In Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Wizards not only traded for an experienced wing who can help their three-point shooting and defense, they traded for one of star guard Bradley Beal's best friends.
Caldwell-Pope and Beal go all the way back to when they were 15 years old and rising through the ranks of the AAU system. They were then on the same team as McDonald's All-Americans and both were selected to the Jordan Brand Classic as high school standouts. And they have remained very close throughout their time in the NBA after the two of them were first-round draft picks.
"Me and Brad, he’s one of my close friends, my best friend," Caldwell-Pople said. "We’ve known each other since we were 15, so that relationship is already there. It’s going to be fun just to play with a friend and also just be living in D.C. where he’s at."
Caldwell-Pope and Beal should be able to help each other on the court. Caldwell-Pope can help stretch the floor as a guy who shot 41.0% from three last season, and Beal could use more room to operate. He can also help Beal lock down the perimeter, which is an area the Wizards need to improve defensively.
The two longtime friends have been talking a lot since Caldwell-Pope arrived in a draft day trade from the Lakers.
"We’ve talked pretty much every day since then, since the trade happened. He’s excited, I’m excited. We’re both on the same page that we think we can make something happen this year with the team that we have. We’ve got a lot of guys that’s dog, that’s going to get after it, that’s going to compete," Caldwell-Pope said.
We know Beal will be the Wizards' starting shooting guard next season, but as far as Caldwell-Pope's role, it's unclear at this point given the team's newfound depth at the wing. He could start at the three, or possibly be a backup behind Beal at the two and Kyle Kuzma or Deni Avdija at the three.
Either way, Beal and Caldwell-Pope will likely see some time on the floor together. Their close friendship should make the transition to become teammates seamless.
"There will be fast chemistry," Caldwell-Pope said.