Look out for The Green Kornet

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.

 Stats via NBA.com

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