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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Sets High Defensive Bar for Himself

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Nuggets Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on LeBron James, Nikola Jokic comparison - Bron can jump higher

By now, it is no secret that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (KCP) is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. Not to mention, he is one of the most important role players to the Denver Nuggets. For years now, KCP has been making his presence felt as a solid two-way player. This season has been no exception. The veteran shooting guard has lofty goals for himself this year and had this to say about his defense after harassing Stephen Curry in a win against the Golden State Warriors:

“I got one goal, man, either Defensive Player of the Year or first-team. I’m going to continue to push that envelope.”

The Nuggets won the game by a final score of 108-105. However, Caldwell-Pope did an outstanding job as helped hold Curry to six of 17 shooting in the victory.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Ready to Make All-Defensive Team or Win Defensive Player of the Year 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s Defensive Impact 

KCP is off to a hot start defensively to start the year. An All-Defensive Team appearance does not seem too far-fetched. The Nuggets’ defensive ace is currently seventh in the league in steals per game at 1.9 per contest and is not afraid of taking on the opposition’s best perimeter player night in and night out. He has allowed only one player to score at least 10 points as the primary defensive assignment this year, that player being Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Some notable names KCP has held to less than 10 points while matched up with them include Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, and Brandon Ingram to name just a few NBA stars. As if that was not impressive enough, the advanced analytics will show just how valuable of a defender he has been this season. Caldwell-Pope currently has a defensive rating of 109 to go along with a defensive box plus/minus rating of +1.2. Denver currently holds the best record in the league and much of that success has to be attributed to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

The Unsung Hero of the Denver Nuggets

The two-time champion has been the perfect role player for the Nuggets. Not only did KCP bring championship experience over from the Los Angeles Lakers, he was the perfect player to help compliment Nikola Jokic on the perimeter. His skillset combined with his length often goes underappreciated by some peers. Caldwell-Pope can guard and switch onto some of the bigger perimeter players in the league. He is quick enough to keep up with smaller guards, but tall enough to contest shots from some of the top wings in today’s NBA. On top of this, KCP is the perfect three and D player for Denver’s offensive system.

So far this season, the six-foot-five shooting guard has stroked it from beyond the arc at a rate of 42.9 percent, a career-best in this category. Not to mention, he is currently perfect from the charity stripe this season, an area that the Nuggets as a whole have been struggling to begin their campaign as the defending champions. All in all, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the unsung hero of this Denver Nuggets squad and his defensive impact is a huge factor contributing to their 8-1 start to the season.