Caldwell-Pope Is Only Concerned About Playing 'The Right Way' For Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been a good fit in La La Land, despite a one-year deal. Caldwell-Pope at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Nov. 22, 2017.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. –When the Detroit Pistons renounced the rights to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after trading Marcus Morris to the Boston Celtics for Avery Bradley and a second-round pick, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard began flashing high on the Los Angeles Lakers’ radar.
Caldwell-Pope signed with the Lakers as a free-agent on July 13 after spending four seasons with the team that drafted him as the eighth-overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Los Angeles snatched him up, and then signed him to a reportedly one-year, $18 million contract.
Thus far, the financial return is working out nicely for both parties on many levels.
Caldwell-Pope has started 19 of 21 games and the Lakers have won seven of 12 games with him in that position as he helps the younger players learn and understand the game. Lakers head coach Luke Walton says Caldwell-Pope’s “professionalism” stands out the most.
“He deserves a lot of credit, that I don’t think he gets, for trying to play the way we want to play. Especially on a one-year deal.” Walton said of Caldwell-Pope. “He gets in the lane and if he has an open shot he’s given that shot up to somebody else who has a better shot. He’s doing a nice job as far as setting an example for some of the younger guys as the right way to play.”
During an eight-game stretch, Caldwell-Pope was averaging 18.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. In the Lakers’ 120-115 loss at home to the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 27, he scored a season-high 29 points and made 5 of 11 shots behind the 3-point line.
He proceeded with 21 points, 2 of 8 made shots beyond the arc, in the 127-123 overtime defeat at home to the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 29. Caldwell-Pope’s unselfish play keeps the Lakers balanced on both ends of the floor.
“I’m just playing basketball and playing it the right way,” Caldwell-Pope said after the Lakers 113-102 loss to the Kings at Golden 1 Center.
Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, left, talks strategy in the backcourt with teammate Lonzo Ball during the game against the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 22, 2017.
Also, during that eight-game run with the Lakers, Caldwell-Pope made 26 of 64 3-point shots at 40.6 percent. He has made 40 treys in 19 games played, which puts him on track to connect on 100-plus three-pointers for the fourth-straight season.
Overall, Caldwell-Pope is averaging 14.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and nearly 35 minutes per game on the floor. He may not have been a hot commodity when the free-agent period opened last summer. But his play on the court is fiery enough for the Lakers.
“I think he’s a heck of a player and he’ll have a terrific year for them,” Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger said of Caldwell-Pope. “He was a great pickup for the Lakers. He’s been around the league long enough and he can go get buckets.”
As it turns out, every entity appears to be happy with its off-season transactions. Bradley, 27, is averaging 16.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 20 games with the Pistons (14-6). In his 21th game with Detroit, He had 13 points and two assists in the 109-91 loss to the Washington Wizards on Dec. 1.
As for Caldwell-Pope and the Lakers (8-13), the one-year marriage is slowly panning out and appears to get better. Los Angeles was eager to put the 24-year-old player on its roster. The expression made him confident that he landed in the right place at the right time.
“Yeah, I was pretty much comfortable with the situation,” Caldwell-Pope said working for the Lakers. “It was my decision. We sat down, talked and this is what we decided on. Now, this is my job. Staying within my game, bring leadership, help my teammates, and play the right way.”
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.