Luke Kornet, who originally seemed like a complimentary piece
to help facilitate a trade that sent Daniel Theis to the Bulls, has turned into
a nice surprise for Celtics fans so far. For those of you who are not familiar
with him, he’s a 25-year-old, 7’2” center out of Vanderbilt. Kornet went
undrafted after his senior year in 2017 but was picked up by the New York
Knicks for the Summer League and signed a two-way contract with the team not
long after. In 2019 he signed a fully guaranteed 2-year contract with the Chicago
Bulls, and just under a week ago he was traded here to Boston.
Kornet has played just 26 minutes between two games for the
Celtics but has already picked up a few nicknames for himself, my personal favorites
being Uncle Luke, The Green Kornet, and Murder Kornet. He’s been surprisingly
productive in both games and provided a significant boost off the bench.
In his first game with the Celtics, they took down the Thunder
111-94. Kornet went 3-5 from the field
(60%) and 2-3 (66.7%) from three-point range. All of those made shots were very
timely, giving Boston their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter, and after
that point they never looked back. Along with those 8 points he also pulled
down 5 boards and was second on the team in +/- at 21.
In his second game the Celtics took on the Pelicans and
ended up falling short at 115-109. He put up 10 points on 4-6 (66.7%) shooting
from the field and 2-4 (50%) from three. Along with his shooting he also played
a good first half of defense on Zion. The second half wasn’t as pretty, although
stopping Zion seems to be a near impossible task nowadays. Kornet brought down
4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block to round out his performance, again some
solid production off of the bench.
Uncle Luke made his presence felt in both games, using his
big body to slow down the opposing offenses in the paint while shooting with a
great deal of touch from behind the arc. His offensive capabilities forced the
defense to respect his range and got Tatum and Kemba some open looks that they
hadn’t seen in a while. He clearly has a lot of upside, and it seems like the
team is already a big fan of his.
Going forward I would expect to see Brad Stevens inject him
into the lineup when the offense looks stagnant, something that’s happened far
too often this season. He hasn’t had to defend the switch much yet this season
which could be a cause of concern going forward, although he does a good job of
protecting the basket, so there’s always going to be some give and take. He
moves and shoots considerably well given that he’s a 250-pound 7-footer, and he
looks like he has a great attitude and a lot of potential.
I wouldn’t be surprised
if Danny Ainge makes an effort to bring him back next year, and just based off
of his limited minutes so far, I would be happy with that decision too. Personally,
I think we should give him the max this offseason (for credibility purposes
this is a joke.) For now, though, let’s focus on the current season. The Murder
Kornet is out for buckets and he’s not gonna stop until he brings home banner
18. Let it fly, big fella.