The Detroit Pistons managed to win only 29 after acquiring Josh Smith, the franchise's highest-paid player ever per annum, via free agency, Brandon Jennings via trade, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope via the lottery. Combined with a full season of good health for Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, that is a remarkable achievement for all the wrong reasons.
Over the next several days, Detroit Bad Boys will assign the credit and blame where it thinks it's due in its postseason grades. Grades are on a four-point scale, and you are seeing the average of the DBB hive-mind with comments, surly and otherwise.
Today, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: 2.26
brgulker: I think KCP is going to be a solid player, and he should have been the starting shooting guard all season (no offense, Kyle Singler, I'd have had you starting at small forward) even if his rookie performance as a whole was a bit underwhelming. From day one, it was clear to me that KCP had the athleticism and the requisite physical tools to succeed in the NBA. Early in the season, he was the team's go-to perimeter defender, and he even had his fair share of the offense sent his way. After a very tough start shooting the ball, KCP quietly put it all together before being inexplicably benched until the season was all but over.
Certainly, KCP's far from a finished project, but his NCAA numbers might suggest some room for optimism. KCP improved his shot significantly between his freshman and sophomore campaigns. Hopefully a similar summertime improvement is right around the corner.
revken: Caldwell-Pope strengthened the defense and, when given consistent playing time, showed a steadily-improving shot. Relegating him to spot minutes off the bench for much of the season was a big mistake.
Mike Payne: I'm far less impressed by KCP than most Pistons fans were this season, but I certainly wouldn't write him off. I not only hope he can improve his outside shooting next season, but he can show the stat-stuffing defensive playmaking he produced in Georgia even on off-nights.
Shinons*: It's important to keep in mind that KCP is a 21-year-old rookie. He's going to develop. While he didn't set the world on fire and produced a pedestrian stat line, he certainly displayed the foundation and tools this team needs out of its shooting guard. In the end, his biggest problem was too many long twos. 24-percent of his shots came between the paint and three point line, and he only made 32 percent of them. Taking the next step could be as little as generating better shots.
Sean_Corp: KCP did not have the greatest rookie season, but I don't remember the last time I was this excited about the potential of a Pistons wing player. He showed NBA-caliber defense from practically minute one and also on occasion showed the ability to knock down the three-ball. Now he just needs to do so on a much more consistent basis and combine it with his good slashing instincts.
Also not to be overlooked is his insane penchant for not turning the ball over, which is an important skill considering the type of role he will be asked to play. All in all, if I could redraft I'm not sure I would want anyone available more than KCP right now.
Packey: KCP came into a tough situation made tougher being the guy the Pistons picked instead of Michigan man TREY BURKE; he'll be under a microscope, right next to Burke for the rest of his Pistons career. He displayed NBA defense from the start in summer league and he came around on offense after shaking some rookie jitters. If he continues to improve his shot, and the last game of the season is any indication, he's going to be a strong-to-quite-strong NBA wing man.
What say you, DBB commentariat?