Clippers shooting guard Luke Kennard joins a long list of players that are questionable to play in Friday’s rematch against the Utah Jazz.
The Clippers’ injury report listed Kennard as ‘questionable’ with a sore right knee, which kept him out of Wednesday’s initial Jazz matchup. He joins Kawhi Leonard (left lower leg contusion), Paul George (bone edema in his right toe) and Nicolas Batum (concussion) among LA’s wings that could or could not suit up against the league’s best team.
The Clippers will need Kennard if they hope to have a decent shot at beating Utah. The Jazz simply out-talented the Clippers in their first game, particularly in the fourth quarter.
Kennard brings a floor-spacing dynamic that allows guards like Lue Williams to create in pick-and-roll. He is, without a doubt, an excellent three-point shooter. He’s knocking down 44% of his threes this season, and it isn’t a fluke; he’s a career 40.7% shooter from beyond the arc. The issue with Kennard (one that has driven many a Clipper fan insane this season) is not about his efficiency, but rather the frequency of his attempts and his general lack of offensive aggression. He has a usage rate of 15.3%, the lowest of his career. This may be a result of playing alongside the ball-dominant Williams as co-members of the Clippers’ bench mob, but it is plain to see that Kennard hesitates far too often as a shooter and a driver.
If all four of the questionable Clippers end up not playing, it’s tough to see a scenario in which they can conquer the Jazz. Kennard might not be able to swing a game on his own, but his health is definitely a factor, both in Friday’s game and in the Clippers’ tough upcoming schedule.