During his second season in the NBA, Clippers wing Terance Mann posted some modest stats: 7.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists. Yet anyone who watched the Clippers last season knows those numbers don’t come close to telling his 2020-21 story.
What to look for in 2021-22? Well, a breakout year seems possible, especially with the Clippers missing star forward Kawhi Leonard as he rehabs from knee surgery that could keep him out the entire season. At least one league executive seemed to think that Mann was on the path to a breakout, as he landed with a mention on the NBA GM’s survey under the “most likely to have a breakout season” category.
When asked about, Mann seemed unimpressed, reminding us that if the GMs had thought so highly of him all this time, they could have given him a better draft spot when he came out of Florida State in 2019.
“You said GMs?” Mann said with a wry smile. “The ones that didn’t draft me? Forty-eighth pick? I don’t care about that sh—that stuff.”
Are GMs STILL Underrating Terance Mann?
It could be argued, in fact, that the GMs are still underrating Mann, who did not finish among the Top 7 in the category. Jaren Jackson of the Grizzlies led the way, followed by Anthony Edwards of the Timberwolves. Denver’s Michael Porter Jr. was third, followed by a tie for fourth: Ja Morant of the Grizzlies, Darius Garland of the Cavs, Kevin Porter Jr. of the Rockets and Keldon Johnson of the Spurs made that cut.
Mann was listed among the “also receiving votes” crowd. Considering Mann’s highlights last season included a 39-point effort in a Game 6 win in the second round of the playoffs—a win that pushed the Clippers to their first-ever Western Conference finals—his position on the list could be considered a bit of a slap in the face. Again.
Mann pointed out last week that he was even given the key to his city—Lowell, Mass.—during the offseason, which he said, “was really cool, so that was a great experience for me, yeah.”
And coach Ty Lue addressed the fact that the Clippers will be relying on him more.
“I don’t know what the next step is, to be honest,” Lue said, per the L.A. Times. “But, when he’s on the floor, he makes things happen and we understand that. The biggest thing for me, I think defensively, is just continue getting better, if I had to pick one thing. Being able to guard the point guards and then also being able to guard the bigger players if he has to switch on to a four, be able to guard those guys as well.”
Mann Could Key Clippers’ Second Unit
Whether Mann will figure into the starting five or come off the bench remains a question. He could slot in on the wing alongside star forward Paul George, or come off the bench behind Eric Bledsoe or Luke Kennard.
In Wednesday’s preseason matchup against the Kings, Mann came off the bench and scored 11 points in 17 minutes, making four of the six shots he attempted. He played 29:40 off the bench in the preseason opener against Denver.
The Clippers tried a second-unit look with George and Bledsoe still on the floor.
“We were just trying to see that second unit with (Bledsoe) at point, PG in there, me in there, Luke and I think it was (Isaiah) Hartenstein at the 5,” Mann said. “I was just playing my game with that unit, being aggressive, showing that they have another scorer on the floor if they need it—I know Luke can score, PG can score really well. So, I’ll be out there doing my thing also.”