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Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 20th, 2016 @ 5:00pm
“Space Jam” is a cult classic for any basketball lover, particularly those under the age of 35, so when news came out a while back that “Space Jam 2” is in the works, a lot of people were really, really happy.
Except for Patrick Patterson. The former Cat and current Toronto Raptor penned a piece for The Players’ Tribune begging Hollywood not to do the sequel. Patterson, a self-professed movie buff who admits he has a Looney Tunes painting hanging proudly in his home, argues that the original “Space Jam” was so great a sequel would just tarnish it.
I’m a huge movie fan. Movies are a big part of my life. This summer I even had the opportunity to help cover the Toronto International Film Festival for the CBC. So please know that I don’t say this lightly: The original Space Jam is the perfect movie. The. Perfect. Movie.
It is a cinematic experience.
And that’s why, for the sake of preserving its greatness, we must never try to improve upon it.
To make a sequel to Space Jam would be like trying to paint the Mona Lisa again. Sure, you can probably do it, but why the hell would you want to?
Patrick’s reasoning is kind of sound and definitely hilarious. Click below to head over to The Players’ Tribune to read it for yourself.
And then take a trip back to your childhood and watch the original “Space Jam” trailer below:
Last night, six of the 26 Wildcats in the NBA were in action, headlined by Karl Towns, who had a monster night in the Timberwolves’ win over Andrew Harrison and the Grizzlies. Let’s break it down in today’s BBNBA Roundup.
Karl Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves: 31 points (7-10), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 24 minutes
Karl had by far his best game of the preseason, although Karl being Karl, I’m sure he’ll still find something to nitpick. Check out his highlights courtesy of the NBA:
— NBA (@NBA) October 20, 2016
Earlier this week, 48.3% of NBA GMs picked Karl as the player they’d pick to build their team around, and performances like that are why. These two paragraphs from SB Nation’s Paul Flannery perfectly sum Karl up:
If you were constructing the ideal personification of a franchise player, it would look a lot like Karl-Anthony Towns. He has the long, sleek build, the easy athletic grace, and the skills to transcend the game. At this moment, he is perfect. Towns had a remarkable rookie season that was even better in hindsight because it left observers wanting more.
Personable and engaging off the court and abundantly talented on it, Towns is the Next Big Thing and everyone knows it. He is so disarmingly charming that one can’t help but wonder if it’s real. Friends, teammates, and coaches all testify to his validity.
I know you’re nodding your head right now, so click here to read the rest.
Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies: 10 points (2-6), 1 rebound, 2 steals, 23 minutes
Andrew actually started for the Grizzlies last night and put up ten points and two steals. He’s now battling with Wade Baldwin for backup point guard in Memphis.
Trey Lyles, Utah Jazz: 11 points (4-9), 8 rebounds, 22 minutes
Patrick Patterson, Toronto Raptors: 3 points (1-5), 2 assists, 20 minutes
James Young, Boston Celtics: 8 points (3-8), 7 rebounds, 26 minutes
Young had some nice highlights, including this floater:
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 20, 2016
And this drive:
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 20, 2016
Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers: 12 points (6-13), 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 23 minutes
The Lakers lost to the Warriors, but Randle got the best of Kevin Durant on this play:
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 20, 2016
- 7:00 PM: Pelicans (Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones) at Magic
- 7:00 PM: Heat at Hornets (MKG)
Archie Goodwin may take Charlie Barkley’s crown for worst golf swing.
The Phoenix Suns recently took a trip out to the Top Golf driving range and Archie stole the show with his unconventional and unsuccessful technique in striking the ball.
In fact, the Suns made an entire video about it, complete with interviews with Archie’s teammates breaking down the swing, including analysis from Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker.
The team took their "talents" to the driving range Saturday afternoon. Hilarity ensued. ⛳️ 🏌 pic.twitter.com/OYQ4KQoek6
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) October 19, 2016
Archie, however, believes he is “ahead of the curve,” as he put it, and he is considering a run at the PGA’s Phoenix Open.
I think he better stick to basketball.
By Drew Franklin on ©October 18th, 2016 @ 12:00pm
The NBA released its annual general manager survey today and the results to many of the 48 questions favor some of the former Wildcats in the league.
Most notably, in a question to all 30 GMs asking which player they would sign first to start a new franchise today, 48.3 percent said they would pick Karl-Anthony Towns.
Kevin Durant was second with 20 percent of the vote, followed by LeBron James in third. In last year’s survey, Anthony Davis won in a landslide with 80 percent of GMs saying they would pick him to start a franchise.
Then in a question asking which player will have a breakout season in 2016-17, 31 percent of respondents said Devin Booker, ahead of Karl-Anthony Towns’ 13.8 percent.
Other Cat-related appearances in the survey:
— Anthony Davis voted best power forward in the league.
— DeMarcus Cousins voted second best center in the league; Davis named third-best center; and Towns voted fifth.
— Skal Labissiere tied for fifth biggest steal in the draft.
— John Wall voted second fastest player with the ball.
See all the questions/results here.
Tayshaun Prince appeared in six straight Eastern Conference finals, won an NBA Title and a Gold Medal, yet at 36-years old, he’s not ready to end his 14-year career. Currently without a team, the former Wildcat is playing the waiting game while teams finalize their rosters.
“The hardest part about the wait is that there are a lot of teams out there that know what I bring to the game,” Prince said. “I know I have good leadership, and they know I’m a great locker room guy. Obviously, some of the assistant coaches that you’ve played for are dispersed around the league. A lot of them are accustomed to what I do and what I bring to teams …
“Now is the time where teams are checking out their roster with 18 or 19 guys. They are trying to see if some of these guys can make the roster. After all that settles, I hope to hopefully hear something.”
Living life in limbo without a team has not been easy. Prince has found support from a group chat with his former Pistons teammates — Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups. The last one still in the NBA, Billups believes it’s not Tayshaun’s time to go.
“He’s a veteran that has won a championship, great in the locker room with young guys and, more importantly, can still get on the floor and give you meaningful minutes, similar to what Richard Jefferson did last season with Cleveland.”
If he can find a contender, I’m sure he can still pull out some playoff magic (sorry, Drew).
There are bad, embarrassing plays, and then there’s this breakaway from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. It could’ve ended in a dunk or a miss, but this is even worse.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist might just need to go play in China… pic.twitter.com/pRrL0pdQxO
— LightskinJimmyButler (@Terence_Huie) October 18, 2016
Tonight, we’ll all have nightmares of Robin Lopez. #PrayforMKG
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 17th, 2016 @ 4:58pm
Generally, Craigslist job listings include crappy telemarketing gigs, photo shoot calls, or part-time sign-spinning positions, but not today. This morning, Anthony Davis — you know, the NBA All-Star — put an ad for a personal assistant on New Orleans’ Craigslist site.
In the listing, Anthony says he’s looking for someone to help him out so he can focus on the season. Job duties include dry cleaning runs, meeting with fans and doing media interviews, and the ability to move around town and keep a low-profile. Anthony would prefer that his applicants be 6’5″ or taller and good dressers. “Some ball skills” are preferred but not required, and, hilariously, a “unibrow or heavy eyebrows” are a plus. “Please send photos,” Anthony asks.
Check it out for yourself:
When I first saw the listing, I thought it was a joke, and then I saw the link on Anthony’s official Facebook page:
To apply, click here.
I’m not pushing my coworker out the door by any means, but it sounds like Anthony’s describing Drew Franklin.
Even though the Facebook post made the ad look legit, Anthony Davis’ mom talked to Jennifer Palumbo to set things straight.
I just talked to Anthony Davis' mom. She says @AntDavis23 is NOT looking for an assistant and did not post the ad. She calls it "craziness."
— Jennifer Palumbo (@JenNimePalumbo) October 17, 2016
Some unfortunate news from the NBA: former Cat Alex Poythress was waived by the Indiana Pacers today. After signing a free-agent deal with the Pacers back in August, unfortunately, Alex didn’t make a big enough impression to stay on the roster after training camp, playing in two preseason games and scoring only one point.
UPDATE: Not so fast! According to Scott Agness, Alex is expected to play for the Pacers’ D-League team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants:
Pacers have waived Alex Poythress and Nick Zeisloft ahead of their final preseason game on Wednesday.
Both are expected in Ft. Wayne.
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) October 17, 2016
By Kelsey Mattingly on ©October 16th, 2016 @ 3:00pm
We had in depth coverage from the Kings vs. Wizards and Heat vs. Timberwolves games in Kentucky yesterday, but there were other UK guys in action as well. The Phoenix Suns, home of our favorite duo Devin Booker (out with an injury) and Tyler Ulis in addition to starters Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe, had their third preseason win against the Dallas Mavericks, 112-107.
The guard and former Kentucky star was not originally part of the lineup due to knee tendinitis but he proved ready to play and scored 11 points, had four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Arguably one of the biggest key players offensively in the Sun’s close win was Eric Bledsoe. Scoring 17 points, Bledsoe also created plays for his teammates ending with a game-high seven assists.
“Just trying to get a rhythm,” Bledsoe said. “That’s the biggest thing. We’re going to need me and everybody to play at the level we need to win… It was a great team victory.”
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) October 15, 2016
This half of the Wildcat Duo stepped up his game and was one of seven Suns players who scored in double digits. The guard finished with 14 points to contribute to his team’s win.
“It’s big,” Bledsoe said of the win without some key players. “Everybody is getting comfortable. It’s going to be like that. Last year we had a lot of injuries, but we just have to find a way. We did that tonight.”
Congratulations to Bledsoe and the rest of the former Cats on their victory with the Suns!
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 16th, 2016 @ 9:00am
Karl Towns wasn’t able to go to Big Blue Madness (for the reason why, click here), but he did get the chance to see the team play this summer, and even though it was very early on, came away impressed.
“You know what, this summer I did [get to see them play]. I had a chance to watch them a bit. I think they’re going to be very good,” Karl said. “Just the talent level they have, it’s something that’s scary because sometimes, I’m watching them play and I’m watching them work out and everything, and it’s almost reminiscent of our team.”
If I remember correctly, Karl’s team was pretty good, so that is a bold statement.
One of the big pieces in the post this year will be Bam Adebayo, and when asked about Bam, Karl teased that he doesn’t call the freshman by his name, he calls him by the name of the player to whom many are comparing him.
“I don’t call him by that. I call him Dwight Howard,” Karl joked.
When I pointed out that Bam doesn’t like Dwight Howard comparisons, Karl quipped, “I know he don’t, that’s why I call him that.”
Jokes aside, Karl said Bam is similar to Howard in size, but has something the NBA All-Star doesn’t: midrange game.
“He’s going to be a heck of a player. We always say in comparison to Dwight Howard because of his size and his shoulders, but he has a midrange shot that Dwight doesn’t have and I think that’s really going to help out. He’s a tremendous athlete, a great body, and I see nothing but great things for him, especially at Kentucky.”
Strong words from the Rookie of the Year, who had 16 points and 14 rebounds in 28 minutes last night, but in classic Karl style, is still his own worst critic.
“Well, 5-12 [shooting], that’s not the best, have to pick that up. Four turnovers, that’s really not good. Zero assists to go with four turnovers, so that’s pretty bad. Fourteen rebounds but five offensive, that’s solid, I like that. It’s gotta be a team effort. Biggest stat that matters as a team is that we won.”
Karl even looked upset with himself as he went to the bench at the end of the third quarter:
Karl Towns takes a seat at the end of the 3rd quarter with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Of course he’s disappointed it’s not more. pic.twitter.com/aTtIm30KyL
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) October 16, 2016
Never change, Karl. Ever.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 15th, 2016 @ 11:00pm
Karl Towns met with the media following his 16-point, 14-rebound performance in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 101-96 win over the Miami Heat, and, to no one’s surprise, came out wearing a Kentucky Basketball t-shirt. Karl was noticeably absent at Friday night’s Big Blue Madness, and when I asked Karl why he wasn’t there, he said he sacrificed going to Lexington to support his teammate Gorgui Dieng, who was honored at Louisville’s football game vs. Duke the same night.
“We had to support G [Gorgui Dieng]. G got a good ovation at a Louisville game. As much as I love BBM and I wanted to go to BBM, me and Cal talked a lot about it and team comes first. When you’re a leader you have to make sacrifices, and I was willing to do that for my team.”
When asked, Karl said being at the Louisville game was “definitely different,” but admitted he really admires Lamar Jackson. (Same)
“Funny enough, I think of Lamar Jackson a lot. I think he’s a great player, I’ve watched him all season, I’ve actually rooted for him, too. One thing about us, Lexington and Louisville, we may be bitter rivals, but when it comes to winning, if we’re not going to win, at least someone else can.”
There were plenty of Kentucky AND Louisville fans in the stands tonight, and Karl said he made a bet with his teammates that he would be booed during introductions. Of course, he wasn’t.
“I didn’t expect to get cheered for in the beginning, either. We had money that I was going to get booed, so that didn’t go well for me,” Karl said. “It was a lot of fun. It means a lot for people to come out and cheer for me, especially in Louisville. It just means a lot. I’m thankful for not only all the fans in BBN, obviously the family I have there, but for everyone in Louisville for showing respect and just courtesy.”
What was the bet?
“It was something small,” Karl said. “It was like a quarter.”
Of course it was. Check out Karl’s full interview below. Spoiler: it will make you miss him, a lot.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 15th, 2016 @ 10:55pm
After finishing with 12 points, five rebounds, and four steals in the 124-119 win over Washington, Willie Cauley-Stein touched on what it’s like to be part of the Big Blue Nation, the impact Calipari is making on the entire college basketball world, and his return to Lexington.
Check out some post-game footage and quotes:
Willie first dove into his quote from Big Blue Madness last night, where he said “if you come to Kentucky, you’re going to be a pro.“:
Willie on his “if you come to Kentucky you’re going to be a pro” quote: pic.twitter.com/XYucD5E2t5
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) October 16, 2016
On wanting to be “part of history” at UK, joining a long list of former Cats to make it to the NBA:
Cauley-Stein on all the NBA players coming through UK: pic.twitter.com/hWPeruGeHy
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) October 16, 2016
When asked about those comparing the 2016-17 Kentucky Wildcats to his 38-1 Final Four team, he says if they want to come close, they have to have a similar family relationship among teammates:
WCS on 2017 team’s similarities to 38-1 team: pic.twitter.com/42bZmspQmD
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) October 16, 2016
On Skal’s progress with the Kings, along with his relationship with DeMarcus Cousins:
“I think (Skal’s) coming along good. It’s a rookie grind. It’s tough to establish yourself young, but he’s doing that. It’s nice to have him join DeMarcus and I. When I got here, it was with Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus, and with him this year, it’s me and DeMarcus, so it’s great to bring that Kentucky feel. I feel that DeMarcus really helped my adjustment in my rookie year, and I think I can do that with Skal this year.”
On not understanding Calipari’s methods when he first got to UK:
“When I got here, Cal made us sleep over at his house, constantly spend time with our teammates, and I didn’t understand why that was. It didn’t make any sense to me, especially when I had a tempur-pedic bed and my room 30 seconds away from the practice gym. But after we got so close, it started to all make sense to me, because we got so close to each other and our chemistry built like crazy. I didn’t understand why we did some of the things we did at the time at UK. Now, you see that it was all about the family.”
By Brett Bibbins on ©October 15th, 2016 @ 10:54pm
To cap off a homecoming weekend for many former UK players, tonight’s preseason NBA game between the Washington Wizards and the Sacramento Kings included four former Wildcats. None more important to John Calipari’s success at UK than John Wall. The player who made Kentucky Basketball exciting again.
Wall has been a huge advocator for this Kentucky program since he left for the NBA and the crowd’s reaction every time he scored tonight showed how much they appreciate him.
The Raleigh, North Carolina native finished with 11 points, 4 assists, and 4 steals in only 22 minutes of action tonight. Here are a few quotes from wall’s postgame interviews:
On what it is like to be back playing in front of the Big Blue Nation at Rupp Arena:
It was great. It was fun. It was an exciting game and my teammates had a great time.
On being back around the Kentucky program that was home to him for his one and only season playing college ball:
It brings back a lot of memories. It is an opportunity to see what you miss, how some things have changed. They’ve added new stuff to the locker room and to the court. It’s always great to be back.
When asked about why the Wizards were in the away locker room and the Kings got to use the home locker room:
They said because the Kings had booked this on the schedule, that’s why they got the home court advantage. That’s why I said next time we got to book it because I need to show them the experience over there. They don’t really get to see the real love over here. It’s alright, though.
One question was asked about what Coach Cal meant to Wall at the time in his life when he didn’t have much of a male role model in his life:
In high school, it was really just my mom. I had coaches and mentors that tried to help me, but at the same time, I was just free. I was doing whatever I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to. Here, he put that stomping ground down, like this is how it is going to be.
Following up on that, he said the reason he committed to UK, was the way Coach Cal talked about things other than basketball during his recruiting pitch:
That was the perfect thing about when he came on his visit, he never preached about basketball. He just talked about life and that’s the reason why I chose here.
When asked about if he had any advice for a rookie like Skal Labissiere who went to the same school as him, but is playing for another team:
Just be one of the first guys there, be one of the last guys there. Listen to whatever the coaches and vets are telling you. Put in a lot of hard work and try to study the game as much as possible. He has a lot of great players in his position that can help him and talk to him. I think they did a great job of adding some veteran guys that have been through this, played different positions and got traded, and played big minutes on certain teams.
Take a look at Wall’s complete interview after the game:
By Brett Bibbins on ©October 15th, 2016 @ 9:28pm
Final score from Rupp Arena is Sacramento Kings 124, Washington Wizards 119.
DeMarcus Cousins had the biggest game of all the former Cats, finishing with 22 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds in 26 minutes. Spoiler alert: he’s really, really good.
Willie Cauley-Stein scored 12 points on 5 of 6 shooting, pulled down 5 boards, and had 4 steals as well.
Skal Labissiere clearly struggled in this one. After playing only 4 minutes in the first half, his playing time got a noticeable increase in the second half. He finished with 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and an assist. The rookie failed to attempt a shot in front of the Kentucky crowd.
For the Wizards, John Wall didn’t play for the entire fourth quarter, but still managed to finish with 11 points, 4 assists, and 4 steals.
We’ll have post-game comments from the players in just a little bit. Stay tuned on Twitter to @BrettBibbinsKSR and @JackPilgrimKSR.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 15th, 2016 @ 8:15pm
We’ve just reached halftime here at Rupp Arena for the NBA Preseason game featuring the Sacramento Kings and the Washington Wizards, where four former Cats are squaring off in front of the Big Blue Nation.
Here are your halftime stats:
Nine points (4/6), one rebound, three assists, and two steals.
16 points (6/10, 1/2 from behind the arc), two rebounds, three assists, one steal
10 points (4/4), three rebounds, one assist, three steals.
Zero points, one assist, one block
We’ll have more stats, along with videos and quotes from the players following the game.