KEY POINTS

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was asked to step up in scoring by Frank Vogel
  • He and Andre Drummond could help keep the Lakers' campaign afloat with Anthony Davis and LeBron James still out
  • Caldwell-Pope could fend off NBA trade rumors if he steps up for the Lakers the rest of the way

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a player who could step up and help the Los Angeles Lakers' campaign as their top stars remain out of action. KCP’s name has been frequently mentioned in the NBA trade rumor mill, but those who know him well are aware he can step up when needed.

Most will remember the role that the 28-year-old player had in their last campaign, but being on a team that has names like LeBron James and Anthony Davis would leave most overshadowed. With the two still out of commission, the time for him to step has come. And it appears the one-time NBA champion is ready for the challenge of helping boost the Lakers’ chances of achieving back-to-back NBA titles.

Head coach Frank Vogel said he has asked KCP to score more, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I actually literally asked him to score 25 tonight. Until that last three, he had exactly 25 points and ended up with 28. We want him to be that aggressive and again, this could be one of those silver lining things where we get more out of him offensively when those guys come back, when he gets in this kind of rhythm,” Vogel said.

Caldwell-Pope is up for the challenge but knows he needs to maintain that level of play on both ends of the floor. Averaging only 8.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists this season, the 8th overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft knows he needs to pick up the slack.

“Just staying aggressive, hunting shots,” Caldwell-Pope said. “And playing defense like I always do, just to get my motor going, get out in transition where I’m best at, get some easy layups. Maybe transition threes here and there. But just playing my game and being aggressive with it.”

Together with Andre Drummond, their connection could breathe some life into the Lakers’ campaign. Both were teammates for four years with the Detroit Pistons, and their teamwork could be something the purple and gold can use while buying James and Davis time.

Caldwell-Pope did that when they lost against the Miami Heat, recording 28 points, four rebounds and an assist. He somehow cooled down against the Brooklyn Nets, but there were notable names who stepped up. Hence, it all boils down to consistency, at least for a couple of more weeks.

LeBron James Kentavious Caldwell-Pope LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers makes his home debut against the Houston Rockets as he talks with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 at Staples Center on October 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images