After finishing 21st in the NBA in 3-point percentage, the Los Angeles Lakers have started off this season red hot from beyond the arc. They have shot 40% from three through 16 games, which is third-best in the league. Much of the Lakers’ success from three is thanks to Kentavious Caldwell Pope.
The veteran guard is shooting close to 57% on 3-pointers this year, which would put him on pace to break the record for the highest percentage in a season. Kyle Korver shot slightly less than 54% during the 2009-2010 season. Caldwell-Pope has an excellent game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday when he hit 7-10 from three. Despite the strong performance, Lakers teammate Alex Caruso didn’t realize the guard played that well.
“He made seven threes?” Caruso said after Thursday’s win, via Silver Screen & Roll. “I didn’t even know that.”
Caruso was called out for not noticing and just chalked it up to Caldwell-Pope making it look easy.
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LeBron James Explains What KCP Bring to Lakers
The Lakers handed Caldwell-Pope a sizable contract (three years, $40 million) in the offseason and it’s starting to look like one of the better moves the team made. He’s been the team’s best shooter and a valuable piece on offense. LeBron James knows what makes Caldwell-Pope important.
“KCP, he knows why he’s out on the floor,” LeBron said. “That’s to spread that floor, that’s to give us a lot of energy … When he’s open, we want him to shoot it. When he’s guarded closely, we want him to still shoot it. When he’s shooting the ball, he’s just so good. He’s just so good for our ball club.
“He just gives us a different dynamic. He just gives everyone energy, and we love when he’s taking and making shots, and we love when he’s just aggressive and being himself. That’s big time.”
Caldwell-Pope Is Playing With Confidence
A switch clearly flipped for Caldwell-Pope in last year’s playoffs. He’s been playing some of the best basketball of his career and hasn’t begun to slow down. The guard believes that added confidence has helped lead to his uptick in production.
“It’s just the confidence in the work I put in,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I know where my shots are going to come from, where I need to be to get them shots, and just being in a great rhythm every game. I try not to worry about no missing shots.
“I mean, I had two or three shots last game against Golden State. I try not to let that mess with my mind, that I’m not getting shots. I know they’re going to come. It’s just being ready to shoot and staying in a good rhythm.”
It remains to be seen if Caldwell-Pope can keep up the historic pace. Odds are that he does hit a bit of a slump before the season is over. However, when he gets hot, he might be the Lakers’ third-best player. Caldwell-Pope proved he could flip a switch in the playoffs last season so the team should be really excited about what he could do this year.