After a pair of uninspiring games to start the preseason, Luke Kennard promised his Clippers teammates he would become more aggressive, write Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Kennard delivered on Thursday night, coming off the bench to score 13 points and hit 3-of-4 three-point attempts.
“After our first scrimmage in training camp, I just told him, ‘Be aggressive, be who you are,’” coach Tyronn Lue said. “‘If you’re doing too much, I’ll let you know – and I doubt I would ever say that.’ And I told him, ‘Kawhi (Leonard) and (Paul George), they need that from you. They want that from you. So don’t come here trying to fit in, trying to please guys. Just play your game, and then we’ll make sure we tailor your game around our offensive foundation.’”
Kennard is getting used to competition again after being shut down for more than a year. He was sidelined by knee tendinitis last December with the Pistons, and the league went on hiatus before he could return. The Clippers picked him up in a three-team trade on draft night.
There’s more on the Clippers:
- Leonard has responded to charges that the team and executive board member Jerry West used improper tactics to lure him to L.A., tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. According to a TMZ report, Johnny Wilkes, who claims to be Leonard’s friend, is suing West for $2.5MM. “That has nothing to do with me swaying my mind to go somewhere,” Leonard said. “I’m from L.A. and I grew up here my whole life and out here people try to find any way to get some money, so he probably won’t be the last. I know a lot of people out here.” TMZ has published a voicemail allegedly left by West.
- Mfiondu Kabengele remains in the Clippers’ plans for the future, even though the team elected not to take him to Orlando for the restart, Greif writes in a full story. President of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said it was difficult to decide who was brought to the Disney World campus. “We obviously were in a championship and still are in a championship contending mode, and we prioritize performance and medical for the playing group,” Frank explained. “You would have loved to have brought Fi there. Fi has a contagious personality. He stayed engaged throughout. He would jump on Zooms and watch practice. He would talk to his teammates. He talked to the staff. He kind of lived the journey remotely.”
- ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz examines how the Clippers can fix the flaws that caused them to underachieve last season with a second-round exit after adding two All-Stars.