Kentavious Caldwell-Pope & Stanley Johnson putting League's perimeter players on notice
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's breakout year could be underway, with the third-year swing man performing well as the team's starting shooting guard. Stan Van Gundy, who was expecting a leap in the guard's ability has been pleasantly surprised by the amount off progress KCP has made, per Pistons.com's Keith Langlois:
"He was good last year," Van Gundy said after those outings, "but so far this year, he's been really, really good. He's continued to get stronger and I think what also happens is guys learn the game," Van Gundy said. "They can anticipate situations a lot better. They know what's coming. They've seen more things. They're not caught by surprise. We notice it even when we go through walk-throughs. He knows what's coming before we finish talking about the play. He's seen enough now."
Rookie Stanley Johnson has also impressed his new coach, with the latter hoping the former Arizona standout can learn a few tricks from Kentavious and become another defensive threat stashed away on Detroit's bench.
"He'll be a little bit different. He'll be even more physical, but he can become a very good defender, too," he said. "Where he's lacking right now is he doesn't know everything that's coming and he gets lost on some plays - to be expected at 19. He's good on the ball right now. He gets down in his stance and moves his feet well. He's a competitive guy," Van Gundy said. "Off the ball, he tends to really get lost right now. He gets beat on cuts, he gets beat to the boards, he loses his man, he loses vision. Again, that's all a learning thing. He's got a long way to go there, but on the ball he's got the ability and he's got the will to stop people."
If their effort so far into the season has Van Gundy and Pistons fans excited, consider the point where both wings will enter their NBA prime alongside Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond, then, you'll be able to see that this Pistons core has enough to make teams in the League shudder at the thought of their defensive and offensive capabilities.
SVG: "Drummond is the best rebounder I've been around"
Speaking of Andre Drummond... A recent piece by Marc J. Spears over at Yahoo! Sports has shined a light onto the Pistons' star center, talking about everything from Andre's love of all things technologically-related, to what Stan Van Gundy thinks of his budding pivot's performance this season. The Connecticut product has been dominating the League in rebounding since opening night, and a string of superb games has led to him being compared to the NBA legends such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain. SVG seems to agree with the comparisons:
"As a rebounder, 'Dre is as good as anybody, if not the best that I've been around," Van Gundy said. "He is an outstanding rebounder. He just goes out and gets the ball. I think he is as good a rebounder and can be as good a rebounder as anybody there has been."
Van Gundy has coached the likes of Dwight Howard, Alonzo Mourning and Shaquille O'Neal, so his opinion certainly carries some weight. That being said, there is little debate over Drummond's rebounding ability, with the center averaging 19 points and 19 rebounds through his first 10 games and has picked up back-to-back Player of the Week awards as a result.
The Pistons have surprised many around the League with their strong start, and if Dre & Co continue their dominance on the boards and the defensive side of the ball, the Association better start getting used to seeing Detroit in the postseason.
Pistons will look to shore up PF and PG over the course of the season or during the offseason
Detroit's roster went through an overall during the summer and the results have been plain to see, with the team getting off to a roaring start this year. Stan Van Gundy has shown an inclination to wheel and deal to suit his, and the team's needs, with the team also putting up a larger than usual player turnover since the coach's arrival, something that MLive's David Mayo believes could lead to the Pistons pulling the trigger on deals that will secure talent at both the power forward and point guard positions.
Currently, the Pistons have only one point guard -- Reggie Jackson -- signed on past this season. With aging veteran Steve Blake likely to not feature in the team's future plans and more questions than answers surrounding second-year man Spencer Dinwiddie and aging playmaker Brandon Jennings, Mayo opines that the team could look to bring in some outside help to man the team's backup point guard position for the upcoming future.
Likewise, Mayo points to lack of depth at power forward as a reason to keep an eye out for potential trades, with both Anthony Tolliver and Ersan Ilyasova's contracts expiring after this year, leaving only Marcus Morris, Stanley Johnson and Aron Baynes as the only player capable of logging minutes at the 4. The Pistons have shown to have some lingering interest in the Suns' Markieff Morris, but it wouldn't be a stretch to expect Detroit bringing back both of its' current stretch-4s during the offseason.
The team could of course look to bolster its' bench, with the Pistons having received inconsistent results from their backups so far this season. Detroit has a handful of expiring contracts and promising fringe players that could potentially intrigue other organizations around the Association, so expect to see Detroit's name surface in the rumor mill prior to the trade deadline.
Tweet of the Week
Brandon Jennings practiced today, some contact stuff, 4 on 4. Got knocked down by Arom Baynes. "And it was good," he grinned. #Pistons— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) November 12, 2015