When the Boston Celtics took on the New York Knicks on Nov. 5, Luke Kornet did not make an appearance despite not being on the team’s injury report. During the middle of the game, Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston confirmed that Kornet did not play because of personal reasons.
After the game, Joe Mazzulla told reporters after the game that Kornet will be out for the entire Celtics road trip.
The Celtics will take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Nov. 7 before going back home to face the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 9. To make up for the absence of Kornet, Al Horford, and Robert Williams III against the Knicks, the Celtics had Blake Griffin, Noah Vonleh, and Grant Williams all take up their frontcourt minutes.
The team could call up Mfiondu Kabengele from Maine to give them depth while Kornet is unavailable.
Celtics Bigs Praise Kornet
After the Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 5, Al Horford praised Luke Kornet for his work ethic as well as how he’s adjusted to the modern NBA.
“Luke works as hard as I’ve seen any guy work. He’s literally always the first one in the gym and usually the last guy out. The way that the game’s been played, he’s adjusted, and he’s found a way to make an impact. It’s good to see him out there playing confident, playing free. So, we’re really happy about his performance tonight,” Horford said.
Luke Kornet’s most notable contribution is jumping straight up in the air when opponents square up for three.
Robert Williams III, who traveled with the team to New York, praised Luke Kornet for his strategy when contesting three-pointers (NSFW: Language).
Kornet has seen his role with the team increase over his past four games. His minute totals over the last four games that he’s played have been 26, 19, three, and 15, and has looked good enough that reporters like Jay King of The Athletic have stated that he has separated himself from the other Celtics bigs like Vonleh and Griffin.
Exec on Luke Kornet
While Kornet’s minutes have increased as the season has progressed, an Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney that the Celtics relying more on their small-ball lineups than the lineups with Kornet signify that they’ll take a deeper look into their rotation when Robert Williams III returns.
“He has been OK, but he is not making anyone forget Robert Williams,” the exec said. “I am not sure they trust him enough. They seem more comfortable going with smaller lineups than with using Kornet. The more the season goes on, as we get past Thanksgiving and into December, they’re going to start thinking more about how their rotation looks even when Williams gets back.”
The executive then added his lack of confidence in Kornet and Blake Griffin as the Celtics options as backup centers and who they may target down the line.
“If it is going to be Kornet and Griffin behind Williams, that is not good enough. They’re overloading their top players with too many minutes this early in the season and that needs to change.
“I still think they’ll come back for another look at Dwight Howard or Hassan Whiteside, someone like that.”