LA Clippers in review: How high is Terance Mann’s ceiling?

Terance Mann, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Terance Mann, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Instant impact, contagious energy.

LA Clippers’ Terance Mann continued to prove his worth in his fourth season in the NBA.

Drafted by the Clippers with the 48th pick in the 2019 NBA draft, there wasn’t much expectation regarding the Florida State product — especially as the Clippers acquired two generational talents in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

As such, Mann averaged just 2.4 points in 41 games in his rookie campaign — nothing more or less than anticipated from a second-round pick on a win-now team.

But he took the world by storm the season after.

After Leonard suffered a season-ending injury in the second round against the Utah Jazz of the 2021 playoffs, Mann was inserted into the starting rotation. Shoes too big for an unproven sophomore to fill, people thought.

And they were shortly proven wrong.

Mann exploded for 39 points on a near-impossible 71.4 percent shooting from the field in a close-out game six against the Jazz. It wasn’t a household name like Leonard or George. It was a relatively unknown youngster that put the Clippers on his back en route to a historic 25-point comeback.

The Brooklyn, N.Y. native was a juggernaut on the offensive end. He singlehandedly bodied opposing players, unafraid of the then-reigning DPOY in Rudy Gobert. After a few momentum-shifting buckets in the paint, Mann would be the one to exploit Gobert’s weak perimeter defense, knocking down seven of ten looks from deep.

Thanks to Mann’s valiant efforts, the Clippers advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history in 2021. And he never stopped displaying this kind of energy and winning attitude.

Admittedly, Mann took a reduced role with the return of Kawhi Leonard and a surplus of other wings this season — a sharp-shooting Luke Kennard, bucket-getting Norman Powell and veterans Marcus Morris Sr. and Nicolas Batum. He played five fewer minutes each game and averaged two fewer points than last season.

But after the Clippers dealt away Kennard, Reggie Jackson and John Wall, Mann was given the role of interim starting point guard. Though not a known playmaker, Mann excelled in this role.

Terance Mann thrived in each of his opportunities for the LA Clippers.

Terance mann’s ability to attack the rim, knock down shots and defend opposing floor generals helped the LA Clippers until the much-needed arrival of a traditional point guard in Russell Westbrook. He finished the season as the third-most efficient rim-finishing guards behind De’Aaron Fox and Stephen Curry (72.2 percent).

On a team incessantly plagued by injuries, Mann was one of few players that Tyronn Lue could count on. The 26-year-old participated in 81 games and averaged 8.8 points on an efficient 51.9 percent shooting in 23.1 minutes of play.

With Leonard and George sidelined for much of the playoffs, Mann was again given a bigger role in the postseason. Though he didn’t quite score as he did in the 2019 playoffs, the former Seminole still impacted winning.

In each of the five games against the Phoenix Suns in the first round, Mann scored double digits on very efficient shooting. He finished the Clippers’ short-lived postseason averaging 10.6 points on 57.6 percent shooting from the field (71.7 percent true shooting).

More notably, his passion and vivacity were palpable and gifted run-ending stops and momentum-building plays to the Clippers. In a close game one win, Mann had a plus/minus of 13; even in a game five loss, he logged a plus/minus of 11.

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Slowly but surely, Mann has made a name for himself in the most prestigious hoops league in the world. He’s a dogged fighter that will dive for loose balls, muscle his way to crowd-raising dunks and sink shots from long range. And most importantly, help teams win ball games, by hook or crook.