The Los Angeles Lakers made a bit of a surprise acquisition this offseason, as they signed former Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year, $18 million contract.
The 2013 eighth overall pick was not even supposed to be available to the Lakers, as he was a restricted free agent and the Lakers were only willing to give out one-year deals. But when the Pistons acquired Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley via trade, they renounced the rights to Caldwell-Pope, making him an unrestricted free agent which led to him landing in Los Angeles.
It appears the Lakers may have found themselves a gem, as Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype recently interviewed some NBA players to find out who they believe is the most underrated player in the league, and one Eastern Conference guard believes it’s Caldwell-Pope:
“Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is one of the most underrated guys. He’s a very good two-way player who gets overlooked.”
This past season the 24-year-old averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists with Detroit while shooting a career-high 35.0 percent from three-point range.
Caldwell-Pope will be a solid shooting guard to put alongside rookie Lonzo Ball, as he can do a little bit of everything on offense in addition to his strong defensive ability. He will take the pressure off of Ball on a nightly basis by guarding the other team’s best backcourt player, which is something the Lakers have lacked in the past few years.
By signing a one-year contract to come to Los Angeles Caldwell-Pope was essentially betting on himself, hoping to have a good year and then ink a longterm contract with the Lakers or somewhere else next summer. With Ball at point guard and the other excellent young players on the roster surrounding him, Caldwell-Pope is in a perfect position to do exactly that.