Bulls Season Highlights: Luke Kornet
*65 game season
While Luke Kornet battled separate injuries both at the beginning and end of the season, he got an opportunity to start 14 games as big men Wendell Carter Jr. and Daniel Gafford missed time. Kornet shot the ball much better during the second-half of the season. Offensively he registered eight double-digit scoring performances and shot over 46% from the floor from January onwards, compared to shooting under 40% from October through December and no double-digit scoring games. During his time on the floor, fans saw a center with spot-up shooting ability (it’s nearly impossible to block his shot because of his high-arcing release) with also a soft touch around the rim.
At 7-foot-2, Kornet’s shooting from three is what sets him apart from the other centers on the roster. He knocked down 31 total threes in 36 games this season but was inconsistent in that area, hitting 29% of his attempts. Looking earlier in his career, he shot over 35% from distance in each of his two seasons in New York. The hope is that Kornet uses this extended offseason to fully recover from his lower-body injuries sustained during the season to return next year as that stretch-five center that defenses have to respect, which opens up the floor for this young Bulls squad.
Luke Kornet starts a game 5-for-5 against Detroit.
Let's take a look at two of Kornet's notable performances this season:
JANUARY 31, 2020 AT BROOKLYN (NETS 133, BULLS 118)
Kornet Stat Line: 19 points (7-11 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
With both Wendell Carter Jr. and Daniel Gafford sidelined, Luke Kornet got the start in the middle in this one. Kornet had an efficient night offensively scoring 19 points, a season-high up to that point, on 7-of-11 shooting. He found success in the pick-and-pop game and rolling to the rim for high-percentage buckets. However, the Bulls had no answer for a red hot Kyrie Irving who went off for a season-high 54 points as defensive specialist Kris Dunn left the game on the first possession and did not return.
FEBRUARY 9, 2020 AT PHILADELPHIA (SIXERS 118, BULLS 111)
Kornet Stat Line: 25 points (10-14 FG, 4-8 3PT), 2 rebounds, 1 block
The Bulls were undermanned again as Kornet continued to gain starting opportunities. He delivered in a big way on this night. Matched up against All-Star center Joel Embiid, Kornet dropped a career-high 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting. At one point in the fourth quarter when Embiid went to close out on Kornet at the top of the key, Kornet blew right past him to find an open lane for a two-handed flush. Both Kornet and Zach LaVine were feeling it from behind the arc, combining to shoot 9-of-18 from three. But that shooting was essentially neutralized by an equally hot Furkan Korkmaz who scored 31 points off the bench for Philly on 12-of-17 shooting, leading the way for a Philly victory.