Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/6/13
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope didn’t play last weekend against the Celtics. And that’s OK. The Pistons, who won 87-77, are whole again with the return of Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey. So there will be nights when the rookie guard doesn’t play. What that means, though, is time for Caldwell-Pope to learn from one of the best: Chauncey Billups. It will be Billups who teaches the kid how to slow down the game as well as dealing with not playing on a consistent basis. “We are going to speed up the process,” Billups promised. Speed bump When the Pistons were short-handed because of injuries, Caldwell-Pope averaged about 22 minutes. But during that time, Billups had some pointers. Mainly, slow down. But it didn’t mean slow down on the court — you do that in the NBA, and everybody passes you up. This slowing down was between the ears, not between the lines. “It’s funny,” Billups said. “We talked about that. He thinks slowing down means speed-wise. It really means mentally slowing down, reading situations, knowing the situations to look for. “So it’s not a physical-speed thing to slow things down. It’s mentally letting the game come, watch the game and let it come.” We’ve seen Caldwell-Pope miss open jumpers — he’s shooting 25 percent from 3-point range — press and doubt himself. That’s happened to hundreds of rookies. Offense, however, isn’t what will get Caldwell-Pope more playing time. It’s defense. “What will keep him on the floor is how he plays defense,” Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. “He continued to play defense, and that is why I kept him on the floor. And when a guy continues to play defense the way he does and he can make shots, he will continue to get on the floor.”
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