Our 2021-22 Washington Wizards player evaluations series continues with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. For our previous evaluations, please click here to get to our player analysis section.
In the 2021-22 NBA season, Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.2 points, grabbed 3.4 rebounds and dished 1.9 assists per game in 77 appearances. Caldwell-Pope was tied with Corey Kispert for the second-most appearances overall. He also started in more games than any other Washington player last season. If it weren’t for missing three games in December due to the NBA’s healthy and safety protocols or missing the last two games due to the fact that Washington was out of the playoff picture, he probably would have played in all 82 games like Deni Avdija.
KCP’s best game in 2021-22
On March 4, Caldwell Pope scored 28 points on 10-of-12 shooting (and made all six of his three-pointers) in a 117-114 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. He also dished 5 assists.
Caldwell-Pope has been a reliable three point shooter and starting caliber for Washington, like he has for nearly his entire NBA career. Most notably, KCP’s three point percentage was at 39 percent (2.1 makes out of 5.3 attempts per game) and he has been making about 40 percent of his threes in each of his last two NBA seasons.
On the defensive end, Caldwell-Pope remains above average, even if the Wizards as a whole were below average on that part of the floor. His defensive RPM was 4.29, 37th best in the NBA. And Caldwell-Pope is also an above-average defender when it comes to not fouling his man. Last season, he only had a foul percentage of 2.5 percent, which is in the 74th percentile for wing players, per Cleaning the Glass (subscription required).
While KCP is an above-average, though not an All-Star player, I’m not sure if there is a need for him on the roster, especially if the Wizards do not kick off the 2022-23 season on the right foot (beyond the first 13 games since last year’s start was fool’s gold). The good news is that he has played on one recent championship team (the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers). So he could be a trade target for contending teams should Washington remain below average or mediocre. Also, Caldwell-Pope’s current contract ($14 million) expires next year and it doesn’t appear likely that the Wizards would re-sign him if they decide to move in another direction.
What to expect for 2022-23
Since he is 29 years old, Caldwell-Pope is in the middle of his prime. Expect him to continue to be an above average shooter and perimeter defender. That said, Caldwell-Pope’s long-term future in Washington is far from a certain thing, depending on what Bradley Beal does with his free agency and how he fits in with Kristaps Porzingis, assuming Beal decides to re-sign with Washington.