Hello Lakers Nation Trevor laying here.
Senior writer for lakers nation dot com Continuing our preview of each Lakers player leading up the training camp.
We're going player by player, breaking them all down and talking about what they can bring the team this season.
Today we're talking KCP contagious.
Kobol Pope Most likely a backup shooting guard for the Lakers.
What can he do for the team this season? Gonna break it all down in just a moment.
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So this last summer KCP was a free agent.
We weren't sure where he was going to go.
Had Kawai, Leonard decided to come to the Lakers, they wouldn't have had the money to keep him around quite.
Leonard chose to go elsewhere and the Lakers responded by Lock and K C P.
In addition to a number of other players, they got KCP on a two year deal worth 16 million total.
Second year is a player option on that deal, which was the Lakers strategy this summer.
We saw them give out a lot of these player options in the second year.
I think part of that is trying to trying to ease the concerns of some of these players.
We saw what happened last season.
When you get a lot of players that are on expiring deals or on one year deals and things start to get tough, they start to worry about their own stats and chemistry can break down.
That could be an issue.
So by giving a second year player option to a lot of these guys, while a lot of teams don't like giving them and you can understand why they don't want to give up that control.
But that second year player option does put the put Cem Cem ease into the mind of some of these players.
So maybe that's a factor here for continuous couple of Pope.
When this deal first came out A lot of Lakers fans were confused.
They were scratching their heads, thinking That's too much to pay to pay continuous.
Caldwell, Pope, I get it.
My initial reaction was the exact same.
I thought, Wow, that's That's a lot of money.
It's actually a pay cut.
I mean, KCP When he first came to the Lakers a few seasons ago, he was at 18 million that had dropped down to about 12.
Now he's down to about eight per season here right now for the Lakers.
But even so, it felt like that was a lot for a guy that was such a roller coaster last season.
He's up and he's down.
And unfortunately, most of his up time, no pun intended there most of the time when he was actually up and playing well was when KCP was already done with season that the Lakers.
We're not gonna make the playoffs and then KCP started to really turn around, had some nice games to finish out the season.
Actually, when everybody was out hurt.
KCP went on an impressive run, put up 23 points, 25 points, 32 points and 32 points in four of the final five games of the season course.
Basically, nobody was playing, so he played a ton of minutes.
I was able to fire up his many shots as he needed, so that certainly helped.
But still, he looked like a very solid piece that could really help the Lakers in those games.
But when times were tough, he kind of disappeared a little bit and so that's a concern.
How did the Lakers get this good version of continuous Caldwell Pope to show up from Day one? That's going to be something for Frank Vogel to work on.
But in terms of the money, in terms of what the Lakers gave him, looking at his contemporaries, looking at his peers across the league, it's pretty much the same.
He got a contract that is right in line with what other players of his caliber and his position can do.
So we actually got the exact same contract as Rodney Hood.
Two years, 16 million second year player option.
Same contract as Wayne Ellington.
Wayne Ellington is a veteran.
I only difference is Wayne Ellington has a team option on the second year for the Knicks, whereas KCP has a player option in the second year, which that is a big difference There, UH, same dollar amount as Seth Curry.
Seth Curry's is a better shooter.
The K C P No question there, but that's why Seth Curry got four years at roughly the same dollar amount.
Where's KCP? Got to sew this falls right in line with players that we would compare.
Couple of pope, too.
So you can't really look at this and say, Oh, the Lakers, clearly overpaid.
Know they paid about what the going rate on the market was for KCP.
And maybe you think they should have turns out, turn elsewhere then and looked at some other player.
But don't forget Kentavious Caldwell.
Pope courses a clutch sports client.
We use part of the reason why the Lakers were able to communicate with Rich Paul and, uh, by proxy.
LeBron James, before James even became a Laker.
So maybe there's that clutch sports tax at play here.
But bottom line is, if you're upset with the contract, it's actually right in line with the players that we would compare him to around the MBA.
So what could he bring on the floor.
Contagious couple of pope this season.
Well, look, he's a shooter, and that's the big thing.
That's what the Lakers need coming off their benches.
They need guys who could hit open shots.
There's gonna be plenty of those with LeBron James and Anthony Davis around plenty of teams focusing all their attention on them and then leaving the Lakers shooters alone and Casey.
If he can do that, he can knock down open shots.
Effect first energy.
He was in the 81st percentile as a spot up shooter.
You'll take that.
It's not Quinn cook level or anything like that.
Another player the Lakers signed.
No problems there.
He shot 39% on wide open threes.
Take that 37% on catch and shoot threes in general.
So even when he's being covered, he could hit up the 37% from three again. Not bad.
He's very streaky, though, and that was the problem.
You disappear for a month or so, and then you shoot really well and that would bring his average is back up.
So consistency again is going to be key for him.
Shot 87% from the free throw line, so he was a solid contributor.
There's somebody you knew could go knock down free throws, except the only problem is how we got there 1.
9 times per game.
Not a guy who attacks the basket in town.
If you're in a situation where you need to throw the ball into somebody and the team's gonna, you know a team is gonna foul, you could turn to a guy like Casey because he can knock down those free throws.
But again doesn't get There are a whole lot.
So doesn't change his value a ton for the Lakers.
So the problem with KCP is the defense event, which is a little bit surprising when you dig into a stats because he has a reputation as being a good defender.
He's a guy who in theory, can defend point guards and shooting guards, probably a little tough for him to slide down on the small forwards.
He's 65 but he's a little bit slender and his build a little bit difficult for him to body up on some of the bigger players.
But the idea behind having a guy like a C P is that you could have him guard ones.
But that's actually where he struggled quite a bit.
In fact, he was in the 19th percentile purse energy on the defensive end of the floor.
Just really, really bad.
And where he struggled was defending the ball handler and pick and roll, which he would see a ton of defending point guards and getting out and closing on spot up shooters, which is gonna be another issue for the Lakers.
So those are some things that Casey's gonna have to fix, right? If we even want to throw him into the discussion to potentially start if the Lakers aren't starting a traditional point guard of your starting more of that three Indy point guard, where you just want somebody who can defend the opposing point guard and knock down some open threes.
In theory, KCP should be in the mix for that.
But if those of the defensive numbers that he's putting up, it's not gonna work if he's not able to defend in the pick and roll, so that's something to keep a very close eye on this season can he up his defense of level the back where it was when he would say with the Detroit Pistons before he came over the Lakers, where he developed a reputation as gotta lock down defender, but at least a good defender.
Can he get back to that level of play? Maybe, And perhaps having that security of the second year player option might allow him to not worry so much about what kindof offensive numbers he's putting up now.
What kind of a battle does KCP have for minutes? He's like you're looking at.
Danny Green is almost certainly the starter at shooting guard for the Lakers.
They're paying him 15 season for the next two seasons, so most likely he's going to be the starter at the two.
But then the Lakers also brought in Avery Bradley, and that's really interesting, because should continuous Caldwell Pope go through a slump, you can turn to a guy like Avery Bradley.
In fact, you could make an argument that Avery Bradley just deserves the minutes outright.
He may be able to just beat out KCP for the minutes period because of the defensive ability that he brings and he can knock down shots.
It's not a great shooter.
I think overall, KCP has the potential to be the better shooter.
But if Avery Bradley is knocking down threes and playing good defense, he may be able to to steal away those backup shooting guard minutes.
Also possible that Bradley slides over to the point guard spot, but against something to keep an eye on there.
But that's not where Casey piece struggles for minutes end.
The Lakers also added Troy Daniels, who can step in and shoot the ball.
Quinn Cook can play off the ball.
You could run him as a two and Alex Caruso.
It's 65 is big enough where you could in theory, run him as a Tuas.
Well, though, I think the Lakers will look at him or a za one and same thing with Quinn Cook So minutes are not guaranteed for continuous Caldwell Pope this season.
Yes, they paid him.
Yes, they're going to give him a look, but if Avery Bradley is outperforming him or some of these other guys are outperforming him, if he is in a slump like we saw last season, those minutes are not guaranteed.
The Lakers have plenty of players to fall back on him.
Perhaps that's part of why they targeted so many guards in free agency was to protect themselves against the kind of roller coaster ride that KCP was last season.
Now, of course, we hope that he'll find consistency will hope that he'll play at a high level all season long and then put friend Vogel in a tough spot.
Put him in a spot where he's got to figure out who to play because he has too many good options.
That would be a great problem to have.
And hopefully that's something we can see how to KCP this season.
Hopefully, he's that guy that can step in, play good, stingy defense and knocked down threes.
If he can do those two things, he can be a real contributor contributor to this Lakers team.
All right, guys, what do you think? Let me know what your thoughts are on continuous.
Pope, Can he carve out minutes as the backup, too? Should he be playing over Avery Bradley? Let me know your thoughts.
Just respond in the comments down below before we get out of there.
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