As the NBA Draft draws closer and closer, players are analyzed and criticized over what they can and cannot do. The higher you are expected to go, the more you get reviewed and looked over.
This year, one of the most interesting prospects is Luke Kennard out of Duke University. Kennard had a great year at Duke, averaging 20 points while grabbing five rebounds a game and shooting an incredible 43-percent from three-point range. He almost won the ACC Player of the Year, narrowly losing to UNC’s Justin Jackson, to go with these impressive stats.
— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) May 12, 2017
Right now, Kennard’s draft stock is mid first-round, anywhere from pick 11-25. Those selections are invaluable to their respective owners, as they are usually from teams that are either one step away from becoming a great team.
Updated 2017 NBA Mock Draft.
1. Markelle Fultz
2. Lonzo Ball
3. Josh Jackson
4. Jayson Tatum
5. De’Aaron Fox …https://t.co/F407H2AGKP
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) June 15, 2017
Kennard could be that player for any type of team.
Think the Charlotte Hornets. They are a team that missed the playoffs last year, but made the playoffs the year before, meaning they are in a confusing, limbo-like state where they are not good enough just yet. If you bring Kennard to the team, you get an extra scorer who will bring that team over the hump.
That being said, why would he fall so far back in the draft? It is, simply put, because of his defense. Kennard has been a sub-par defender throughout his two years at Duke. He has a great offensive skillset, but the same cannot be said about his defensive capabilities. You simply will not do well in the NBA without being able to play at least some lockdown defense against tough, attacking offense. The modern NBA is more offensive-minded than we have ever seen before, meaning that you will get scored on over and over again if you cannot play good enough defense.
It is especially important for guards like Kennard to be able to at least contain and restrict the impact opposing guards have on the game. Add that with the fact that the NBA is more guard-centered nowadays, and if you cannot guard players of your own position, you will get ripped apart and not last long in the league. At the end of the day for Kennard, it all comes down to defense. He has proven his offensive game is great, but he has not made the same strides for his defense. While the possibilities and the ceilings unlimited for Kennard, we will have to wait and see how it pans out for him.