Kentavious Caldwell-Pope one of Los Angeles Lakers' most consistent players in bubble, says Caron Butler

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will have an important role to play as the Los Angeles Lakers look to close out the NBA Finals series against the Miami Heat, believes Caron Butler.

The 27-year-old came up with two of the most important plays of the season for the Lakers in Game Four as he fired a three-pointer in front of the Heat bench with his team up by two with three minutes to play, before then providing a lay-up as the shot clock expired.

He finished with 15 points, five assists and three rebounds in 32 minutes as valuable support to LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the 102-96 win having come in for criticism for his production in recent seasons since signing in 2017.

“He was a young fellow in Detroit,” said 2011 NBA Champion Butler on GameTime. “Fast forward to where he is today playing with the Los Angeles Lakers, watching him in the offseason every morning showing up to the lab at 5:30, 6am and getting that work and sweat equity in and finally it all paying off.

“Then he hit a rough spot, wasn’t making shots and he reached out in the course of the season when people was talking about ‘should we take him out the line-up? Should he be playing?’. There were even a lot of conversations about trading this guy.


“He has been I feel like one of the most consistent pieces when you talk about others inside this bubble for the Lakers.”

James led the way with 28 points, eight assists and 12 rebounds, while Davis had 22 points, four assists and nine rebounds in Game Four to leave the Lakers on the brink of another NBA title.

While their dynamic duo have flourished, there has been an onus on the Lakers’ role players to share the workload, a challenge the likes of Caldwell-Pope and Rajon Rondo have lived up to.

Butler added: “He (KCP) said ‘you know what? I’m going to make it work and I will show up on the biggest stage’. Just to see him making those shots, I just want to give full colour to what we’re witnessing.

“Somebody that is determined, imposing his will on the situation and ready for his moment and I think that one win away, he’s going to be a huge piece and contribute to getting them over the hump.”

Besides being tasked with containing Duncan Robinson, Caldwell-Pope finished six of 12 from the field and three of eight from three-point range.

He now has 44 points through the opening four games and has 236 in total since the league’s resumption.

“KCP came to play and understood the opportunity,” added former Orlando Magic forward Dennis Scott. “I just say to myself, when is this young man going to figure out that you’re playing with the greatest player who wants to share?

“So you have to come with the mindset of being aggressive in my role. People will be saying, what does the role mean? It means a lot of different things. LeBron James’ role is to be the superstar, it’s your role to be prepared to knock down open shots when he shares the basketball.

“It’s a given, he will share. He was ready to go, ready to shoot the ball, his presence was felt. Can you continue to do that to close out this series for the Lakers?”

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