Cleveland — Luke Kennard is feeling right at home during All-Star Weekend.
He’s back in his home state of Ohio, and Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse is only about three hours away from his hometown of Franklin.
So much has changed for Kennard, who was a first-round pick (12th overall) by the Pistons in 2017. He’s in his second season with the Los Angeles Clippers, and going from a team that had struggled to make the playoffs to one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
Kennard, though, still can shoot the 3-pointer. He’ll be one of the participants in Saturday’s 3-Point Contest — and deservedly so, ranking second in the league in 3-point percentage (44.8%), just a smidgen behind Miami’s P.J. Tucker.
“It’s great. It’s been a dream of mine and I grew up watching All-Star Weekend as a little kid,” Kennard told The Detroit News on Saturday. “To be back home in Ohio, it’s even more special. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m just going to enjoy the moment and enjoy the weekend. I have family and friends here, so I’m excited.”
Participating in All-Star Weekend is an honor, and for Kennard, it’s a chance to see himself where he once saw his basketball idols when he was growing up. It’s about being in the spotlight and being able to deliver in that setting.
For him, the 3-Point Contest is a little different than it looks on TV. It’s a lot of preparation and working on the fundamentals and figuring out how to get all the little things just right.
That takes some work to figure out.
“It’s the timing and just getting a rhythm going and which side you want to have the ball on. It takes a lot of practice,” Kennard said. “People don’t realize how quick and how fast you have to go, but I think I have it all down.”
It’s a stacked roster of competitors for Kennard, but just being among them shows how far he’s come in his development. During his first three seasons with the Pistons, he had to fight off injuries, and he’s in line to play the most games in his career.
Though he’s moved on to the Clippers, he still keeps an eye on the Pistons and how they’re doing during their rebuild.
“I think they’re building something really special there. I’ve been keeping up with them still,” Kennard said. “I’m excited to continue watching them and support them. They had three guys here at All-Star Weekend — and that’s big, just to experience it and learn a lot.”