Earlier we pondered whether Kentavious Caldwell-Pope deserved a starting job. It appears we jumped the gun, because Mo Cheeks' comments after practice on Wednesday make me wonder if KCP will have a spot in the rotation, period.
From MLive.com's David Mayo:
"You can't," have five guards in the rotation, Cheeks said Wednesday. "How can you do it? I don't think you can do it. If they give us more than 48 minutes, yeah. But I don't think they can do it. It wouldn't be fair to the guys who are playing."
Let's do the math: Brandon Jennings is a lock to start, and Rodney Stuckey and Chauncey Billups are battling for the other job, with the other likely serving as first guard off the bench. Billups certainly didn't return to collect DNP-CDs, and Cheeks has gone out of his way to publicly praise Stuckey. From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:
"Make sure you put in there he’s been good," Cheeks yelled when he saw a writer interviewing Stuckey.
When asked to elaborate, Cheeks said Stuckey has been the best defensive player since training camp began Oct. 2.
"All I can say is that Stuckey has been … very good," Cheeks said. "Very conscientious of the things we’ve been doing. It would be easy for me to say that he’s probably been the best defensively, in terms of knowing where to be, what to do. Defensively, he’s been very good."
So that means either KCP or Will Bynum will join Peyton Siva at the end of the bench.
In the MLive article, Mayo quotes Cheeks talking about how he wants his guards to press in the backcourt. That's traditionally been one of Bynum's strengths (and Bynum said Cheeks has praised him for that), although not as much recently. But KCP is certainly athletic enough to get up and down the court, too, and he offers a lot more accuracy from long range to help space the floor offensively.
When Cheeks was hired, a lot of people (including myself) praised his ability to work with young players. I hope he remains dedicated to that task and doesn't start feeling the heat to make the playoffs at all costs. Will Bynum is a hard worker, a great teammate and certainly has a strong rapport with Andre Drummond. But Caldwell-Pope has the potential to be much, much more valuable -- both in the short- and long-term.