- Measurables: 6-foot-5, 205pounds, sophomore guard from Georgia
- Key Stats: 18.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.0 blocks per game; 44 percent shooting.
- Projected: Top 15
- Hickory High Similarity Score
I have a growing suspicion that Caldwell-Pope might be Detroit’s pick, and it was strengthened by Dan Feldman’s report yesterday that KCP has not worked out for the Pistons.
Joe Dumars has a bit of a history of drafting players who are a bit under the radar — Rodney Stuckey and Austin Daye, for example. Not working out KCP could mean the Pistons have zero interest in him and don’t like his game. That doesn’t make much sense to me to have a definitive conclusion like that on a consensus top 15 guy who has a skillset and plays a position that is a weakness on the roster. Or conversely, the Pistons could like him so much that they don’t want anyone else to know they are taking him that high, hence not working him out. Again, the Stuckey and Daye picks stayed relatively quiet right up until the selections were made. Caldwell-Pope is similar to those guys as a late riser. It wouldn’t make much sense for the Pistons to take him without ever working him out. But it also wouldn’t make much sense for them to have zero interest at all. Which of those similarly far-fetched scenarios is accurate though?
Fits with the Pistons because …
Caldwell-Pope is a strong wing player, a good shooter and he projects as a solid defensive player. He’s not Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore or Otto Porter — the clear prizes on the wing in this draft — but if he can continue to hit the three at a decent rate as a pro and adjust to guarding NBA perimeter players, he wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. The Pistons need shooting, athleticism, toughness and size on the wing, and they might be able to find some of those qualities in Caldwell-Pope.
Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …
The Pistons go out of their way to tell everyone that Brandon Knight was a steal in the draft and that he ‘fell’ to them. In reality, Knight only ‘fell’ because he rose a bit too high in the pre-draft process. Knight was mostly considered a mid-first round pick early on in the 2011 draft season. But he used a great tournament performance, along with the fact that some big names like Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, John Henson and Perry Jones decided to stay an extra year in school, to shoot up into the top five in some early projections. So Knight didn’t really ‘fall’ as much as he came back to Earth and went closer to the range that was more realistic for him.
I only highlight this because Caldwell-Pope is on a similar, seemingly out of nowhere upward trajectory. He’s more productive than Knight was in college and there are certainly legitimate reasons to take him, but he also wasn’t necessarily considered a potential top 10 pick until fairly recently. Depending on who is left on the board when the Pistons pick, taking him at eight might prove to be a reach. Maybe not an egregious one, but a reach nonetheless.
From the Experts:
Caldwell-Pope didn’t particularly shoot it well in workouts, but the more I speak with GMs and scouts, the more likely it seems that he’s going somewhere in the mid-to-late lottery. Not only are teams attracted to his shooting ability and size but many feel as if he has a great grasp for the game and could be special someday. I could see him going to a team such as the Pistons, Wolves, Blazers or Sixers.
Caldwell-Pope’s biggest weapon when he looked to score was his pull-up jump shot. With nearly three-quarters of his shot attempts coming from the perimeter in the half court, roughly half of which were off the bounce, he scored a second ranked 1.118 points per-shot as a pull-up jump shooter, an impressive mark relative to his average 1.066 points per-shot in catch and shoot situations.
- Trey Burke
- Jeff Withey
- Victor Oladipo
- Otto Porter
- Ben McLemore
- Nerlens Noel
- Ray McCallum
- Pierre Jackson
- C.J. McCollum
- Cody Zeller
- Tim Hardaway Jr.
- Michael Carter-Williams
- Glen Rice Jr.
- Deshaun Thomas
- Alex Len
- Brandon Paul
- Nate Wolters
- C.J. Leslie
- Ricky Ledo
- Solomon Hill