Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope went through a massive slump during the 2020-21 season. For a countless number of reasons, he simply did not look like himself for a large portion of the regular season. Now, with the playoffs about one month away, he appears to be rounding into form.
Over his last 10 games, Caldwell-Pope is averaging 13.9 points per game — up from his season average of 9.3 — and is shooting a lethal 49.2% from three on 6.3 attempts per game. These are very encouraging numbers, as they don’t even correlate with the return of LeBron James, who will remain sidelined for a little while longer, and Anthony Davis, who should return to the lineup shortly.
Caldwell-Pope said his conversations with Frank Vogel helped him get back to where he wanted to be. “Just being aggressive. I talked to Coach [Vogel]. We talk every day,” Caldwell-Pope said.
“That’s the one worry is consistent with our conversation is be aggressive. Also, shooting. When I have the time to shoot when we do have practice. Just being ready, hunting shots out there. Not passing up too many. Just trying to stay in a good rhythm.”
When asked about James and Davis’ inevitable returns, he said the team as a whole is confident about what they’ll look like come the playoffs. “It’s high. We get LeBron [James] and AD back, they’re our best players on the team and they’re great leaders. Bron has been in situations where he had to overcome. He knows what it takes and how to prepare the team to be ready for that.
“I don’t think it’ll be as hard when those guys come back to try to get that chemistry going. We always just roll with the punches. Throw them in the lineup. We figure it out as we go. Like I said, Bron and AD with them on the floor when they’re coming back it is not going to take that long to build that chemistry.”
Caldwell-Pope is starting to get hot at just the right time, as he’ll be able to take that rhythm and improve upon it when the Lakers get their stars back and the floor starts to open up a bit more.
The Lakers are anxiously waiting for James and Davis to suit up once again, but in the meantime, it’s great to see Caldwell-Pope start to be aggressive and hit shots in the process.
Davis could return against Mavericks
The Lakers face the Dallas Mavericks in the first of a two-game set on Thursday, and that has been the most discussed date when it comes to Davis’ return to the lineup. Vogel hinted at this possibility before their last game against the Utah Jazz. “He had some good work in today,” Vogel said before Monday night’s game.
“He’s not going to play tonight. He got some good work in after our team meeting this morning. He’s going to continue to build up over the next two days and see how he’s feeling going into that Dallas [Mavericks] game, but he will not be available tonight.”
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