Los Angeles Lakers: 3 inexperienced playoff players who could boom or bust

Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

Lakers playoff boom or bust potential: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is already having his number called in the Orlando bubble on account of Rajon Rondo being out with his fractured thumb. According to recent Lakers rumors, it seems as though KCP will be the assumed backcourt starter with Rondo out.

With only four playoff games under his belt, all coming with the Detroit Pistons, it’s hard to put tabs on how he might perform.

Caldwell-Pope likely won’t do too much initiation or ball-handling when running with the first unit. LeBron James is leading the league in assists and operating as the team’s starting point guard which will allow KCP to continue to compete in a more complementary role.

That complementary aspect is ever-important for KCP’s career shooting performance. Averaging a career-high in field goal and 3-point percentage, a good chunk of that success has to do with the increased catch-and-shoot opportunities KCP has gotten out of the Lakers offense. Over the past two seasons in LA, KCP has taken above 45 percent of his shots as catch-and-shoot opportunities.

In the first unit, KCP has the potential to succeed in that the seventh-year guard can find space created by the gravity of Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Will that success be higher than he’s already seeing so far this season? With limited shot opportunities and plenty of star power in the first unit, that seems unlikely.

KCP’s minutes allocation will likely overlap with the second unit in which he’ll have more opportunities to get shots up. While Alex Caruso may function as the primary ball-handler, it could be KCP at times, too.

Not accustomed to initiating the offense, I can’t see KCP doing a stellar job of running plays in a postseason environment, though it very well might come to that at some point.

Caldwell-Pope simply may get more minutes, so inherently his potential to boom rises. I would guess he won’t have enough opportunity in the first unit to quite get there. It feels unlikely that KCP will bust.

Boom potential: Medium-high

Bust potential: Low-medium