Frank Vogel says he sees Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as the starter in place of Avery Bradley

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Jan 10, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) in action during the game between the Mavericks and the Lakers at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE 7/20/20:

After saying a week ago that he “sees” Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as the starter in place of Avery Bradley, Frank Vogel further confirmed his thoughts by saying today that he’s “pretty sure” KCP will start. He brought up the Lakers’ 17-3 record without Bradley this season when KCP started in his place (reported by Mike Trudell of the Lakers and Spectrum SportsNet).

Original story:

The Los Angeles Lakers learned yesterday that they will be without one of their veteran leaders for at least the next month-and-a-half, as Rajon Rondo suffered a fractured thumb that will keep him sidelined six-to-eight weeks. In addition, the Lakers had already lost one of their other backcourt members in Avery Bradley, as he decided to opt-out of the season restart due to concerns over his family’s health. Although Rondo is a big loss, Bradley’s might be more impactful just from the nature of him being a starter for most of the Lakers’ season. Head coach Frank Vogel will have to find a new starter, with even more limited options now that Rondo is gone. However, Vogel seems to already be nearing his decision for the new starter as he said today that he envisions Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as the person to replace Bradley in the starting lineup (reported by Bill Oram of The Athletic).

Frank Vogel further had this to say (per Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet and the Lakers)

“Kentavious did a phenomenal job when Avery was injured earlier in the season,” said Frank Vogel. “That’s really where I’m at in terms of what the starting lineup will look like.”

This wouldn’t be the first time that Caldwell-Pope has started in place of Bradley, as KCP did just that over the stretch of 18 games in November and December this season due to an injury that Bradley sustained. The Lakers went 15-3 in those games with Caldwell-Pope performing well in those games after an abysmal start to the season that preceded those 18 games. KCP did so well in those starting games compared to the games prior to that many wondered if KCP just happened to perform better as a starter. Those ideas quickly went away when Bradley came back, as Caldwell-Pope has been one of the most consistent Lakers since getting out of that initial slump.

We’ll see if this is true once the Lakers’ first game on July 30th comes around, as Vogel notes that other guys will have a shot. Either way, the supposed “point guard” position that KCP may be filling isn’t a normal “point guard” position like the rest of the NBA. That’s because of a certain LeBron James on the Lakers who tends to always be the one bringing the ball up as most traditional point guards do. KCP’s “point guard” duties will only lie on the defensive end, where he has proved to be a slightly below-average defender, at worst.

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