The Detroit Pistons are off to a surprising 3-1 start, led by Andre Drummond’s dominance, Reggie Jackson’s emergence as a quality starting point guard, and the strong play of two of Stan Van Gundy’s offseason acquisitions – Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova. Yet if the Pistons are going to sustain this early-season explosion over the course of 82 games, they’re going to need Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to realize his potential.
KCP started his season on a high note, scoring 21 points, including four three-pointers, against the Atlanta Hawks. His shooting has since cooled off, as he’s now only hitting 30 percent of his shots from beyond the arc and just 36 percent from the field overall. Though the season is still in its infancy, those numbers are a little concerning. The Pistons still need KCP to be aggressive – not necessarily jacking up shots hoping they’ll fall, but consistently creating quality looks for himself or others. Last night’s nasty tomahawk slam on Jordan Hill was a good start.
Caldwell-Pope could have launched an ill-advised three, as shooters sometimes tend to do when their shot isn’t falling. Instead, he made the smart, though still difficult play by using his screen, splitting the double team, then going up strong for the finish. The Pistons need KCP to start shooting well, obviously, but they also don’t want him to settle for bad shots. What they need is exactly what he did here against the Indiana Pacers. Detroit didn’t get the win, but the play is still noteworthy.