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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope might make Pistons’ rotation due only to injuries

Before injuries wreaked havoc to the Pistons’ backcourt, Maurice Cheeks told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press a maximum of four guards would make the rotation. That’s despite Detroit having five rotation-caliber (give or take) guards:

So which would have gotten left out if all five were healthy? Cheeks on Bynum, via Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

“It probably wasn’t him, anyway,” Cheeks said.

We can somewhat safely deduce it was Caldwell-Pope, who hasn’t played particularly well in summer league or preseason. He did OK against against the Bulls last night, making 3-of-4 3-pointers, but 18 points on 17 shots is hardly efficient.

Jennings will be the starting point guard whenever his tooth heals. Billups and Stuckey were competing to start, so it’s unlikely either would have fallen completely out of the rotation.

That leaves just Caldwell-Pope as the odd man out.

But he should get a shot with Jennings and Stuckey out, though as far as I’ve seen, Cheeks hasn’t ruled out using fewer than four guards. Caldwell-Pope gives good effort on defense, and that should make playing preferable to giving extra minutes to Billups, Bynum and Kyle Singler at guard.

Caldwell-Pope’s biggest shortcoming is experience, but due to injury, he could get an opportunity to get some. His 40 minutes against Chicago certainly indicate he will. Any maybe by the time Jennings and Stuckey return, Caldwell-Pope will be comfortable enough to deserve to stick in the rotation.

34 Comments

  • Oct 17, 20134:40 pm
    by Gmall

    Reply

    Any opportunities for Peyton Siva in the early rotation?

    • Oct 17, 20134:56 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      why waste minutes on a guy with no upside?

      • Oct 17, 20136:41 pm
        by hirobeats

        Reply

        We agree for once brother Tarsier.

      • Oct 18, 20133:46 pm
        by jake

        Reply

        siva could absolutely become a good backup PG. what’s wrong with that? bynum’s gettin older, and chauncey’s career is winding down.

        • Oct 21, 20139:28 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          What’s wrong with that? Well, first of all, it’s a long shot. Second, you lose a lot of extra games while hopefully “developing” him. And third, that’s just not all that worthwhile. It’s easy and cheap to sign a backup PG.

          So yeah, if he happens to get to that level without the Pistons investing really anything in him, great. That’s a very small plus for Detroit. If they invest many minutes in him, others with a lot more upside don’t get them. That would be a shame.

  • Oct 17, 20135:17 pm
    by Matt

    Reply

    I didn’t have any strong feelings about Cheeks as a coach when they hired him, but the way he’s talking about rotations has been pretty disheartening. Now, I’m not saying that Datome or Pope are going to be super-awesome or anything, but when you have guys that are among the most likely to be good shooters, when it’s clear that this lineup needs a couple of good shooters, and you’re willing to just put them on the bench so you can play Bynum…
     
    Not that Bynum is bad, but he’s a known quantity and he’s not going to get any better. Pope might be crappy now, but he sure won’t get any better if you stick him on the bench for 40 minutes (or more) a game, which is what I assume is what Cheeks will give to a non-rotation player.
     
    His comments about not being willing to play rookies just sounds short-sighted. Why wouldn’t you want to play the players who are the best? And why wouldn’t you at least give a chance to the players who are the most likely to improve?

  • Oct 17, 20135:20 pm
    by Charles D

    Reply

    KCP’s true shooting percentage last night was 49.1%. For reference, Dion Waiters (a rookie that most people considered to be pretty promising) averaged 49.2% last year, and Kyle Singler (his likely competition) averaged 51.6%.

    • Oct 18, 201311:55 am
      by jamesjones_det

      Reply

      If you only look at outside shots KCP is shooting close to 20% from the field.  That has to improve or you are talking Austin Day all over again.

    • Oct 18, 20131:42 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Those are all really bad marks.

  • Oct 17, 20136:44 pm
    by pistons moribund

    Reply

    UGH, MFWB is a short shooting guard who cant shoot, and cant defend playing hero ball.  Painful to watch him and Singler miss shot after shot.  Pope can defend at the very least and wont be a liability.  Cheese and Rice!!!!!!!!!!!!  The season hasnt even started and its already !@#!

  • Oct 17, 20138:38 pm
    by Chabvis

    Reply

    It is going to take some creative lineups, offensive sets, and general coaching in order to get the best out of this team and maybe to keep this team from falling off of a cliff. I have been trying to be as optimistic as possible throughout the off season, but 90% of the time that Cheeks talks about rotations I disagree with him. I don’t understand how it can be so painfully obvious to fans that Bynum and Stuckey (I know he is out at the moment, but everything pointed to him being a key rotation player) are not the way forward for this team. We absolutely need shooting from the 1 and 2 positions and they are the absolute furthest thing from that. I cannot even fathom how awful a lineup of Bynum-Stuckey-Smith-Monroe-Drummond would look offensively.

    I can understand him saying Singler is ahead of Datome, especially since Datome has been injured, but I just do not possibly understand how you could want to give Stuckey and Bynum minutes ahead of most of the other guards. I would even prefer to see Singler at the 2 then either of these guys on the court, even though I think he proved pretty definitively that he cannot consistently guard 2s.

    I know Cheeks sees them in practice and rabble rabble rabble, but there is no evidence based on actual NBA basketball that Stuckey and Bynum are going to be able to play at a consistent level that we need. I know KCP hasn’t shot well in preseason, but when real games start and we have our full team out there he will basically be required to make open 3s and play tough defense. I fully think that he is capable of doing that job and doing it well. If management does not think that he is capable then he shouldn’t have been drafted in the first place.

    This team could do some very fun things this year and be a very tough matchup for a lot of teams. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion (which doesn’t account for anything really, but I am going to say it anyways), Cheeks does not strike me as the coach that is going to get the best out of them. I would absolutely love to be proven wrong, but every time he speaks my optimism diminishes slightly. Time will tell I suppose.

    • Oct 18, 20131:25 am
      by Jim H

      Reply

      Agree with you Chabis, Will and Stuckey have some really strong skills and athleticism, but people underrate shooting. Shooting is making baskets and thats the intent of an offense and your guards have to be truly special at other things to be + players if they can’t knock down J’s at will. (ie J Kidd). I think Cheeks rotations are a bit messed up too and I’m also hoping its due to rotations. But there are a couple signs that it isn’t due to injuries. There are way more mins for Monroe at C, Smith at PF, Singler at SF than Cheeks has been playing. He’s playing Smith out of position too much when there actually could be a ton of mins for him at PF if he’d just stop the joke of Harrelson and have the best 3-big rotation in the league we’d have a huge advantage. There are 3 32mpg slots available at PF-C in an NBA game.. and Smith, Monroe, and Drummond fit perfectly into that type of rotation. 

  • Oct 17, 20139:53 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    This season is not going to work out well if Cheeks keeps favoring all the non-shooters. A smart coach would realize that the shooters complement his bigs better, therefore they make the team as a whole better even if they aren’t as strong as the scrappy non-shooting guys. 

    These last 2 games have been horrible to watch.

    EveryThing changed when Chauncey ran point though  

  • Oct 17, 20139:56 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    its not just Pope having bad shooting percentages in the pre-season… Smoove and Monroe are not shooting the ball so well too..

    we need them to start making good shots… this is the preaseason but its not really helpful at all.. we dont want to lose in the opening night… we have to win even if Jennings or Stuck are not around.

    I hope Cheeks makes the adjustments 

  • Oct 18, 201312:39 am
    by The Guru

    Reply

    KCP=future 6th man!..

    • Oct 18, 20131:20 am
      by Jim H

      Reply

      KCP=future 6th man!

      He looks like a potential very good starting SG to me. He has perfect skills, size and athleticism for an NBA SG… and attitude and intelligence, IQ, Hands, quicks, agility. He could easily be a good scorer in the NBA.. needs to slow down right now. 

  • Oct 18, 20131:01 am
    by Jim H

    Reply

    I already worry about Cheeks based on his rotations. J. Smith can start at SF, but a vast majority of his minutes should be at PF, where he fits perfectly and where there are a ton of mins available. Look, Drummond is 7’0 290 lb 19-20 yr old kid. He’s not going to be able to play over 28 mpg. That leaves 20 mpg for Monroe at Center, where he best fits. That means Monroe plays around 13 mpg at PF… leaving a ton for Smith. We have 3 starters at the 2 big spots, and that works and is the best possible rotation. I hope the rotations cheeks has been playing is based on the injuries because playing Smith at SF, Singler at SG (a lot) is a terrible idea. Personally, KCP looks like an NBA player. I like him already and I hope/expect him to play a lot if we’re going to be good. The guy that is the most overrated is Will. Sorry, the guy has sick skills and puts up numbers, but they’re hollow numbers. He dominates the ball and every possession commanding that he will get the assist or shot every trip, his stats say he’s productive and good, but the team stats say he hinders the team he plays for except for splash moments here and there. 

  • Oct 18, 20135:48 am
    by Derek AKA Redeemed

    Reply

    I wouldn’t say KCP has played badly in preseason (or summer league for that matter).  While I agree his shot has been off, his motor has been on overdrive.  The kid has gotten a steal and breakaway dunk in just about every game since summer league.

    He’s rebounding at a high clip.  He’s playing aggressive on his man and shooting the passing lanes.  He has been lauded for playing within himself as opposed to being out of controlling and playing outside of his skill set.

    I’m fine with him coming off the bench, but I disagree with the notion he has played badly.  Cheeks vague assertion that it probably wasn’t Bynum as the odd man out of the rotation is a head scratcher to me.

    So Bynum was going to play even with Jennings, Billups, and Stuckey ahead of him?  Yeah I doubt it. 

    Anywho…I’m a bit uneasy about the start of the season.  I was expecting a more dominant showing from our frontcourt (in preason).  With opening night coming up on his quickly and some pretty tough games at the start we’ve got to hit the ground running. 

    No experiments. 
    No moving parts. 
    Just hardcore aggression and energy. 

    Let’s get it!!

  • Oct 18, 20138:18 am
    by Tone

    Reply

    I say start Jennings, KCP, Smith, Monroe, Drummond and let the bench players get mins based off the teams we play to exploit matchups we have a versatile team now we can run big or small but I say the Bench should be Bynum, Stuckey, Singler, Charlie V, Harrelson, Billups (mostly plays in the 4th quarter for shooting, defense and high IQ and to avoid injuries), and Datome

  • Oct 18, 20138:21 am
    by Tone

    Reply

    Before anyone responds to me I’m aware Jennings, Stuckey, and Datome are hurt I was making this assumption with our team being healthy also I gave Datome the nickname The Italian Sniper but it won’t stick until he plays and shoots good

  • Oct 18, 20138:22 am
    by Tone

    Reply

    Die hard Pistons fan they follow me in Twitter @Opinionisafact if you don’t believe me

  • Oct 18, 20138:22 am
    by Tone

    Reply

    On*

  • Oct 18, 20139:47 am
    by Danny

    Reply

    Do you guys not realize that the purpose of preseason is to try things and see how it works?  Cheecks is going to put players in uncomfortable positions and see how they play together and what skills they currently have.  This team has made some drastic changes and he is going to have to piece is together.  Sometimes I don’t know if many of you are fans.  I’m not saying be optimistic but hell wait till trade deadline to start crying.  Mo will put a team out there and Dumars will see how they are playing and try to tinker with the players.  Can’t have it all figured out during the preseason. 

    • Oct 18, 201310:43 am
      by MIKEYDE248

      Reply

      I agree completely with you, it sounds like a bunch of people have thrown in the towel already.  The reason for pre-season is to see what you have in the bench players and test the limits of your players.  What we are seeing now might be completely different from what we see during the regular season.

    • Oct 18, 20139:24 pm
      by The Guru

      Reply

      @Danny: Preach!!. A lot of people here really don’t understand that its pre-season…

  • Oct 18, 201310:46 am
    by sc8581

    Reply

    I think Bynum will get a decent amount of minutes because they want to trade him before the deadline.

    As somebody mentioned already, there are 3 32-minute slots at PF and C, Drummond and Smith should start, Monroe should come off the bench and it’s pretty obvious.  

    • Oct 18, 201312:21 pm
      by Huddy

      Reply

      Why do the Pistons want to trade Bynum before the deadline?  Wouldn’t they have just not signed him in the off season if they didn’t want him on the team?  He isn’t worth a first rounder in trade so I don’t see what the point of bringing him back would have been if their only goal was to trade him this season.

      • Oct 18, 20133:54 pm
        by sc8581

        Reply

        I think they brought him back because at the time Knight was the only other PG on the team and he was rumored to be playing off the ball more, Bynum also didn’t cost much and has some familiarity with his teammates so Joe figured why not. Now with Jennings clearly being the starting PG, Billups around for at least this year, Stuckey still being here and Siva making the team he’s expendable. As much as I personally don’t like WB here I could definitely see playoff teams that might need a spark off the bench having interest, we won’t get a 1st for him but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him packaged with CV in a deal that brought back somebody that could at least fill a rotation hole for us or possibly just get rid of his contract and pick up a 2nd rounder to boot.

        KCP is used to being the #1 option, at Georgia he was asked to do a ton so he needs to be broken from that mindset of having to produce as much as possibly offensively for his team to compete. It certainly wouldn’t hurt if he had the chance to play with an actual PG, time will tell if Jennings is that guy or not.

    • Oct 18, 20134:50 pm
      by Tone

      Reply

      Why bring Moose off the bench? Especially when (much as I hate to say it) we will probably trade him since he likely won’t sign the extension hoping if we do it’s in a package deal to get Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge and I don’t see Bynum getting traded I see Stuckey and/or Villanueva being traded and possibly Moose.

  • Oct 18, 201311:52 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    my argument before the draft was that if we wanted a more polished or versatile scorer then we should NOT have draft POPE… He is a streaky shooter, who need a high volume of shots…he’s use to starting cold and getting hot later….but the past is the past

    What i love abut him is his on ball defense, ability to play the passing lanes and his quickness….Pope might be one of the last SG’s with and without the ball in the league….

    I believe the shooting is going to come, but what he might be able to provide defensively and in transition simply cant be taught or just developed.

    • Oct 18, 201312:00 pm
      by jamesjones_det

      Reply

      His defense alone should have him playing at least 15 minutes a game.  I think he’s going to have to learn when to take shots and when not to before he starts seeing more playing time.  If he can get that down I have hopes of him being our starting 2 guard at some point this year.

      • Oct 18, 20132:23 pm
        by I HATE FRANK

        Reply

        He’s not use to being a spot up shooter…. so its gonna take him time….

        But yes his defense has been impressive, kind of reminds me of a bigger version of avery bradley

      • Oct 18, 20134:58 pm
        by Tone

        Reply

        I say start KCP in the backcourt with Jennings

    • Oct 18, 20134:56 pm
      by Tone

      Reply

      I actually tweeted the Pistons should draft KCP after us getting shafted by the lottery and getting the 8th pick all the players I thought we should pick over him got drafted over him McLemore, Oladipo, Porter in that order didn’t want Bennett cuz he has more of a PF mentality which people act like is true of Josh Smith but he came in a SF and has mostly played SF much like Jennings I think his shooting will improve especially if he gets open 3′s hopefully in the corner

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