The Los Angeles Lakers will play the Memphis Grizzlies for the second time in three days on Tuesday, and whether or not Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be available for the game is still unknown.
Caldwell-Pope, who suffered an ankle injury against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, practiced with the Lakers on Monday, and while he feels good enough to play on Tuesday, he doesn’t feel any pressure to make a quick return because of how deep his team is.
“I feel like our bench is deep enough for me to take my time coming back,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I know we’re also missing AC (Alex Caruso), which he’ll be back pretty soon, but we’ve just got a group of guys who had this concept last year, the next man up mentality, and we still have that mentality here. I feel like just taking my time and making sure I’m 100% (is important).”
If he didn’t feel that way before he got injured, it’s obvious to see why he does now.
In the Lakers’ first game against the Grizzlies on Sunday, they had six players finish the night in double figures, including two players that came off of the bench, Montrezl Harrell and Wesley Matthews. Additionally, everyone that played more than two minutes posted a positive plus-minus. The three players that didn’t — Alfonzo McKinnie, Quinn Cook and Jared Dudley — all only played in garbage time.
Granted, all of this came against a hobbled Grizzlies team, but when you look at the Lakers’ roster, their depth speaks for itself so it’s not totally unrealistic to assume they could survive a few more games without KCP, who, to be clear, has been tremendous to start the season. If he’s good to go, then that’s great. If he’s not, there’s really no need to have him out there.
We’ll see what he and the Lakers’ training staff decide on Tuesday. Tip-off is at 5 p.m. PT on Spectrum SportsNet locally, and NBA TV nationally.