May 23, 2024

Terance Mann will be part of the Clippers’ starting lineup when the NBA’s regular season begins next week.

Though point guard Russell Westbrook, wings Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and center Ivica Zubac had long established themselves as starters, the role of the fifth starter had not been revealed until coach Tyronn Lue’s announcement before practice Friday.

The Clippers spent their four-game preseason schedule, which concluded Thursday, testing various options by rotating Mann, Robert Covington and Nicolas Batum into the starting lineup. The 6-foot-5 Mann, who turned 27 this week, has been tasked with every role from point guard to defending centers in his four previous seasons with the Clippers but saw his role fluctuate last season.

“I think his versatility of being able to guard point guards as well as twos, threes and fours makes the most sense right now so that’s what we’re going to go with right now,” Lue said.

“We’ll use our 10-, 15-game sample size and see how it looks but I think with our mind-set this year of going into [the season] with a defensive mind-set to start every game, I think he best fits that for us right now.”

Mann has been the subject of trade discussions between Philadelphia, which would like Mann included in any deal for James Harden, and the Clippers, who value Mann’s winning qualities and want to keep him.

Mann played 16 minutes with Leonard and George during preseason, with the Clippers outscoring opponents by 10 points in that span. Last season lineups featuring that trio were elite offensively, scoring 128 points per 100 possessions, but also allowed 122 points, according to Cleaning The Glass.

Lue didn’t define Mann as any particular position.

“The sets we run are pretty interchangeable from the one, two and three anyway and he knows the four as well so it’s pretty interchangeable,” Lue said.

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