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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finding rhythm at Orlando Summer League

ORLANDO - Pistons assistant coach Maz Trakh has told Kentavious Caldwell-Pope the same thing before each of the team’s Orlando Summer League games this week.

“Before every game I said, ‘You know what I want you to do?’ and he goes, ‘Yeah, shoot,’” Trakh said. "He’s got that question down, so I give him an A for the answer there."

And that’s exactly what Caldwell-Pope did in his first two games in Orlando. Problem was, he was shooting and missing, a lot.

Then came Tuesday, when he scored 19 points, shooting 4-of-10 from 3-point range, against the Thunder.

“That’s what he does," Trakh said. "When guys are coming into their first summer league, there’s a little pressure because they want to show that where they were picked in the draft they deserved.”

Granted, a first-year player is going to face some pressure in his first summer league — Trakh noted that — but once Tuesday rolled around, Caldwell-Pope’s shoot-shoot-and-shoot-some-more mentality started to result in some success.

“Just keep shooting the ball, it’s a confidence thing,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in my shooting abilities, so I just came out aggressive — keep shooting it. I’ll eventually knock down one, so just keep shooting the ball and eventually it’ll go in.”

That’s the mentality he needs in his position. The Pistons didn’t draft him for his playmaking ability. They drafted him to shoot and score from the perimeter, something the team sorely lacked last season.

He scored 11 of his team-high 19 points in the third quarter, coming off a 3-pointer, a thunderous breakaway dunk and a slick and-1 where he curled from the baseline to the free throw line to hit the jumper with contact.

Heck, at that point, he was yelling for the ball next time down.

“The first two games I played, I really didn’t shoot the ball that well, but I played well,” Caldwell-Pope said. “This game, just coming in and shooting the ball well, and also playing both ends, was good.”

While Caldwell-Pope’s offense was the big story for the Pistons, his defensive potential showed in doses, too. Though Reggie Jackson made anyone guarding him look bad, Caldwell-Pope finished the game with a steal and six boards.

Like any player — rookie or vet — seeing the ball go in the basket is a confidence builder.

“It helps a lot,” Caldwell-Pope said. “When I know my offensive game comes, I know my defense is going to be there. So, I’m just (trying) to get my hands on balls."

The rookie admitted that he was nervous in the first two contests, but it didn’t appear that way against Oklahoma City.

He’s confident in his abilities, and that’s good. It would have been interesting to see him on Jackson late in the game or even matched up with the Thunder’s other summer league juggernaut, Jeremy Lamb, who didn’t played Tuesday.

Regardless, Caldwell-Pope is confident, and he knows why the Pistons drafted him No. 8 overall.

Most of us do, and Trakh isn’t afraid to remind him to just “shoot,” either.

42 Comments

  • Jul 11, 20138:30 am
    by vic

    Reply

    excited about this guy: the confidence to shoot, the hustle and athleticism to defend. 

    shooting guard is a simple position, he should be able to do it well and space the floor for our bigs. 

    Plus he adds at least 1 steal/breakaway dunk per game.

    So now we can look forward to Drummond getting 1, and KCP getting 1. 

  • Jul 11, 20138:30 am
    by Keith

    Reply

    I’m glad this is summer league, because I wouldn’t be a fan of that mentality in any other situation (maybe preseason). That said, shooters can never be afraid to shoot, especially 4th/5th option guys like KCP. He’s not going to get a whole lot of shots with the real team, but he has to present the threat of a shot to keep defenses honest. 

    If I could tell KCP to focus on one player’s tape as he preps for the regular season, I would tell him to watch Thabo Sefolosha from OKC. Thabo is primarily a defensive specialist with great size at the 2 (just like KCP) who doesn’t get the ball much on offense. But, he’s turned himself into an elite 3 point shooter, in large part because he puts himself in great position. Watch Thabo off the ball and he seems to just fade into the background – this is actually a great trait off the ball, as it makes it hard for his defender to keep track of him. Thabo always makes his way to the corners or makes quick cuts to the 3 point line. He doesn’t demand the ball, but his teammates are always aware of his presence. And he knocks down shots (42% from three). If KCP can learn to appreciate defense first, and then learn to get himself in position to receive passes for easier shots, he can have a very positive impact on the team. 

  • Jul 11, 20138:30 am
    by Vince

    Reply

    Word is Pistons and Billups agreed to a 2-year deal… Haven’t seen a convincing report yet buuuuut… if this is true… I will be partying very hard in the imminent future, Billups is one of my favorite players of all time.

    • Jul 11, 20138:35 am
      by Vince

      Reply

      Reports confirmed by Mayo, Yahoo and other sources. I uh…. I am dying of happiness. PR move or not I am ridiculously happy that Chauncey is coming back to the Motor City.

       

      • Jul 11, 20138:42 am
        by I HATE FRANK

        Reply

        Why the Hell did we re-sign Bynum then?

        ????

        • Jul 11, 20134:18 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Billups plays more of a combo guard role now. He could end up starting at PG or come off the bench and share the PG with Bynum.

    • Jul 11, 20138:37 am
      by Keith

      Reply

      I would just hope it goes a little better than Ben Wallace’s second stint here. While Ben still did the things we know and love him for (defend, rebound), it didn’t make much impact on the team. That was fine for fans, but Billups would enter a very different situation. We have a huge hole at PG, and fans would likely be clamoring for Billups to start. A nice sentiment, sure, but not a winning move. It’s going to be difficult for some fans to accept that current Chauncey is not championship Chauncey, and a 37 year old who cannot defend anybody or play heavy minutes probably shouldn’t be starting or playing a lot of minutes.

      • Jul 11, 20138:42 am
        by Vince

        Reply

        I honestly wouldn’t care if Chauncey gets 5 minutes a game, the knowledge that the player I grew up idolizing is going to retire in Detroit colors is enough for me. I’m going to wear his jersey around my house for the coming days.

      • Jul 11, 20138:45 am
        by I HATE FRANK

        Reply

        Knight isnt as terrible as many of you suggest…

        I do question the re-signing of Bynum…

        i would have rather …Knight..Billups and Siva…

        Unless Bynum is part of a potential sign and trade

        • Jul 11, 20138:50 am
          by Vince

          Reply

          Frank, I agree whole-heartedly. I am now 100% behind Knight as starting PG, having Billups there to mentor him and play alongside him can only improve his development. I too am questioning the Bynum signing, Langlois hinted to a multiplayer trade in the works which involved Singler, maybe we’re packaging Singler/Bynum/? for something. I’d be disappointed if we gave up on Siva, I think he can be a very decent backup in the L.

        • Jul 11, 20139:11 am
          by Keith

          Reply

          Not as terrible? That certainly leaves a great deal open for interpretation, but I have a feeling you are overselling Knight. By most every measure he has been terrible the past two years. We can argue levels of terrible, but still terrible.

          Knight has the tools and smarts to be a good defender, he is in fact when he defends PGs. But offensively he should not have the ball in his hands. Bad things tend to happen when Knight is given the ball on offense. His only saving grace is an above average 3 point shot that he can’t make off the dribble. So defensively, Knight needs to defend PGs, but offensively he should be nothing but a spot up shooter. Unfortunately those don’t mesh well.

  • Jul 11, 20138:42 am
    by Domnick

    Reply

    BIGSHOT IS BACK!!! TIME TO MENTOR KNIGHT!! YES!!!

  • Jul 11, 20138:48 am
    by Eric Dates

    Reply

    What does this mean for Siva?

    • Jul 11, 201311:14 am
      by KaBa

      Reply

      Unfortunately he’s done in Detroit. Would have loved seeing him play for the Pistons. Know I’m just asking myself, what’s up with signing Bynum to a multiyear contract. Was that really the best for this team? I hope so, I just don’t see now the function of it.

  • Jul 11, 20138:49 am
    by Travis

    Reply

    Sheed AND Billups! Mo Cheeks and Dumars are serious about developing their young talent while instilling that championship mentality. Now, where will Dumars trim the roster? Siva, English, and Stuckey?

    • Jul 11, 20138:55 am
      by Vince

      Reply

      I would honestly hope we get rid of Stuckey and Villanueva – and I would remorsefully hope we cut English.  I also expect a trade in the works, we are stacked at F. Joe D is showing us he still has it and I fully expect our roster is not done changing.

  • Jul 11, 20138:50 am
    by Swani

    Reply

    wonder what number he wears. Hated seeing Big Ben not wearing 3, preparing myself for a similar situation. 

    • Jul 11, 20139:20 am
      by JB

      Reply

      I think Dre should be looking for a new number.

  • Jul 11, 20138:54 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Chauncey B B B B Billups. That makes 17 on the active roster so you’d have to assume its bye bye Stuckey, CV and English.

    • Jul 11, 20139:03 am
      by Keith

      Reply

      The team only needs to cut 2 in that case. The obvious choice is to cut English and amnesty CV. Cutting Stuckey would be stupid now, as we passed the deadline to reduce the money owed and he would still count against the cap.

      • Jul 11, 20139:15 am
        by gmehl

        Reply

        Yep and Stuckey will make great trade bait come the trade deadline too

        • Jul 11, 20139:19 am
          by Keith

          Reply

          Exactly. Despite our protests, he’s actually been much better before last year. He still has value as a scorer (likely off the bench) for teams in need. Not a ton of value, but enough that we should be able to facilitate something with his contract, and without the other team worrying about getting a dud.

    • Jul 11, 201310:33 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      If they were going to cut Stuckey, they should (and i believe would) have done it earlier so only half of his contract was guaranteed.

      Siva is much less likely to be on the team than Stuckey.

      Besides, Stuckey is overpaid, but he is a rotation caliber player. 

  • Jul 11, 20138:57 am
    by Domnick

    Reply

    now its easier to trade Stuckey, CV and Jerebko… get Gerald Henderson plus power forward!

  • Jul 11, 20139:09 am
    by danny

    Reply

    Siva will most likely go to the D league and English overseas.  The signing of Bynum is confusing but then again Billups can play off ball and he is getting older.  I think of Bynum or Billups as insurance in case we run into injuries.  BK listen up.

  • Jul 11, 20139:21 am
    by Chauncy Billups

    Reply

    Detroit am back.

    • Jul 11, 20139:25 am
      by ChauncEy Billups

      Reply

      No, I am back.

  • Jul 11, 20139:25 am
    by Eric Dates

    Reply

    do we have 18 on the roster now including the 3 draft picks ? And we need 15 so who are the 3 we cut?

  • Jul 11, 20139:30 am
    by Domnick

    Reply

    relax… we can trade 3 useless guys.. for draft picks and someone that can help us!

    • Jul 11, 20139:43 am
      by RyanK

      Reply

      Yes, Joe D and I are on the same page.  Bring in the veterans to surround our young players.  Joe D has done that.  It has to be this way…without superstar talent, you go nowhere with young talent alone.  Veterans win in this league.

  • Jul 11, 20139:33 am
    by RyanK

    Reply

    Billups is returning to the pistons.  My master plan has been executed.  Veterans surrounding our young guys…Joe D and I see eye to eye.

    • Jul 11, 201310:05 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Wow. So the Pistons will now have 4 (5 if they sign Siva) not very good PGs.

      Now if they could just combine the positive traits of all of them without any of the negatives. 

      • Jul 11, 201310:25 am
        by RyanK

        Reply

        Billups is not an allstar anymore, but his “bully” style of play and outside shot will still be effective for a while.  He’s a horse and uses his size and strength effectively…there’s not a point guard out there that can match his strength.

        What I’m hoping for out of this is Billups being able to take pressure off of Knight.  They can play in tandem in the backcourt.  If Knight is struggling, let Billups right the ship for a few possessions…the way Stuckey did for him as a rookie.   This is really the only acceptable way of having Knight at a 1 guard this season…unless Knight made huge improvements.

  • Jul 11, 20139:53 am
    by Keith

    Reply

    English is as good as cut. Siva probably doesn’t make the team if we’ve indeed signed Bynum and Chauncey. CV should be amnestied. That would get us right down to 15.

     

    • Jul 11, 201310:30 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Drummond, Monroe, Smith, Pope, Knight, Stuckey, Bynum, Jerebko, Singler, Middleton, Slava, Mitchell, Datome, Billups

      Without English, Siva, or Charlie, I count 14. Am I missing someone? 

  • Jul 11, 201310:38 am
    by Domnick

    Reply

    ^ you missed Rip, Big Ben

  • Jul 11, 201310:42 am
    by Joey

    Reply

    Slava 

  • Jul 11, 201311:06 am
    by Eric Dates

    Reply

    KEEP PEYTON SIVA

  • Jul 11, 201311:25 am
    by Swani

    Reply

    If stuck eh didn’t give up his number for Ben there’s no way I’d expect Dre to give it up Billups. LOVE the signing tho, just hope people don’t expect h to be “mr big shot” any more (always hated that nickname btw…Blaha, I believe, gave him it the year of the west coast swing where… I think…. He hit 3 game winners in 5 games, one in GS… He spent the rest of his career not living up to the nickname IMO. Also rip inflated those assist numbers

  • Jul 11, 201311:29 am
    by Swani

    Reply

    Perfect post Ryan agree 100%

  • Jul 11, 201311:31 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Billups is gonna bring this team together …. he is gonna do wonders for Pope…

    • Jul 11, 201311:30 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      It’s nice to have him for nostalgia’s sake. but he is old and broken down and can barely play anymore. How will he help Pope?

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