Tag: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Orlando Magic v Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Brandon Jennings says when healthy he’s fine with being sixth man


When Brandon Jennings went down with a torn Achilles last season, Stan Van Gundy traded for Reggie Jackson, who came in and played well, developing some pick-and-roll chemistry with Andre Drummond. SVG liked what he saw and gave Jackson an $80 million contract this summer, making him the point guard of record in Detroit.

What happens when Jennings gets healthy and comes back?

Jennings says he is good playing a sixth-man role. At least that’s what he told CSN’s Jabari Young and Vincent Goodwill on their Point Game podcast (hat tip Matt Moore at Eye on Basketball).

“Bringing in Reggie Jackson was smart. I’m supposed to be out, really, for nine months, and they need a point guard. …

“My main thing is just to get healthy. Hey, if I have to come off the bench and be the sixth man or whatever, I’m fine with that. Man, I just want to play basketball again. I just want to get back on the court and have fun.”

One idea Van Gundy has floated is to have Jennings and Jackson play together, having Jennings be a sixth man who subs in for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (or Jodie Meeks, whoever starts at the two). In that scenario Jennings is more of the two guard on offense because he is the much better three-point shooter and can space the floor, while on defense Jackson is the better player and can guard the two spot if that is a tough matchup.

Both Jennings and Jackson were effective as Piston point guards last season (their PERs were almost identical at 19.8 and 19.7). It’s a good problem to have, so long as it doesn’t start causing divisions within the team.

I’m much higher on Detroit going into this season than many others, I think they can be a playoff team in the East. Especially if these two can blend into a two-headed monster in the backcourt.

Who starts at point for Detroit when Brandon Jennings gets healthy?


Brandon Jennings was the starting point guard for Stan Van Gundy’s Detroit Pistons last season for 41 games — until he tore his Achilles.

Reggie Jackson was brought in with a trade and started the last 27 games at the point for the Pistons, showing some chemistry with Andre Drummond. Then this summer the Pistons gave him a five-year, $80 million contract.

That deal implies that Jackson is locked in as the starter for the Pistons, but what happens when Jennings comes back, gets healthy and starts pushing for minutes? While Jackson put up more points per game last season, Jennings shot better from three, and their PERs were almost identical (19.8 and 19.7). It’s not that clear-cut who should be the starting point guard.

The fourth guy in the Pistons’ point guard rotation, Spencer Dinwiddie (remember they have Steve Blake, too) said he doesn’t know what will happen, speaking to MLive.com.

“When you have two starters and you know only one can start, something’s got to give,” Dinwiddie said. “So I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m sure Brandon’s coming back to be the best player on the floor. Reggie, I’m sure he feels like he obviously is our franchise guy right now, until ‘Dre signs his max deal. So we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen with Brandon and Reggie but everybody’s waiting to see, I’m sure.”

It’s going to be Jackson, but the fit will be interesting.

One solution is to play them at the same time — Van Gundy has said he thinks Jennings and Jackson can play together. It works in theory because the Pistons could go a little smaller and play faster, Jennings can play more two on offense where he has the shot to space the floor, and Jackson is good enough defensively to guard twos. It’s not something they would use all the time — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks should get a lot of run at the two — but the combo could work at times.

That said, the more likely option is for the Pistons to play Jennings at the point and show him off and hope to do it before the trade deadline — they would love to move him. He is in the last year of his contract; he wouldn’t be expensive for a team to take on as a rental, and then said team can try to re-sign him next summer. However, moving him after an Achilles injury is not going to be easy, and the Pistons will not likely get much in return.

Detroit is a fascinating story next season. Can Van Gundy bring his vision to Detroit and get this team to take a step forward? How does the offense look with Ersan Ilyasova at the four rather than Greg Monroe? Can they make the playoffs in the East?

What happens with Jennings is just another interesting storyline.

Jimmy Butler tops 29 other vote-getters to win Most Improved Player

Chicago Bulls v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Four

Most Improved Player voters honored the right player – the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler.

As far as the rest of the voting?

With a difficult-to-define award like this, let’s just say plenty of voters – intentionally or not – showed bias toward the team they covered. Thirty players received votes, and though none of the recipients are horrid choices, it’s difficult to make the case many of them were among the three most-improved players in the entire league.

Here’s the full voting:

Player (team) first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points

  • Jimmy Butler (Chicago) 92-23-6-535
  • Draymond Green (Golden State)  11-43-16-200
  • Rudy Gobert (Utah) 12-32-33-189
  • Hassan Whiteside (Miami) 5-12-27-88
  • Klay Thompson (Golden State) 2-8-8-42
  • Anthony Davis (New Orleans) 4-2-1-27
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milw) 1-3-8-22
  • Donatas Motiejunas (Houston) 0-1-4-7
  • Dennis Schröder (Atlanta) 0-1-3-6
  • DeMarre Carroll (Atlanta) 1-0-0-5
  • Tyler Zeller (Boston) 1-0-0-5
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento) 0-1-1-4
  • Khris Middleton (Milwaukee) 0-0-4-4
  • Kyrie Irving (Cleveland) 0-0-3-3
  • Victor Oladipo (Orlando) 0-1-0-3
  • DeAndre Jordan (L.A. Clippers) 0-1-0-3
  • Jae Crowder (Boston) 0-1-0-3
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit) 0-0-2-2
  • Nikola Vucevic (Orlando) 0-0-2-2
  • Robert Covington (Philadelphia) 0-0-1-1
  • Tyreke Evans (New Orleans) 0-0-1-1
  • Derrick Favors (Utah) 0-0-1-1
  • Marc Gasol (Memphis) 0-0-1-1
  • Tobias Harris (Orlando) 0-0-1-1
  • Gordon Hayward (Utah) 0-0-1-1
  • George Hill (Indiana) 0-0-1-1
  • Enes Kanter (Oklahoma City) 0-0-1-1
  • Brandon Knight (Phoenix) 0-0-1-1
  • Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio) 0-0-1-1
  • Meyers Leonard (Portland) 0-0-1-1

And here’s how each voter voted. If a player looks like an outlier, there’s a decent chance his vote(s) came from someone who covers him regularly.

Three Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: Knicks beat Spurs? Pistons beat Grizzlies? What?


If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while planning your vacation to a new island

1) The Knicks came from behind to beat the Spurs? Yes. What’s next, the Washington Generals beating the Harlem Globetrotters? The Spurs led by 13 in the third quarter and looked like they would run away, but what Gregg Popovich said afterward rang true — the Spurs didn’t respect the game. The Knicks did — starting with Alexy Shved. The Russian point guard made the play that sent the game into overtime by driving the lane, getting Tim Duncan to commit on defense, then  dropping the ball off toLou Amundson, who hit the layup to tie the game and force overtime. Then in what was a sloppy OT Shved made maybe the key play, getting Borris Diaw to leave his feet on a pump-fake and jump forward, so Shved could draw the foul and get to the line. Then he had the key defensive play in overtime tipping away Duncan’s pass to a cutting Kawhi Leonard. You know if Shved is making key defensive plays it’s just the Knicks night. The problem for the Spurs is in the crowded West this is the kind of win they need to have. San Antonio had played well of late, just a rough time for a one-off night.

2) Detroit got a big game from Reggie Jackson and beat the Grizzlies? Yes. Detroit had struggled since bringing in Reggie Jackson at the trade deadline — they had lost 10 games in a row. Jackson had been up and down trying to fit in with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe up front. You had to question if Jackson was right for this team or if the Pistons let him walk this summer when he’s a restricted free agent. But Tuesday night Jackson was brilliant, scoring 23 points and dishing out 20 assists, the second guy to do it this season (the other was Brandon Jennings the game before he got injured). Other Pistons scored 25 buckets when Jackson was on the court, he assisted on 20 of them. Jackson was more comfortable with the stretch four Anthony Tolliver in for the injured Greg Monroe, who prefers to play closer to the rim. This was a game Memphis will feel it should have won (especially if Portland climbs past it in the standings) — the Grizzlies were up 15 at the half. Mike Conley being out shouldn’t have mattered at that point, this was a winnable game. Throw some credit to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who had 16 points in the third quarter for Detroit, including some back-to-back threes that helped change the game’s momentum.

3) The Pelicans are the eighth seed in the West again. Remember if the Pelicans and Thunder finish the season tied, it is New Orleans with the tie breaker. That’s where we are again — both teams are 37-30 — after the Pelicans got the one-point win over the Bucks Tuesday. One that seems lucky after Ersan Ilyasova’s wide-open three to win the game (seriously, how did he get that open?) hit the rim, the backboard, the rim again and fell harmlessly to the ground. We really were all watching this one to see Anthony Davis (20 points, 12 rebounds)  vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo (15 points, nine rebounds and five assists). They went head-to-head a few times, which is always entertaining. But Davis is happier with the 18 points from Quincy Pondexter, the 16 from Omer Asik and the win. With Serge Ibaka out for pretty much the regular season, the Pelicans have a real opportunity. Will they take advantage?

Andrew Wiggins one of just four 2014 draft picks on Rising Star Challenge rosters

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves

The NBA shook up the Rising Stars Challenge, making it the U.S. vs. the World.

Each 10-man team had to have at least four guards, four frontcourt players, three rookies and three sophomores.

Here’s how the rosters shook out:

U.S. Team


  • Trey Burke, Jazz (Sophomore)
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons (Sophomore)
  • Michael Carter-Williams, 76ers (Sophomore)
  • Zach LaVine, Timberwolves (Rookie)
  • Victor Oladipo, Magic (Sophomore)
  • Elfrid Payton, Magic (Rookie)


  • Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves (Sophomore)
  • Nerlens Noel, 76ers (Rookie)
  • Mason Plumlee, Nets (Sophomore)
  • Cody Zeller, Hornets (Sophomore)


  • Alvin Gentry, Warriors

World Team


  • Bojan Bogdanovic, Nets (Rookie)
  • Dante Exum, Jazz (Rookie)
  • Dennis Schroder, Hawks (Sophomore)
  • Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves (Rookie)


  • Steven Adams, Thunder (Sophomore)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (Sophomore)
  • Gorgui Dieng, Timberwolves (Sophomore)
  • Rudy Gobert, Jazz (Sophomore)
  • Nikola Mirotic, Bulls (Rookie)
  • Kelly Olynyk, Celtics (Sophomore)


  • Kenny Atkinson, Hawks

These rosters reveal the reason for the format change. The 2014 draft, which could become the most underwhelming of all time, produced just four participants – Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Elfrid Payton and Zach LaVine – in the game once know as the Rookie Challenge.

The other rookies – Nerlens Noel, Bojan Bogdanovic and Nikola Mirotic (read more about him here) – were selected in previous years. The deck has never been stacked like this before.

Still, the Timberwolves scrimmage Rising Stars Challenge could be interesting. The Americans are much more guard-oriented than the larger World Team, which could lead to some interesting matchups (or awful basketball).

No clear snubs, but K.J. McDaniels, Tim Hardaway Jr., Alex Len, Pero Antic and Jusuf Nurkic all got squeezed out.