywalker and joking about him using The Force to drain endless threes!

Ken Wallace (revken): Nickname? The Duke of Luke? That's the best I got.

Ryan Pravato: Boy Band? Luke Charming? Prince Charming? The Force (got the idea from Sean Wheeler's explanation)?

Lazarus Jackson: "Hot Hand Luke." Get it? Heh.

Jordan Bellant: KenNard Dog. Boom.


What are your thoughts? Feel free to copy/paste and give us your answers below.

1. What grade did you give immediately upon hearing that the Detroit Pistons had selected Luke Kennard with the 12th pick? Has your grade changed since?

2. What is your best case scenario for Luke, this year and long term?

3. Give a shot at a nickname...go know you've thought about


*Shout out to Awesome Hog who even before this piece came out offered the nickname Jean Luc Kennard