The ‘Kornet Kontest’: Luke Kornet’s viral defensive move explained

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Luke Kornet has made himself a part of the Boston Celtics rotation this season, delighting fans with the ‘Kornet Kontest’, his signature defensive move.

Visit Twitter during any Celtics game this season and you’re likely to see mentions of the ‘Kornet Kontest’, an unorthodox method for challenging shots by center Luke Kornet. There aren’t a lot of signature defensive moves but Kornet’s is a delight and a welcome addition to the defensive lexicon.

He’s been doing it often enough this season that the unusual strategy has caught fans’ attention and regular highlight clips of opponents failing the ‘Kornet Kontest’ challenge are being shared to NBA Reddit and Twitter. You can even watch a full three-minute breakdown of the strategy on YouTube.

What is the ‘Kornet Kontest’ and why does Luke Kornet do it?

Typically, when closing out on a jumpshooter, the defender will try to contest the shot by getting as close to blocking it as possible or simply disrupting a comfortable follow-through. Kornet, with his 7-foot frame and 7-foot-2 wingspan, has gone with the tactic of simply jumping straight in the air, hands directly over his head, trying to obstruct the shooter’s view of the basket rather than the actual shot or their shooting motion.

It’s a relatively small sample size and an incredibly noisy scenario to assign defensive value to anyway, but opponents are just 16-of-52 on the season on shots 15 feet or more from the basket when Kornet is the closest defender.

Part of the reason this strategy is getting attention is simply more minutes for Kornet. He’s already appeared in 17 games for the Celtics this season, averaging 13.7 minutes per game, already more than double the total minutes he played last season. Kornet is averaging 12.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.8 blocks per 36 minutes, shooting 68.1 percent from the floor.

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