Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/16/14
It’s easy to forget about Pistons rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who doesn’t seek attention and looks to make the biggest name for himself on the less glamorous end of the floor, on defense. Over the last six games, though, he’s starting to find his way on offense, averaging 11.2 points on 56 percent shooting and hitting 45 percent of his 3-pointers. Of his 10 double-digit scoring games, four have come since Dec. 30. As the fifth option on offense literally every time he’s on the floor, Caldwell-Pope isn’t getting many opportunities to do what he did best during his two years at the University of Georgia: create his own shots off the bounce. “No, I don’t mind taking the back seat to anybody,” Caldwell-Pope said. “When I’m open I’ll shoot the ball, when I have my chances, I’ll score.” It’s a different situation than when he first stepped on an NBA floor, when he often chased shots in the exhibition season. Midway through his first season, though, he’s letting the game come to him as opposed to forcing the action. “It is an adjustment. All my veterans were telling me to slow down,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I was playing one speed. Now I see the floor and the options. By slowing down, it’s helped me be consistent.” Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks scoffed at the notion of running plays for Caldwell-Pope, but it’s clear that when the rookie gets the ball, the ball movement is better and the offense runs crisper. “He’s doing a good job of slowing down, slowing his pace down,” Pistons forward Josh Smith said. “He’s figuring out what spots to be successful for this team, instead of rushing in previous games. He’s knocking it down and being the shooter we know he’s capable of being.” Cheeks prefers Caldwell-Pope get scores off creating turnovers and get out on the fast break. At times, he can be a blur from end to end, but the Pistons as a whole haven’t been good enough to get stops to take advantage of their speed.
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