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'Kid Can't Play' now Rising Star for NBA

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — They call him KCP — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

But KCP wasn't always a flattering name.

In his first season with the Pistons, the guard got off to a rocky start, and KCP stood for Kid Can't Play.

There has been, however, steady improvement. And while he's not quite a go-to guy for coach Stan Van Gundy, Caldwell-Pope's play has been noticed as he earned a spot on the United States roster for tonight's Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star weekend.

For Caldwell-Pope, it's a weekend he'll enjoy off the court as well, with several family members planning to fly to Brooklyn, New York, from Georgia for the game.

"I am looking forward to it," Caldwell-Pope said. "It's a blessing to even play in that game."

Still, Caldwell-Pope remains a work in progress.

He was seen as a shooter when the Pistons drafted him eighth in 2013, bypassing local favorite Trey Burke. And every time Caldwell-Pope struggled with shooting, fans screamed for Burke.

Not anymore.

Last season, Caldwell-Pope averaged 5.9 points and shot 39.6 percent. While his shooting percentage has remained the same this season, he has boosted his 3-point percentage from 31.9 to 34.6. And he's averaging 11.9 points.

"I am getting better each and every day," he said. "I am still learning the game as I go. I still have to get better."