What is the No. 1 thing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can do to step up and help the Pistons make the playoffs?
Find confidence on 3-pointers
Between summer league and preseason, Caldwell-Pope made just 15-of-63 3-pointers (23.8 percent). That won’t cut it.
Caldwell-Pope rebounds well for his position, but that doesn’t matter quite as much considering how well Detroit’s frontline rebounds (diminishing returns). He defends well for his age, but that doesn’t matter quite as much when veteran and contract-year motivated Rodney Stuckey is healthy.
Caldwell-Pope’s edge should be outside shooting, a skill the Pistons desperately need. If he can’t shoot better from the perimeter, he faces an uphill battle even to make the rotation this season.
Be better than Trey Burke
JK JK. But seriously … if he’s better than Trey Burke, there might be a person or two in the front office who would appreciate that.
Mature, mentally and physically
I’m convinced Caldwell-Pope could become a really solid NBA shooting guard. At Georgia, he created his own shot, knocked down 3-pointers and defended effectively on the wing.
With Chauncey Billups the apparent starter at shooting guard, Caldwell-Pope will have a little time to improve his defensive rotations and blossom offensively. Caldwell-Pope is also rendered ineffective as soon as he takes contact. He must get a little stronger.
Shoot confidently, defend well
Unlike the Pistons’ recent lottery picks, Caldwell-Pope enters his rookie year without the burden of massive expectations. If he focuses on his strengths, defending and shooting well, a merely solid output in those areas could make him the starter before the season ends.
A regular season like Spurs guard Danny Green’s would be a huge success.