Pistons fans, rejoice!
Joe Dumars and the front office selected 20 year old Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a player who not only fits a position of need, but could end up being the most well-rounded shooting guard in the 2013 draft class. Caldwell-Pope is a 6'6", 205 pound shooting guard who led an underperforming Georgia team in usage and overall offensive production. He brings range, steals, and athleticism in a prototypical NBA shooting guard frame to a Pistons team desperate for a player who can stretch defenses and create his own offense.
While Victor Oladipo generated buzz for his defense and range, and Ben McLemore for his offensive skillset, Caldwell-Pope made a late-season push to get himself into the lottery. While less touted, Caldwell-Pope measures very well statistically and physically against other shooting guards in this year's draft class.
How does Kentavious compare? Well he ranked 2nd in points per 40 pace adjusted among all shooting guards while Oladipo and McLemore ranked 9th and 8th respectively. Caldwell-Pope relied heavily on his pull-up jumpshot when he looked to score and nearly 75% of his shot attempts came from the perimeter where he scored a second ranked 1.118 points per-shot as a pull-up jump shooter, indicating that he could do quite well out of the pick and roll with the ball in his hands or coming off screens. Caldwell-Pope also gets to the line at a greater rate than Oladipo or McLemore, although much of that could be attributed to his higher usage rate.
Defensively, Caldwell-Pope posted 2 steals per game and was 2nd in steals per 40 pace-adjusted behind only Victor Oladipo. He rebounds the ball well, forces turnovers, and generated the 3rd most defensive win shares in the 2013 draft class.
While Caldwell-Pope will bring us offense and defense, he does have his weak spots. Most notable is his ability to finish at the rim, and perhaps just as much of a concern is a need to improve his ball-handling skills.
That said, it's refreshing to see a young prospect who clearly understands his strengths and weaknesses and focuses the majority of his game on his strengths.
Overall, I'm ecstatic by this pick. While I would have loved to have the floor management of Trey Burke manning the point and throwing the oops (rather than Brandon Knight saying oops), I think Caldwell-Pope fits our team perfectly. He should help improve our perimeter defense, can work well off screens with Monroe at the high post, and given his dependency and relatively efficient pull up shooting, he likely won't clog the interior with mindless head down dribble drives like some guards currently on our roster.
I applaud Joe for going with a guard that some might call a stretch at 8th overall instead of simply drafting the player that "slipped to us at 8." Here's to hoping that Dumars compliments Caldwell-Pope with a good pick in the 2nd.