Before Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a Laker and, not much later, an NBA champion, he was part of a young Detroit Pistons team led by Andre Drummond, who the Pistons drafted with the No. 9 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Caldwell-Pope was drafted a year later with the No. 8 overall pick.
In the four years that they played together, Caldwell-Pope and Drummond were able to make the postseason once, in 2016, but they were knocked out by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. The following summer, the Pistons renounced their rights to Caldwell-Pope, clearing the way for him to sign a one-year, $18 million with the Lakers. The rest is history.
Caldwell-Pope’s story isn’t done, though, and neither is his story with Drummond. Last month, Drummond signed a deal to play for the Lakers for the remainder of the season, which reunited him with Caldwell-Pope after four years. While it might take some time to rekindle the connection they had on the court in Detroit, Caldwell-Pope is confident it will come eventually.
“The on-court chemistry is not there yet,” Caldwell-Pope said. “The one game we did play, we didn’t really get acquainted, I would say. I know Dre, I played with him three years, three or four in Detroit. Playing with him then was good. He’s a great, great big and just him being added to the team is really going to help us out when them other two guys is back, LeBron and AD.
“Just adding him is a positive. Our friendship was still there, it’s been there since Detroit, so it’s just easier just to come up and talk to him, just get him acquainted to the ins and outs, so it’s good to have him over.”
Drummond has already talked about how much Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris, another one of his former Pistons teammates, have helped him get acclimated, so it seems as though they’re already off to a great start. How they fit on the court on this team remains to be seen because Drummond suffered a toe injury just over 14 minutes into his Lakers debut, but that’s less of a concern because they won’t be as heavily featured as they were during their time in Detroit.
Caldwell-Pope and Drummond weren’t able to bring a championship to Detroit together, but maybe they can get the job done in Los Angeles.