While the absence of Kawhi Leonard will likely keep the Clippers from title contention next season, some analysts believe this team can still be very competitive in the Western Conference. On a recent segment of ESPN's The Jump, Marc Spears joined Ohm Youngmisuk to talk about the LA Clippers' upcoming season.
While both analysts believed that Paul George is likely to have a monster season, and perhaps compete for the MVP award, Spears mentioned another Clipper that could take a leap forward next season as well. After analyzing the potential fit of newcomers Eric Bledsoe and Justise Winslow, Marc Spears said that he believes Terance Mann will take a step forward next season.
This prediction is predicated on Mann's play during the playoffs once Kawhi Leonard went down; however, these flashes from Mann had been shown on numerous occasions during the 2020-21 regular season. In the 15 games that T-Mann played at least 30 minutes last season, he averaged 13.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 2.8 APG, while shooting 51.3% from the field and 45.9% from deep. With Mann being the likeliest candidate to replace Kawhi Leonard in the starting lineup next season, it would certainly not be unrealistic to expect averages similar to these.
If Mann is able to match this level of production next season, it would not be unlikely to see him in the Most Improved Player discussion. While Kawhi's absence is certainly disheartening, the potential emergence of Terance Mann could be a silver lining.