After missing six games with an adductor injury Luke Kornet was back and he was ready to go, but he didn't see any playing time. Two games in a row, Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla DNP'd Luke Kornet.
While Kornet was out with an injury, Neemias Queta, who the Celtics signed on a two-way contract back in September, stepped up and took over his role. On December 19, against the Golden State Warriors, Queta finished the game with a double-double (10 pts, 10 rebounds). Four days later against the Clippers Queta had another double-double (14 pts, 12 rebounds.
While Neemias Queta showed himself to be a viable backup to Kristaps Prozingis and Al Horford, it didn't deter Kornet. On the second game of a back-to-back, Kornet was named the starter against the Toronto Raptors while Horford was out for rest purposes and Prozingis was ruled out because of a calf injury.
Luke Kornet had a dominate game against the Raptors finishing with 20 pts and 8 rebounds pushing the Celtics to a victory.
After the game Kornet opened up and talked about his current role.
"I feel like when you’re concerned about yourself and you’re in that situation, one, you start feeling a little bit powerless and stuff like that, which isn’t great," Kornet prefaced before saying, "But then also you’re not really uplifting or benefiting anybody. And especially on an NBA roster and those 18 spots, there’s going to be a lot of guys who aren’t playing on any given night and you kind of have the choice to be able to, yeah, sort of like offer your work to the good of the group or just kind of close in on yourself. To me, it seems like the better solution is pretty clear in that.”
Right now Kornet is focusing on being the best teammate and stepping up when his name is being called upon.
His Boston Celtics teammates agree: Luke Kornet is the ultimate team player
Jaylen Brown also had a few comments about Luke Kornet on being the ultimate teammate.
"Just a great locker room guy, gets along with everybody," Brown said. "He’s funny, so he kind of just uplifts everybody, even in moments where we don’t want to laugh. And then on the court, he’s just old reliable, is always in the right spot, does his job, screens, rolls, plays hard, gets those offensive rebounds, and steps up and in games like today. And he had a great game today. But Luke is the ultimate teammate.”
With the trade deadline being a month away, the Celtics want to upgrade their big men rotation. Maybe Kornet will keep the front office's eyes in-house instead of on what might be out there on the open market.