Last season couldn’t have started much worse for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. In his first 10 games for the Lakers, he shot 21-58 from the field and 5-21 from behind the arc. His confidence and his shot just wasn’t there.
Thankfully, with the help of his teammates, Caldwell-Pope was able to get out of his slump and put together one of the most efficient seasons of his career. After those first 10 games, Caldwell-Pope shot 48.1% from the field and 39.9% from 3-point territory in the regular season. His efficiency slightly dipped in the postseason, but he still made his 3-pointers at a respectable 37.8% clip.
Now, with a championship under his belt and a new contract that will pay him $40 million over the next three years, Caldwell-Pope has never been better, at least mentally.
“I feel great,” Caldwell-Pope said. “My body isn’t where it needs to be, but I’m getting there. Because of the short turnaround that we did have, I’m trying to get my body there and just being professional about that.
“But I feel great. My confidence is through the roof.”
Caldwell-Pope’s confidence in himself was evident in the Lakers’ 131-106 win over the Clippers on Sunday. In the 24:26 he played, Caldwell-Pope scored 16 points on 5-8 shooting from the field. He also posted a box plus-minus of +12. For his first game back, he was incredible.
It’s possible that Caldwell-Pope will have a stretch like he did last season at some point this season, but if there’s anything we learned last season, a little patience and encouragement goes a long way. Plus, after how well he played last season, he definitely deserves the benefit of the doubt.