Among Los Angeles Lakers players to make their preseason debut on Sunday was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The playoff hero rested for the team’s first preseason game but played 24 minutes as part of the Lakers’ short rotation on Sunday and didn’t look to have missed a step.
Caldwell-Pope finished the game with 16 points on five-of-eight shooting from the field and added five rebounds, three assists, and three steals to his tally as the Lakers beat the Clippers for the second straight time this preseason.
After the game, Caldwell-Pope spoke to reporters about how he felt heading into the regular season in about a week, saying that while his physical condition isn’t quite where he wants it to be due to the short offseason, mentally he is feeling more than ready. KCP dropped a “my confidence is through the roof” line that should have the Lakers and their fans more than excited to see how he can build off of a phenomenal season last year.
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) December 14, 2020
For a player that has been, at times in his career, criticized for his streakiness, that level of confidence is such a huge boost to his ability. The Lakers obviously match that same feeling about their guard, re-signing him to a three-year deal, albeit a very team-friendly one, in the offseason.
The Lakers have added to their talent pool, at least on paper, but they’re still going to rely on Caldwell-Pope’s shooting and defense this season. His being in good form both physically and mentally will be a crucial factor in their success all year long.