Clippers appreciate the versatility of Terance Mann – Press Enterprise

Doc Rivers envisioned rookie Terance Mann as an NBA point guard, although he hadn’t played that position in his four years at Florida State where he was a shooting guard or small forward.

Three NBA seasons later, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue Mann’s staff is letting Mann fill a whole new role: “We say he’s playing the six.”

wait what If a point guard is one and a center is five, what is six?

Lue explained, “He plays the one, the two, the three, the four, the five – the six.”

“I think,” Mann said, “that just means I’m playing each position as best as I can. That I’m good at playing multiple positions and I don’t really have one, so I’m the six.”

His mother, Daynia La-Force, a longtime college coach who also coached in the WNBA, said “the six” suits her 6-foot-5 son perfectly.

“It really makes sense,” La-Force said over the phone. “It showed exactly what Terance means to the team in its versatility and how important that versatility is.”

In an era of positionless play, Mann is the man to turn to when the Clippers need someone to defend the other team’s top scorer, or someone other than Reggie Jackson to set up an offense — and probably when they need a fish need to gut or open a letter or cut a string.

“We don’t let him do too much,” Lue said of her resident Swiss Army Knife. “Just guard the best player, defend and rebound… handle the ball and play and attack the basket.”

These varied abilities were ingrained in man from an early age, his mother believes and attributes it to osmosis.

“Sure,” said La-Force, whose first question after games was usually “How many points did your man score?” and not “How many points have she Result?”

“Not only has he seen the importance of those skills, he’s heard me complain about how my players aren’t worth caring about basketball, don’t appreciate boxing and giving up a lot of offensive rebounds and not hitting the offensive boards,” La-Force said. “All the little things he’s heard me complain about over the years – he doesn’t want to be in the situation of being the player that the manager complains about for those reasons.”

Early in Friday’s game against Utah — against whom he posted a career-high 39 points and largely proved capable of mastering basketball’s most obvious skill: putting the ball through the basket — Mann was averaging career-highs across the board.

He averaged 10.6 points, 2.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds, including 1.3 offensive rebounds — his rebound numbers are the third best on the team behind centers Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein.

All just as important: The 25-year-old logged 29 minutes per game — about 10 more than last season, after splitting his 2,062 total minutes (second most among the Clippers) mostly between shooting guard (75%) and point guard (16%) ) and Small Forward (8%), according to Cleaning the Glass.

And no matter how much ball handling Mann does, he averages just 1.2 rallies per 36 minutes – fewer than every clipper save for Amir Coffey and Nicolas Batum. On Monday in Cleveland, Mann played a career-high 45 minutes in an overtime loss and finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, four assists — and no turnover.

“He took on that challenge for us all year,” said Lue, who certainly wasn’t complaining. “And he was good for us, a great provider.”

For his part, Mann said – both with his big grin and in so many words – that he enjoys all the roles that make up his role.

“I love it,” he said. “Keeps me grounded.”


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