Why Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is Essential to the Pistons’ Success

Over the past year or so, Pistons fans have been contemplating whether the team should invest in defensive stud and hustle player Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, or if instead, it would be a better idea to ship him out of Detroit for a player or assets that would better benefit the team’s future success.

However, his already spectacular defense and hustle combined with a newly efficient jump shot have made him more valuable to this young team, yet some fans still think it would be better to get rid of him. Arguments to trade him were more understandable last season when he was an extremely streaky shooter, especially from downtown. But now, he is arguably the Pistons’ most important player. (see: Embarrassment Against Philadelphia) So now, with an improved overall game and a big payday ahead, (regardless of from who) what’s the plan that will help Detroit the most in the long run?

The answer is simple; pay the man before someone else does.

per basketball-reference.com

As you can see, KCP is having more success in less minutes, especially in his passing and 3PT%

The biggest arguments about KCP aren’t necessarily about his game, it’s the money he and his agent, Rich Paul, are commanding. The speculated $20 million a year may seem like a lot for a player that isn’t 100% proven in the league yet, at least on offense, but we have to remember this is 2016 and the salary cap has been skyrocketing and will continue to rise through next year, meaning even more ludicrous contracts for average NBA ball players. Let’s be realistic, Detroit is not going to get an Avery Bradley level defender, or John Wall level star for Caldwell-Pope. It’s not going to happen. Obviously, Detroit can’t let him walk, not only because they will be unable to find a better player for less, but because they can’t. Detroit holds Caldwell-Pope’s bird rights, which means they can pay him whatever they must, including a max deal, and match any offer he may get in restricted free agency. But, the Pistons have zero cap space to use on anyone else that isn’t already on this year’s roster, meaning Detroit either pay KCP or start Darrun Hilliard or Michael Gbinije next season. Yeah…

Also with the chemistry already shaky as of late, making a big splash in the trade market probably wouldn’t help. The Pistons also have plenty of offensive weapons in Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris so it wouldn’t be good to bring in another offensive minded player that needs the ball in his hand to have any kind of positive impact on the court.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is essential to the Pistons’ future, and even if you disagree, there isn’t a better option that will be available for Detroit to replace him with.

Featured Image via: David Butler II- USA TODAY Sports