Fear Not: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is No Wesley Johnson


Mar 7, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) shown on the court against the Kentucky Wildcats during the second half at Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia defeated Kentucky 72-62. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The problem with a history of drafting numerous near-busts with good-to-great draft position is there are so many reasons to be gun shy — people start seeing ghosts and running for the hills if a certain prospect matches the physical profile of a recent disaster. That isn’t the case with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a certain oven-mitted swingman the Wolves had to give up a future first round pick with just to get him out of town.


Beyond excellent, soothing stats in this post…

"Wes Johnson versus KCP."

"In three years of college ball Wes Johnson attempted 373 three point attempts out of his 1017 field goal attempts. The long ball was 36.7% of his arsenal. The most 3 point makes he had in a season was 51 in his golden year at Cuse.KCP has attempted 439 three pointers out of his 814 field goal attempts. In college the 3 ball was 53.9% of his arsenal. KCP made 65 threes his freshman year and 84 his sophomore year.Breakdown – Floor spacing and or jacking up threes was a much larger part of KCP’s game.In his first two season of college ball Johnson attempted a total of 166 free throws. In his magical seniorish season at Cuse he added another 145 attempts.KCP attempted 81 free throws as a Freshman and then jumped that up to 169 free throw attempts last year.Breakdown – KCP as an actual sophomore was able to get to the free throw line more often than old man Johnson at Cuse despite having the majority of his attempts behind the arc.Johnson was a prototypical SF body who played PF in college a large amount and had no success outside of a team the ran a zone defense. He entered the NBA being asked to play SG (long way down from PF) on a team with horrid ball-handling.KCP is a prototypical SG body who played SG in college and will continue to play SG in the NBA.Breakdown – Johnson was twice damned in that he should have been making the transition from PF to SF (which is a big enough challenge) and was instead placed in a SG role which he did not have the pre-req skills to succeed in. KCP won’t be changing position.Johnson’s usage rate at Cuse was 22.1%. KCP usage rate as a frosh was 24.7% and last year climbed to 29.2%Breakdown – who’s going to disappear?In his first two years of college basketball Johnson recorded a total of 48 steals. In the zone at Cuse he added another 58.KCP recorded 58 steals as a freshman and added another 65 this year.Breakdown – Johnson was horrid at taking the ball away until he ended up a 4th year Junior on an elite team playing the zone. Only at that time did he approach an 18 going on 19 year old KCP as a ball thief.Johnson blocks shots, KCP doesn’t.Breakdown – This is a real skill that Johnson has. You want it in a SF prospect. He’s still not bad at it in the NBA. KCP won’t be blocking shots in the NBA.Johnson had a mediocre freshman year, regressed badly as a Sophomore, took a year off and then had success as a 4th year Junior.KCP had a mediocre freshman year and then approved almost across the board to have success that on an individual level rivals Johnson’s Cuse year.Breakdown – I have a lot more faith in young players that get better while taking on an increased usage rate than I do in old players who make the jump after a red shirt season (my personal Olynyk red flag).Final take away…Johnson isn’t working out and KCP might not either, but it’s a huge stretch to worry about KCP mirroring Johnson just because both need a 3 point shot to be successful NBA starters. Johnson joined a team with a horrid coach, a horrid roster, played out of position and had red flags concerning age and multiple years of bad college play. KCP is a different player. He might not be the one for the Wolves, but he’s not a Johnson clone at all."

Thank you, Airete, at canishoopus.