After an ugly start shooting the ball in the 2019-2020 campaign, Laker fans have been quick to jump on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Despite cashing in some sizeable paychecks with the Lakers over the past three seasons, Caldwell-Pope has yet to take the major step the Lakers envisioned after picking him up from the Pistons.
Early in his career with Detroit, Caldwell-Pope showed signs of blossoming into an elite two-way threat. With an improving three-point shot along with excellent on-ball defense, Caldwell-Pope was initially considered a valuable asset to the franchises’ future. Though he posted the most efficient season of his career on a 2017-18 Laker team where he got extended (30+ minutes) playing time, he has since seen his shooting numbers regress as he has transitioned to more of a bench role, resulting in an atrocious 36/22% shooting split to start the 2019-20 season.
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Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Literally Trashed With Halloween Costume
Posted by Reddit user u/asdfghjared, one Laker fan decided to use Halloween as an excuse to drag Caldwell-Pope and literally dressed up as a trash can with his name on it. Disliked among Laker fans due to his expensive contracts and production that hasn’t necessarily lived up to said contracts, the post (at the time of this writing) was one of the top posts on the Laker subreddit.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s Unfortunate Start to the Season
After dropping a goose egg on opening night before draining a single free throw in the Lakers’ second game, Caldwell-Pope didn’t score from the field until his third game of the season. Things seemed to be on the up as Caldwell-Pope would finish the night against the Hornets with 4/8 shooting – including 2/4 from downtown.
However, Caldwell-Pope came out struggling hard against the Grizzlies and despite finishing 6/11 from the field, was mostly invisible until the Lakers had built up a 20 point lead in the fourth quarter. Caldwell-Pope looks hesitant to take his open looks on the perimeter at times and while he has played some strong minutes defensively so far, the Lakers have been getting far better two-way production at shooting guard from players like Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels.
Caldwell-Pope worked on his shot extensively with shooting coach LethalShooter over the offseason and he has the skill set to quickly play his way back into serious minutes if his shot starts falling regularly. Until that happens though, expect Cook, Daniels, and even Alex Caruso to continue to chip away at his minutes in the rotation.
A big part of the Lakers’ offense is predicated on having shooters flanking James and Davis. This is in order to keep the floor spaced and create easy open looks should opposing teams decide to double up on the Lakers’ superstars. If Caldwell-Pope’s shooting woes continue, teams will feel increasingly comfortable sagging off him and sending his defender into the paint to help shut down Davis and James. The Lakers offense looks precarious enough as it is and can ill afford to have subpar production from the guard spots.