The Lakers got off to a rough start in their season opener against the Clippers, however, arguably nobody had a tougher evening than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Pope had the misfortune of drawing the Kawhi Leonard assignment for the bulk of the night and his final numbers reflected the impact of that matchup – 0 points in 27 minutes on 0-3 shooting.
Brought in specifically for his defense and three-point shooting abilities, Pope has been fairly inconsistent for the Lakers. While at times he can be a lights-out three-point shooter, he still misses way too many wide-open looks from deep. Pope worked extensively with famed shooting coach Lethal Shooter over the offseason and the hope is that Tuesday night’s mishap was a one-off occurrence.
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Hilarious Video Resurfaces After Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Drops 0 Points
After his abysmal showing, the internet wasted no time flaming Caldwell-Pope for his scoreless night. Arguably one of the best jabs was an older video dug up from Caldwell-Pope’s introductory press conference back in 2017. During the presser, GM Rob Pelinka essentially says that acquiring Caldwell-Pope was an act of God and cited a story from the Bible about how bread was sent down from the heavens to the starving Israelites wandering the desert.
While this type of language seems to be par for the course when it comes to Pelinka – and the Caldwell-Pope signing was exciting after another atrocious season – calling KCP essentially an “act of God” may have been a bit extreme. Before joining the Lakers, Caldwell-Pope had never shot better than 35% from behind the arc and while considered a solid defender, was by no means an NBA All-Defense level talent.
To Caldwell-Pope’s credit, his night wasn’t entirely as bad as the box score made it out to be. Despite failing to score in his 27 minutes, Caldwell-Pope routinely drew the toughest assignment on the court in Kawhi Leonard and did pick up three rebounds and assists. Caldwell-Pope’s job in the offense isn’t to create looks or dominate the ball but instead function as a spot-up shooting outlet – unfortunately, he just missed the few open looks he had tonight. By no means is KCP off the hook for his ugly scoreless night but at the very least he wasn’t entirely useless on the court.
KCP’s Lakers Contract
After signing to back to back one-year deals with the Lakers at a well above market-value price, KCP resigned with the Lakers this summer on a two-year deal featuring a player option for the second year. Worth a shave over $16 million, Caldwell-Pope is due around $8 million each of the next two seasons – assuming he doesn’t opt out next year.
It would be hard to imagine Caldwell-Pope declining his player option this offseason considering the past few seasons he has had with the Lakers. While undoubtedly a valuable player off the bench, the Lakers have thrown considerable money at Pope ($18 million in 2017, $12 million in 2018) and have paid him well above market value during his tenure in Los Angeles.