With not much time left before the regular season tips off, there is still plenty to look for in the remaining preseason games for the Los Angeles Lakers. One of the most interesting continues to be the battle for the starting shooting guard role between Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart.
Both players have similar styles as proficient shooters and strong defenders. Though, while Caldwell-Pope is a little quicker on the perimeter, Hart is extremely strong for his size and more capable of switching onto larger players.
Each has had their ups and downs in preseason and it remains unclear who will win the job. Regardless, Caldwell-Pope believes the competition between them is making both better, as he told Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times:
“We make each other work in practice,” Caldwell-Pope said late Saturday night after the Lakers lost to the Clippers in an exhibition game at the Honda Center. “We’re always on the opposite team. Even if we’re on the same team, we both run the floor, we both do similar things.
“We both compete. We give that competitiveness from both of us. It’s a fight. We enjoy it. We’re just making each other better.”
That will ultimately help the Lakers in the long run as, regardless of who starts, both will be a part of the rotation for the team. Hart’s numbers (11.5 points, 44.1 FG%, 31.3 3PT%) have been a little better Caldwell-Pope’s so far (7.3, 36.0 FG%, 14.3 3PT%), but there is still time for that to turn around.
What is important is that they continue to push each other to improve. Hart has been hard at work since Summer League to get better while Caldwell-Pope wants to build on the best shooting year of his career.
Both will be relied upon by head coach Luke Walton this season, but Hart tweaking his hamstring in practice might make a lead to a decision by default.
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