Philadelphia 76ers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a bad fit in Philly

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

While the Philadelphia 76ers could certainly use some help in the guard department, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is not a great fit in Philly.

Two summers ago, fans in Philadelphia pined after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Viewed by many as a 6-foot-5, 205 pounds two-way shooting guard, the player informally known as KCP looked like the perfect complement to the Philadelphia 76ers young core of Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and Ben Simmons, whenever he was actually healthy enough to see the court.

But then the team signed J.J. Redick and went on to have one of their best seasons of the century thus far.

More from Philadelphia 76ers

Well, that’s that, right? Well, maybe not, as according to rumors swelling around the internet, KCP may be on his way to a new team post the December 15th free agent trade restriction window.

According to reports, spread by everyone from NBC Sports Philadelphia, to ESPN, to everyone’s favorite rumor machine Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson the Los Angeles Lakers are in serious talks to acquire Trevor Ariza from the Phoenix Suns, but need a third team to make the move work, specifically one with either draft capital or a young player to get a deal done

With no true starting-caliber point guard on their worst-overall roster, many feel that Markelle Fultz‘s upside could be enough to make the deal work.

Now granted, I’m all for trading Markelle Fultz, as all parties involved could clearly use a change of scenery, but trading him for KCP straight up would be a serious mistake.

While adding KCP on the surface makes some sense, as the most casual basketball fan can clearly see the Sixers are in desperate need of additional shooters around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, even after the Jimmy Butler trade, when you take a deep dive into the stats, it’s clear that Caldwell-Pope could create more problems than he would solve.

Initially billed as a dead-eyed sharpshooter with 3-and-D upside, KCP has never completed more than 38 percent of his 3-point attempts in a season, and if things continue as they have so far this season, he could be on pace for his worst shooting season as a pro.

Over the first 28 games of the 2018-19 NBA season, Caldwell-Pope has only made 39 of his 115 3-point attempts from the court. If this trend continues, he will finish out the season 85-336 from downtown, marking the first time he’s failed to hit 100 or more tres since his rookie year.

Sure, this number could go up with greater usage, as KCP is averaging almost 13 fewer minutes a game this season than last, but if he can’t capitalize on LeBron James‘ passing prowess and hit at least 40 percent, what are the chances Simmons will be able to unlock his potential?

Furthermore, to be a true 3-and-D wing, a player kind of has to play defense, and so far this season, KCP has been among the worst defensive shooting guards in the NBA.

According to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus, KCP has a defensive rating of -1.62, the 89th best mark of any player at his position. While the number is higher than J.J. Redick’s -1.96 DRPM, KCP’s overall RPM is a full two points lower (.45 vs. -1.55) a very bad sign for a player who’s struggling to get things done on the offensive end of the court.

Really, the only real upgrade KCP brings to the table over Redick at this point is his speed, as he’s a pretty spectacular athlete.

But to be fair, the team already has plenty of fast Redick-clones on the bench capable of flying down the court, parking on the wings, and patiently waiting for an outlet pass from Simmons in Furkan Korkmaz, Landry Shamet, and ‘The Shakeman’ Shake Milton. While none of these players are as seasoned as KCP, they all bring secondary ball handling abilities; a facet that is noticeably absent from Caldwell-Pope’s game.

Next. Wilson Chandler is not a great fit in the starting five. dark

So really, the question shouldn’t be why should the Philadelphia 76ers make a trade for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope; but why on earth would the Philadelphia 76ers trade their biggest chip for a player who can hardly shoot, can’t handle the ball well, and isn’t worth a lick on the defensive end of the court. Shouldn’t upgrading the team actually upgrade the team?