The Los Angeles Lakers as a team have come down to earth as far as their 3-point shooting, but arguably none more so than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. For the early part of the season Caldwell-Pope had picked up right where he left off in the bubble and was among the best 3-point shooters in the league.
That scoring start has since given way to a prolonged slump. Over the last 12 games Caldwell-Pope is shooting just 35.6% from the field and 25% behind the arc. Over that span, he has reached double-figure scoring just three times and hit multiple 3-pointers only once.
Caldwell-Pope has always been a streaky player, but this has been his longest stretch of rough shooting in quite some time. “I think he’s not getting as many clean looks,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said prior to the team’s 17-point loss to the Denver Nuggets.
“Ever since he had that 7-for-10 game in Milwaukee and was putting up plus-50% shooting from the 3 opposing coaches, they target guys like that. Like, ‘We’ve got to make sure he doesn’t get going,’ and they help less.
“He’s not getting as many clean looks. Combine that with the fact that we’re probably kind of in the dog days of the season right now, he just came back to Earth a little bit with the open looks he is getting, but not anything I’m worried about.”
It was always unreasonable to expect Caldwell-Pope to keep shooting over 50% from deep for the entirety of the season as he was bound for some regression. Eventually things will re-correct in the opposite direction as well, which is why Vogel isn’t worried.
More importantly, Vogel doesn’t want Caldwell-Pope to begin forcing things either. “We don’t want him taking guarded shots,” Vogel added.
“We want our whole team taking open shots, so if that means he’s getting those shots, then we want him being aggressive. We don’t want him passing up open shots, which he’s not doing, but we don’t want him forcing.”
The Lakers as a team have struggled shooting recently, but if Caldwell-Pope can get back to an above-average level it would give them much-needed spacing on the offensive end that they’ve been sorely missing.
Anthony Davis scheduled for aMRI on Achilles
The Lakers improving their 3-point shooting will be even more important as the team could be without superstar Anthony Davis for some time. Davis aggravated his right Achilles in the loss to the Nuggets and did not return.
Following the game, Vogel said that Davis was scheduled for an MRI on Monday. For the time being he has been diagnosed with a right Achilles strain.
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