John Schuhmann of NBA.com came out with the annual NBA GM surveys on Wednesday, and the Los Angeles Lakers received some love from the general managers throughout the league.
Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball was voted overwhelmingly as the most likely to win the Rookie of the Year award, while fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma ranked second as the biggest steal of this year’s draft.
Additionally, newly acquired shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope received votes in two categories: “most likely to have a breakout season” and “most underrated offseason acquisition.”
Caldwell-Pope went into the offseason as a restricted free agent with the Detroit Pistons, so it did not seem like the Lakers would have a chance at signing him. But when Detroit acquired Avery Bradley from the Boston Celtics, they renounced the rights to Caldwell-Pope, making him unrestricted.
It still did not seem as if the Lakers would have a chance at him though, as Caldwell-Pope was seeking a long-term deal and the Lakers were only willing to give out one-year contracts. But when the market wasn’t what it seemed to be, Caldwell-Pope wound up signing with L.A. on a one-year, $18 million deal to be the team’s starting shooting guard.
The 24-year old will help the Lakers in a variety of areas that they struggled in last season, with the main one being perimeter defense. Caldwell-Pope will take pressure off Ball on a nightly basis by defending the opposing team’s best guard.
He also is very talented offensively, and he showed that off in the team’s second preseason game Monday night against the Denver Nuggets when he scored 15 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists on 5-of-12 shooting.
Caldwell-Pope should be one of the leaders of this Lakers young team, and that could lead to a big payday for him next offseason when he becomes a free agent once again.