One of the intriguing storylines of the past month for the Clippers has been the emergence of guard Terance Mann, pressed into action by a variety of injuries—to point guard Patrick Beverley, to Paul George, to Kawhi Leonard. Mann is averaging 6.3 points over this season, his second in the NBA, but that does not measure his impact lately.
He has averaged 11.4 points in his past 13 games, shooting 54.1% from the field and 45.5% from the 3-point line. The Clippers are 6-2 when he plays 30-plus minutes and 18-7 when he plays 20-plus (19-11 when he does not).
But that does not mean one of the premier voices on the most popular NBA studio show should know who Mann is. Does it?
TNT’s Candace Parker certainly thinks so.
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When Shaquille O’Neal, the ex-Lakers star and Hall of Fame big man, talked about the benefits of ball movement for the Clippers during last night’s win over the Pacers, he noted that, ball movement, “lets guys we’ve never heard of get open shots.”
The guy in question was Mann. That’s where Parker stepped in. “Oh, that’s Mann. You better know Mann.”
Parker-O’Neal Dynamic a Regular TNT Feature
Over the course of the past year, the on-air back-and-forth between O’Neal and Parker has become a highlight for many during the Inside the NBA studio show. For some, though, it has been frustrating, because O’Neal generally plays the part of the ignoramus who has not watched enough of the NBA to know rotation players like Mann.
O’Neal is the old-school curmudgeon, while Parker—in sometimes painfully awkward moments—has to explain to him the basics of today’s game. For example:
Candace Parker making Shaq look real dumb while talking about modern pick-n-roll basketball pic.twitter.com/TQYwVVrVmx
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) March 3, 2021
At one point in March, per the L.A. Times, host Adam Lefkoe referred to Parker as the “reigning Defensive Player of the Year.”
O’Neal, seemingly taken aback, said, “You were Defensive Player of the Year?”
Parker responded: “Take the surprise out your voice.”
“She’s always bullying me!” O’Neal stated.
The ‘Sky’s the Limit’ for Mann’s Potential
But, O’Neal-Parker dynamic aside, there is no question O’Neal should know who a key player on one of the top contenders in the Western Conference is. Mann has been thriving lately, and his ability to maintain that performance will be critical for the Clippers down the stretch of the season.
L.A. has now won six straight games and 12 of its last 14. The Clippers are in position to stay hot, as five of their next seven games come against teams with winning percentages under .500.
Certainly, other TNT personnel have taken notice of Mann. During a near-comeback against the Nuggets, led by Mann, play-by-play man Marv Albert noted, “I’m sold on this kid, Mann.”
To which analyst Reggie Miller said, “I am, too!”
As Paul George told reporters:
His potential is through the roof. You see a kid who can do everything. And to me, those are the scariest players, because you can’t put a position on them. T-Mann is a position-less player and in this game that’s golden. He’s got the gift, he’s got the gift to do everything—he can defend, he can score, he rebonds great, he pushes in transition. Once he just develops the confidence in his shot and shooting off the bounce and working on his handle […] Sky’s the limit for the kid. I’m looking forward to seeing him develop and see him grow.
And someday, perhaps, even Shaq will know who he is.