POP Season Preview: The Rising Star Kentavious
Over the last three years the Pistons have gone from a team in limbo to one of the most promising young teams in the NBA. A big part of that has been the guidance of Stan Van Gundy and the many new players he’s brought in. However, a part of that has been the development of some of the young players that were already here when the new regime took over. Of course Andre Drummond jumps to mind first, as the Pistons best player who is just scratching the surface of his massive potential. Then there is shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
KCP has improved over each of his first three years. His points per game have jumped from 5.9 to 12.7 to 14.5, accompanied with a field goal percentage that has improved every year as well. His rebounding and assists per game has also increased over each of his years in the league. Even his defense, a skill that has been above average by NBA standards since the moment he stepped on the court for the first time, has seen his steals per game go up every year. So what can we expect from him next?
Over his first three years Caldwell-Pope has flashed greatness. There have been times where he has taken over the game on offense, with the ability to create space and make tough shots. He is also a guy who can run the floor in transition and finish at the rim or pull up for an open three as a trailer. He has even been able to do this over a stretch of multiple games. The next step for KCP is consistency. If continues to improve like he has ever year so far he can be the kind of two way player you can expect to be in the mix to make the all star team.
The key for KCP’s next step is the ability to make spot up threes. This is one of the few areas of his game that hasn’t improved every year. His percentages have fluctuated from 32% to 34.5% and back down to 31% last year. These numbers aren’t wildly inconsistent, nor are the awful, but it is the area of his game that needs the most improvement. Too often in the past has he missed open jumpers in critical moments of the game. This is the next step he has to take if he is to ascend to greatness, as it is the one real weakness to his game.
Caldwell-Pope is a key part of this Pistons team and a true x-factor if Detroit is going to move from fringe playoff team to a team with title aspirations. The next step for this rising star is consistency, particularly as a three point shooter. If he can take that next step then the sky is the limit for the young shooting guard. If not, then he will still be a solid two way player who gives maximum effort whenever he’s on the floor. Either way he might be the most exciting player to watch in the upcoming year as the Pistons look to build on their playoff success from last year.