Last Tuesday in El Segundo at the Toyota Sports Center the Lakers introduced their new signing, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka had nothing but praise for their new shooting guard. Pelinka went as far as comparing him to manna that fell from heaven in the Bible. We won’t know for a while if he matches up with the divine allegory, but lets dive in to some analytics that might help us find out. The metrics will represent the top 6 players in the rankings from Bleacher Report. It will reflect each players age 23 season except for Antetokounmpo who is currently 22, so they are adjusted for that. KCP is currently 23.
Adam Fromal from Bleacher Report, listed the top 30 shooting guards as of the end of the 2017 season. The number one player on his list is Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks. 2 through 5 is Bradley Beal of the Wizards DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors, C.J.McCollum of the Blazers and Klay Thompson of the Warriors. The sixth player on the list is KCP.
Caldwell-Pope had a PER rating of 13.2. Per John Hollinger of ESPN, PER is the sum of all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance. The standardized league average is at 15. This metric shows he is below average. He is higher than Patrick Beverley of the Rockets who is listed #7 (12.6) but lower than Jrue Holliday, who is ranked 2 spots lower at #8 so make of that what you will.
Digging deeper into the metrics, there are the ones we are familiar with. KCP avg 2 steals a game, which is more than Antetokounmpo (1.1) and Beal (1.0), and tied with McCollum (2.0). What might be a more telling defensive metric is Steal %. A metric that estimates the percentage of offensive possessions that end with a steal by a particular defensive player when that player is on the court, can tell a players the effect a certain player can have on defense. KCP is on top with 2.o and is ahead of Giannis and Beal. The TOV%, Turnover percentage is lower than all of them (8.0) Turnover percentage is important, as it tells the amount of turnovers per 100 plays. So this metric is pretty balanced, and tells us Caldwell -Pope takes care of the ball.
OWS: Offensive Win Shares, DWS: Defensive Wins Shares, WS: Win Shares. The metric that shows the estimated number of wins by the player according to his offense or defense. Caldwell-Pope sits number 3 in both OWS and DWS metrics. it shows between the 5 players that he is average. He is better than Klay and McCollum in OWS, and better than Klay and Derozan in DWS. Total Wins Shares puts him in 3rd.
Finally, the metrics I examined is Defensive rating and VORP. Defensive rating is based off of 100 possessions and the points that the player allowed. The leader of the group is Antetokounmpo but Caldwell-Pope rates better than Derozan 109-112 and there are only 4 points separating the top 4 players on this comparison. VORP is value over replacement player. It estimates the players value to his team over a replacement player. The top number was as always The Greek Freak. The Lakers shooting guard lists third and is above Klay, Beal and Derozan. Based on these analytics, KCP is better on defense and value than guards ahead of him in the ranking.
Are there many other metrics we didn’t study? Of course, but when reading the breakdown of his ranking of KCP, Nick Sciria from Nylon Calculus makes a pretty accurate statement. “Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has proven to do the hidden things well but needs an opportunity with a new group of players, to do more glamorous things”. It goes on to say the Pistons needed to free him from the unpromising pieces around him to bring out his untapped ability. The Pistons did that. Does he have better pieces with the Lakers? Will it happen in only one year in the Purple and Gold?
P.S. KCP was ahead of Jordan Clarkson in all of the metrics discussed. Peace