LA Clippers: Examining Terance Mann early on in 2021

Jan 17, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Aaron Holiday (3) guards Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann (14) in the second half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 17, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Aaron Holiday (3) guards Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann (14) in the second half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Clippers have only played 16 games as of last night, and they already have won 12 of those in this shortened NBA season. The team seems to be firing on all cylinders, and they are a win ahead of where they were at this point last season. Unlike a lot of the Clippers teams of the past, there aren’t a lot of home grown players that are contributing to this success, but the main prospect that has already improved is the 2019 48th NBA Draft pick, Terance Mann.

To preface looking at these statistics, it is worthwhile to note that a lot of these numbers are not near the league average line, but to counter anyone thinking that improvement means getting to that line, Terance Mann is not in the same position as someone like Ja Morant. Improvement in this case is pitching in the best numbers possible in the short minutes that Mann gets, and looking at his rebounding numbers alone is a great example of the personal improvements that Mann has already made in year two.

Despite not getting much time on the court, Terance Mann of the LA Clippers has been steadily improving as an NBA player in his second year.

Even though he was drafted in the second round, Mann has had some real big expectations on his shoulders from the front office of the LA Clippers since he played his first game last season. In the 2019-2020 season, Mann averaged 2.4 points, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 rebounds through 41 games played, and it has been a pleasure to watch those numbers improve through 27 fewer games.

Taking a look at his statline this year, Terance is averaging 2.2 points, 0.6 assists, and 2.4 rebounds. Just slightly behind in points, Mann has become a better rebounder despite his size at 6’5″. In 14 games, Mann has caught 33 total rebounds, and is on schedule to easily surpass the 55 he had last season if he continues to get consistent minutes on the court.

Continuing the comparisons, Mann is at a 13.4% in total rebounding percentage after a 7.0% in 2019-20, although it is clear that the best improvement in this part of his game comes on the defensive rebound percentage, which is now up at 19.5% from last year’s 11.2%.

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More on advanced defense stats, Mann has a 102.2 in defensive rating to start off this season averaging 8.9 minutes. To give another example of defensive rating, Kawhi Leonard is at a 106.8 in 34.4 minutes average. It is more so a point as to how great Kawhi is to keep that number being out there every night in more than 30 minutes, but even for Mann to keep a 102.2 in his short minutes shows that he has promise as a defensive player in the future, and he is just 0.8 off of his defensive rating from 2019-20 through 14 games played. Through the season, the signs are there that Mann could easily finish this season as a better and more experienced player that can hang in there during those minutes where the rest of the team could need a rest.

Mann hasn’t been perfect this season though, and the sophomore slump is showing up early on in one area. In most offensive categories, Mann is behind on his totals from last season. His net rating is -6.0 because of how far back he has fallen in the offensive rating category. We compared a player like Leonard to Mann earlier in defensive rating to show that his hustle on the defensive side in his short minutes has improved, despite being slightly short on his total from last year, but on offense, Leonard is at a 120.8 in offensive rating, while Mann is at 96.2.

96.2 as an offensive rating is pretty bad compared to the 103.1 he had in his rookie season, and the offensive numbers aren’t much better besides his average points. 39.4% in field goal percentage, 28.6% in three point percentage, 50.0% in free throw percentage, the list goes on. Keep in mind that Mann still has 238 minutes to catch up to his numbers last year, but so far, the offense has been a little hard to come by for Terance.

Still, despite those offensive numbers falling, Mann’s progression as a player has allowed him to have some real bright performances so far. The best performance of his short season came in a 30 minute effort against the Sacramento Kings on January 15th, and he finished with 13 points, 1 assist, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals to boot. Sadly one rebound short of a double-double, it wouldn’t have been his first.

Mann was one rebound short of a triple-double back on August 14th of 2020, but ignoring that, just falling short of a double double is a great sign for Mann this season. It is also noteworthy that Mann shot 62.5% in field goals and 66.7% in three pointers during that game against the Kings.

Not much else has been seen yet of Mann since that performance against Sacramento, but I am happy to say that I see a lot of potential in him so far. To be brutally honest, this season has been exponentially worse for the prospects early on than last season was, but the best bright spot is easily the play of Terance Mann and his growth into a truly reliable backup. It shows best when head coach Tyronn Lue gives Mann more minutes, and in his first real game of 2020-21, he was just one rebound short of a double-double.

There is still plenty of time in the remaining first half of 2020-21 that Mann can use to improve his offensive woes, and with the determination he has shown in putting in the extra practice to get things right, I believe that those numbers will be up before the end of February if he gets plenty of minutes. Defensively, Clippers fans can be happy to know that Mann is continuing to sparkle when he gets those opportunities to stack up the steals and rebounds.

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To close out, when I wrote about the potential prospect trio of Mann, Mfiondu Kabengele, and Amir Coffey last year, I guess I should have known that this trio was really the Terance Mann show. Keep an eye out for any minutes that he gets, they have the potential to be really dazzling despite the score.