The Los Angeles Lakers made the necessary moves this offseason to place them in prime position regarding the outlook of the franchise. Part of that plan was finding a solution to the opening at the shooting guard position, which was filled by free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
With training camp set to begin soon, Las Vegas and the media outlets have started giving predictions for the 2017-18 season. Part of this involves the player rankings they provide entering each NBA season. Performances from the prior season influence each players standing, as it provides some stock into each player entering the upcoming season.
ESPN released their updated #NBARank list on Tuesday, listing the NBA players that were ranked 50-75 on the list. The Lakers were well represented in this portion of the list, with three players showing up. First up was Caldwell-Pope, who has ranked No. 74 on the list:
Caldwell-Pope will likely be the new starting shooting guard for the Lakers, who finished last in defensive efficiency in 2016-17. Last season in Detroit, the Pistons’ defense allowed nearly seven more points per 100 possessions when Pope was on the floor than when he was off.
Caldwell-Pope was rated No. 83 on last year’s list, making his way up after a solid season with the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 steals in 33.2 minutes per game.
During his introductory press conference, the Lakers front office duo of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka explained just why they were so grateful to land a player of his caliber. Not only does he have an aggressive approach on offense, but also takes pride in his defense as a capable two-way player.
That will be a great influence on the young set of players on the Lakers, and a driving force behind their improved defense this season. Caldwell-Pope is set to dazzle after signing a one-year contract with the Lakers, alongside center Brook Lopez, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram.