Who to Start—Kennard or Brown?
This is a question that has been a debate among Pistons fans throughout the whole of last season. Detroit has looked healthy on one side of the wing, but have lacked a consistent option on the other. It’s a position that has been filled by Kennard and Brown. The question is, who should start permanently? It’s best to look at this from both sides in an unbiased manner.
Let’s start with Luke. I’d say it’s fair to describe him as inconsistent, and in many points during the 2018/19 season, he has looked better coming off the bench. Surely this isn’t his long term goal, and it is clear that he has exceptional shooting abilities. If Luke was to be a permanent starter, he would have to work on efficiently performing well throughout the game. We’re talking about a 40 percent three point shooter from beyond the arc, and this is something that Detroit would certainly want in a starter.
Kennard has the ability to use both hands, which is a deadly asset and quite often causes defenders to become more aggressive than they need to be. Somebody with this ability to shoot from distance with both hands will also cause defenders to avoid double teaming Blake so often, and lead to him being more open, which is an obvious positive for Detroit.
Luke has been criticised for the defensive side of his game, which most can agree hasn’t been the best. More specifically, he has struggled to stay on his man and make plays optimally. Dwayne Casey has pushed Luke to get into passing lanes, which he is starting to do. However, he still has quite a way to go defensively.
He would bring a lot to the Pistons offense as a starter, and more minutes are only going to help him improve. This does not mean that we should ignore his defensive flaws though.
The other option is Bruce Brown. He is undoubtedly the better defensive option for Detroit. He has guarded some great shooters, and done so very well. Whilst his shooting range can be improved, his main strength comes from attacking the rim. Not only is he a solid finisher in this area, but we need to look at what this type of attacking does to the defense of the opposing team. If a player is constantly attacking the rim, the defenders are forced to give that attention. If they aren’t careful, open threes could be given away pretty easily. With players like Griffin, and Reggie Jackson who are constantly improving from beyond the arc, this isn’t something that any other team would want to happen.
Bruce Brown makes plays without fear and isn’t afraid to take risks. It is evident that the team moves quicker, and their movement flows very naturally with him on the floor. However, he only scored 26 percent from the three point line, and you can see his reluctance to take the shots. If he is going to be a reliable starter for Detroit, he needs to add range and unpredictability to his offense.
At this point, Luke Kennard is clearly the better shooter and is currently taking more strides to improve his defense than Bruce is to improve his offense.
If and when Brown adds to his offensive game, he most likely will be the better starter. Both players have a role to play in the team, and both players have things they can learn from each other. It will be interesting to see the route Dwayne Casey takes in the upcoming season.