Better Know a Prospect: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G - Georgia

Elsa

2013 NBA Draft profile of prospect Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Bio: Kentavious Tannel Caldwell-Pope, hereafter primarily referred to as KCP for the sake of my sanity, was born in 1993 in Thomaston Georgia. Caldwell-Pope rose to prominence as a high schooler at Greenville High School, averaging 29.1 points per game as a junior and 31 points per game as a senior. After participating in the McDonald's All America Game and the Jordan Brand Classic in 2011, KCP finished high school as the third rated shooting guard prospect in the nation by both Rivals and Scout.com

KCP chose Georgia over various other offers from SEC schools, and made the Freshman All-SEC team his first year, joining Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bradley Beal. Unlike his more heralded counterparts on the team, he returned to school for his sophomore season, greatly increasing his statistical output across the board. In his final collegiate game, KCP had 32 points and 13 rebounds against LSU.

Stats: Statistically, there's a lot to love here.

KCP was a high usage, high efficiency player as a sophomore; put simply, he created his own shots and he made said shots. His 28.2 PER and 1.11 points/possession on 26.4% usage are both outstanding, and KCP used a variety of avenues in getting there -- 0.31 FTA/FGA, 38% from three, 58% true shooting, and 80% from the line.

An important note from DraftExpress augmenting this: "[Caldwell-Pope] used more than twice as many possessions creating his own shot in the half court than any guard projected to be selected in the first round." This is a relatively stark contrast to fellow top-10 shooting guard contenders, Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo, neither of whom created their own shots with any sort of effectiveness in college.

Despite his array of highlight reel dunks -- this one is relatively insane -- KCP finished right around the shooting guard average in terms of finishing at the rim. However, he was very, very active on the defensive glass (7.3 defensive rebounds per 40, pace adjusted, an equivalent rate to center prospect Alex Len) and rarely turned the ball over (11% turnover rate) despite his high usage.

Skills: KCP also projects as a plus defender, moving very well laterally, using his long arms (6'8" wingspan) and quickness to stay in front of guards, and generating a fair number of steals and blocks (2.5 and 0.6 per 40, pace adjusted). Next to the exceptional Victor Oladipo, KCP may legitimately be my favorite defensive wing prospect in the lottery.

He's very fast in the open floor and can dribble effectively; in the half court, he's also shown the ability to be useful coming off screens and on catch-and-shoots. Coupled with his strong shot creation, KCP has very few weaknesses on the floor; like Trey Burke, he's likely penalized for the fact that he didn't come out blazing hot as a college freshman and instead took a year to develop.

Conclusions: KCP's one of my five favorite players in this draft, joining Noel, Burke, Oladipo, and Otto Porter. I can't help but think he's going to be an absolute steal in the #10 range -- he shoots well, he generates his own shot, he hits the glass, and he defends. Those are four legitimate, valuable NBA skills, and I'd strongly consider taking him over the significantly more hyped Ben McLemore.

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