Las Vegas sportsbooks and NBA pundits agree: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a long shot to win NBA Rookie of the Year honors. OK, this isn't exactly news. Not only was he the eighth overall pick, several players taken after him have a more clear path to a starting job. But still, let's take a look at what they're saying.
Jonathan Tjarks at SBNation.com ranked KCP at No. 9 entering the year:
Caldwell-Pope is the most intriguing of the long-shot candidates. Chauncey Billups and Rodney Stuckey are ahead of him in the rotation, but neither has his combination of size and shooting ability. The Pistons need perimeter players who can stretch the floor and open up room for their big men. If Caldwell-Pope can shoot as well as he did at Georgia (37 percent from 3 despite many contested looks), he could be a valuable weapon as a rookie.
And here are the odds that Bovada.lv currently lists:
- Victor Oladipo 3/2
- Cody Zeller 5/1
- Ben McLemore 8/1
- Michael Carter-Williams 9/1
- Anthony Bennett 10/1
- Kelly Olynyk 10/1
- Tim Hardaway Jr. 12/1
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 14/1
- Otto Porter 14/1
- Alex Len 20/1
- Shabazz Muhammad 20/1
- Dennis Schroeder 25/1
- Sergey Karasev 33/1
- Shane Larkin 33/1
He's tied for No. 8 on that list, although it's worth pointing out that Bovada isn't currently listing odds for Trey Burke, presumably because it's not clear how long Burke will be sidelined with his broken finger. Tjarks ranks Burke second in his rankings, which sounds about right considering he'll have a starting job and the ball in his hand.
I don't take issue with any of these rankings, but I do think it's within the realm of possibility that KCP surprises enough folks to enter the conversation. Will he win? No, but if regains his collegiate shooting efficiency and continues to rebound like a forward, he could sneak up to third or fourth on a lot of ballots, especially if he finishes the year starting for a playoff-bound team.
Is that overly optimistic? We'll find out soon. Now your thoughts.