After two poor shooting performances, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the team’s No. 1 draft choice two weeks ago, finally started putting the ball in the basket Tuesday in the Orlando Summer League with 19 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 79-75 loss. He was 4-of-10 in three-point shots and netted 11 quick points to give his team a double digit lead from a halftime tie.
It was a far cry from Caldwell-Pope’s first two games in which he shot a combined 1-of-14 from the three-point area. That’s hardly the way to make an NBA debut, even if it is Summer League.
It certainly wasn’t the Caldwell-Pope from Georgia who could never miss in his college days. But this is the NBA level now.
The pressure definitely showed, but Caldwell-Pope was encouraged by the way he responded on Tuesday. He got the encouragement he needed from the coaching staff and teammates. They advise Caldwell-Pope to keep shooting the way the offense was designed and things would fall. They did.
Summer League basketball is obviously designed for rookies to get their feet wet and feel comfortable at this level. The college to NBA transition is never easy and has to come with its ups and downs.
Caldwell-Pope was drafted to make shots, however, he’s going to have to learn in a hurry how to score at this level.
At the same time, he has to keep learning and be patient. Sometimes, it’s not that easy. Caldwell-Pope will find that out.