Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 27th, 2019 @ 3:40pm
Former Kentucky point guard Andrew Harrison has found a new home.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 24-year-old point guard out of Houston, TX has agreed to a training camp deal with the Golden State Warriors.
There, he will join fellow Wildcat and former Kentucky teammate Willie Cauley-Stein.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 27, 2019
In three seasons in the NBA, Harrison has averaged 7.0 points, 2.8 assists, and 2.0 rebounds per game. After being selected No. 44 overall by the Memphis Grizzlies back in 2015 and spending two years with the franchise, the former Wildcat made stops in Cleveland and New Orleans this past season.
At Kentucky, Harrison led the Wildcats to the NCAA title game and the Final Four in back-to-back seasons. As the lead guard of the historic 38-1 team during the 2014-15 season, the 6-foot-6 playmaker averaged 9.3 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 27th, 2019 @ 11:00am
DeMarcus Cousins’ ex-girlfriend, Christy West, is alleging that the Los Angeles Lakers center threatened to shoot her last week, and she claims she has the audio to prove it.
In a recorded phone call from August 23 retrieved by TMZ, Cousins allegedly asks West if he can have his seven-year-old son with him at his wedding this weekend.
“I’m gonna ask you this one more time before I take it to another level,” the voice in the audio says. “Can I have my son here, please?”
Once West says no, the individual alleged to be Cousins responds by saying, “I’m gonna make sure I put a bullet in your f–king head.”
Here is the audio:
According to TMZ, West alleged in the court documents submitted to the Mobile Police Department in Mobile, Alabama that Cousins also told her that he was going to kill her, “even if he didn’t have to get his hands dirty doing it.”
West is reportedly seeking a restraining order against Cousins and wants officials to keep him away from her and their son — but notes that she’s open to allowing the current Los Angeles Laker to have supervised visitation.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 26th, 2019 @ 10:30am
It hasn’t been the easiest year for DeMarcus Cousins, but on Saturday, he married his longtime girlfriend Morgan Lang.
According to People.com, the ceremony took place at The St. Regis in Atlanta and included John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, who served as groomsmen. Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook, and Matt Barnes were also in attendance. Davis even caught the garter:
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Some more views of the festivities from Instagram:
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Thank you so much for exclusive @people Magazine ? Read all about the remarkable journey of Demarcus and Morgan here https://people.com/sports/demarcus-cousins-marries-morgan-lang/ ?? Thank you @boogiecousins and @mor_guhn for this Very Special Weekend ?? @lakers ————————————————————————Photo&Video @dmitry_shumanev Wedding Design and Planning @lilyvevents Wedding Venue @stregisatl Wedding custom gown @daughtersofnonyelum Groom’s attire @richfresh Bridal Makeup @fanciivy_mua Makeup for the day @itsjessmakeup Hair @touchedbytonieb Entertainment @treydanielsmusic DJ @frandalaybay ————————————————————————- #demarcuscousins #boogiecousins #lakernation #lakers #nbanews #destinationwedding #destinationweddingphotographer #destinationweddingvideographer #stregis #stregiswedding #stregisatlanta #celebritywedding #celebrityweddingphotographer #celebrityweddingvideographer #celebrityweddingphotography #nba #sports #sport #bball #ball
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Congratulations to our clients Mr and Mrs Demarcus Cousins #mrandmrsdmc of the NBA @lakers @boogiecousins and @mor_guhn We got the call right after our #lilyveventstakesatlanta LAUNCH PARTY which was hella DOPE! and the rest is history. Such an honor to plan and execute for the sweetest couple everrr and wishing them a wonderful blissful marriage ? Shout out to the vendors who came together literally to make this epicness happen in ATL yesterday. I love you all! And to team LilyVevents and the new team members who got up on their feet to join us yesterday ? working their absolute butts off THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! . . ?BOMB LIST? Wedding Planning and Coordination @lilyvevents Floral design, Decor and Rentals @lilyvevents Venue @stregisatl Bridal Makeup @fanciivy_mua Makeup for the day @itsjessmakeup Bridal Hair @touchedbytonieb Official Photography and Videography @dmitry_shumanev Bridal attire @daughtersofnonyelum Grooms outfit @richfresh Bridesmaids dresses @bridesbynona Brides second outfit @nicholelynel Stationery @bydamistudiosnyc Entertainment Band @treydanielsmusic Guest appearance entertainment @musicbykem Wedding Cake @juliemillercakedesign Photo booth @photo_booths_to_go Flooring and Lighting @lilyvevents Catering @stregisatl Dj : @frandalaybay Lilyvevents BTS team: @palmvisuals @wootenphotos @alakijastudios @tomilolaofbiggles Sparklers and dancing clouds @luxuryloungeatl Room draping @uniqueeventelements . . #nbawedding #atlantawedding #demarcuscousins #EditorsCircle #goplatinumlist #graceormonde #insideweddings #blackbride1998 #atlantaweddings #weddingdetails #bridalinspiration #goldwedding #floraldesign #philawedding #theknot #mdweddings #dmvweddings #thecoordinatedbride #njweddings #newyorkweddings #luxuryweddings #luxuryeventdesign #lilyvevents
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Boogie tore his ACL earlier this month and is still awaiting surgery, but was able to (gingerly) move around the dance floor with his lady:
Congrats, Boogie and Morgan!
By Zack Geoghegan on ©August 24th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
There reaches a point in every successful NBA players career where the game begins to “slow down” for them.
For Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, it took a rookie season filled with clanked jumpers and unforced turnovers to reach that point. Back in Nov. 2018, Dave Joerger, who was the coach of the Kings at the time, had this to say about Fox’s massive improvement in just one offseason, according to the Desert News:
“The game has slowed down for him.”
A simple, yet important sentiment.
You don’t even need to dissect the nuances of that phrase to understand what it means. Fox’s numbers skyrocketed from year one to year two in nearly every statistical category. He began to learn how to break down an NBA defense; how to use his speed to his advantage without blindly flying out of control. Repetition helped, as did a lenient coaching staff who were willing to let him take the reigns and learn on the fly.
It led to a disastrous first season, but a franchise-altering second one.
“One thing that I don’t think people really think about in development is a player’s comfort level,” Fox told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype back in May of 2018. “At the end of the year [the 2017-18 NBA season], I felt extremely comfortable with the ball in my hands and running the team. It was just a learning process.”
Heading into his third season with the Kings, Fox has changed everything about basketball in Sacramento. They aren’t a laughing stock anymore. They have a core worthy of paying attention to. Playoff hopes aren’t just a pipe dream anymore. And all it took was one offseason in the summer of 2018 to shift the tide of an entire franchise.
Which transitions us perfectly into what I would like to discuss.
Which former Wildcat could have his “De’Aaron Fox” breakout season in 2019-20? Well, I have plenty of candidates that I’m going to go over, with only a few who I believe can actually take a giant leap in production. So let’s start with the players less likely to have “Fox-like” breakout seasons, but should still improve overall in important ways. We’ll put them in “Tier 3”.
Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
- Devin Booker has long-been the Suns best player and top overall prospect. And until the franchise adds another superstar or goes back in time to draft Luka Doncic instead of Deandre Ayton, it’s going to stay that way. At only 22 years of age, Booker still has plenty to improve upon and I imagine he will. He’s become a much more efficient shooter at the rim despite being the team’s primary ball-handler. With the additions of players such as Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes, Dario Saric, Frank Kaminsky, and rookie Cameron Johnson, the need to push Booker to his limits won’t be as necessary. Bringing in Rubio might have been a bigger short-term deal than locking in Booker to that long-term extension. With a pass-first lead guard, Booker should be put in much more favorable positions that can build off his elite shooting. It’s hard to improve on 26.6 points per game on a 52.1 percent effective field goal percentage (as he posted in 2018-19), but he should have more space this season to at least give it a go. He’ll be ready for those double-teams, as well, don’t you worry about that.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder)
- This one is tricky because unlike Fox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a magnificent rookie season with the Los Angeles Clippers. After being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder as the key piece to the Paul George trade puzzle, SGA enters year two alongside veteran point guard Chris Paul (this is all very weird to type out. Three months ago this would have been NBA fan fiction). He’ll have expectations to improve, however, not necessarily make the playoffs. Playing next to Paul (for however long he’s on the roster) will surely benefit SGA’s develop and even if there is pressure to make the playoffs, we should see him continue his uphill improvement. Gilgeous-Alexander ran through a rookie wall briefly last year, but finished the regular season strong and going into the playoffs. His stats weren’t too flashy, though (10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game), which he should easily be able to improve on with added minutes and a solid roster around him. I wouldn’t expect a massive leap for SGA, but I’d be shocked if he isn’t noticeably better at the early stages of his sophomore campaign.
Kevin Knox (New York Knicks)
- A few months ago, Kevin Knox would have been in “Tier 2” or even “Tier 1” for this article. Now, however, after the New York Knicks went out and overcrowded the hell out of its frontcourt, I’m not sure how many minutes the team will be able – or willing – to spread out amongst them and Knox. The Knicks went out and signed FOUR power forwards this offseason on short-term deals: Bobby Portis, Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson, and former Wildcat Julius Randle. Knox regularly split time at the 3 and 4 positions as a rook (44 percent of his possessions were spent playing power forward, according to Basketball-Reference) playing nearly 30 minutes per game, but shot exactly 37 percent from the field all year. Knox finished the season strong – scoring double-figures in 13 of his last 16 outings – but never found a real rhythm throughout his rookie run. An early-season ankle injury surely affected that critical development period. Knox is now in a somewhat similar spot that Fox faced after his inaugural year. There were expectations coming in that Knox did not meet and now he has a fully healthy offseason under his belt. If he can manage to carve out enough playing time to make an impact, then he could very well have his own “Fox year”. But if he gets stuck behind the flooded bigs and hype of RJ Barrett, he might be in for another long season.
Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets)
- Jamal Murray is on the cusp of being a multiple-time NBA All-Star. He’s steadily improved over each of his first three seasons but didn’t quite meet the (admittedly lofty) expectations that were hoisted upon him to start last season. That isn’t to say he wasn’t stellar, because his 18.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.8 rebounds per game would prove otherwise. But there was hope from Nuggets fans that Murray might be the lead candidate for another run at Most Improved Player (he finished eighth in 2017-18). Even though that didn’t happen, Murray was the second-best player on a team that won 54 games last year. The Nuggets were one of the few teams at the top of the Western Conference that didn’t make a significant roster change this summer. A lot of that is due to the faith that the Denver organization has in Murray and his co-star Nikola Jokic. Consistency will be key for Murray in year four. Jokic will run the offense, but everything bounces off of Murray and his ability to space the floor and attract defenders away from the Serbian big man.
Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)
- Looking at Karl-Anthony Towns’ stat line from last season, it might almost seem unfair to ask that he produces at an even higher level, but the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves relies on it. After the Jimmy Butler trade, Towns posted 25.3 points and 12.7 rebounds while shooting nearly 53 percent from the field and just a hair under 40 percent from deep last season. Which, are like, INSANE numbers for a 23-year old seven-footer, even by the modern NBA’s standards. But his issues on defense are no secret. In fact, its been very well-documented and the one thing that has held critics back from proclaiming him as one of the top-big men in the entire world – which he already is. We won’t see massive improvements from Towns – mainly because there isn’t much more he can improve on in regards to his elite offensive skill set – but this is the year he needs to come out and dominate in all aspects of the game if he wants to contend for Most Valuable Player status.
Trey Lyles (San Antonio Spurs)
- The two players in “Tier 2” are about to enter “make-or-break” type seasons. Which is somewhat unfair considering Trey Lyles is only 23 and Malik Monk is 21, but that’s [insert cliche about how the world works]. Lyles got stuck behind an incredibly deep Nuggets rotation last season and now has a chance in San Antonio to showcase the promise he displayed in the 2017-18 season. He should find himself as one of the first few players off the bench for the Spurs, playing behind All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, especially early in the season. But Lyles needs a breakout season sooner rather than later. Entering his fifth year in the league, he’s never been able to command more than 20 minutes per game throughout an entire season. He signed a two-year, $11 million deal with S.A., but only his first year contains guranteed money. Basically, if Lyles doesn’t carve out a role in the rotation, he might be looking for work outside of the NBA in 2020-2021. The good news is we have evidence to support that Lyles can be a productive player. From Dec. of 2017 through Feb. of 2018, Lyles averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists for Denver while shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from deep while playing nearly 25 minutes per game. This was in the absence of Nuggets All-Star Paul Millsap, who was injured at the time. That’s my biggest reason for not putting much stock in Lyles shooting a mere 25.5 percent from deep last season. Bad shooting seasons happen, but they also can’t happen two seasons in a row. If the Spurs are known for anything, it’s taking mid-level players and turning them into multi-millionaires. Yes, some are a result of the Spurs “system”, but they have shown time and time again that they can take a good player and turn them into a great one. Lyles is going to have plenty of opportunities to show out in 2019-2020, and if he does, there might be some light talk of being in the running for MIP.
????????Trey Lyles?Andrew Wiggins?Seth Curry?Austin Rivers???Source?https://twitter.com/N_Magaro/status/1151613981204856837
Posted by ?????????? on Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Malik Monk (Charlotte Hornets)
- I’m still not quite sure what to make of Malik Monk as an NBA player just yet. Luckily, he’s only played two seasons and those have been as a member of horrendous rosters, but he isn’t receiving much help in that area going forward. Now that Kemba Walker is in Boston and Terry Rozier has shifted to Charlotte, the only position that the Hornets once had faith in is now a gigantic question mark. I’m not even sure Charlotte has an actual long term plan in place. 30-year old Nicolas Batum – somehow still a member of this team, highly overpaid, and a shell of himself at this point – could keep minutes away from Monk. But even if it wasn’t well-documented (because the Hornets never are), Monk did improve from year one to year two and there is reason for encouragement in some of the numbers, although he mainly went from “very bad” to just “not as bad”. The coaching staff will surely try to incorporate Monk into the offense as quickly and as often as possible. He had a couple of stretches last season that proved his worth, but the consistency was never there. I’m not sure being paired with a chucker like Rozier, who has been highly inefficient and turnover-prone, is what the Hornets should have moved toward. That Rubio fella now in Phoenix sure would have made some a bit more sense next to Monk and at a cheaper price point. There’s a good possibility Monk might be victimized by the situation that surrounds him rather than contributing to his own downfall. Anyone wanna start the #GetMonkOutOfCharlotte movement?
Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
- Now, let’s talk a bit about the player I am convinced will explode into the national media for the upcoming season: Bam Adebayo. With Hassan Whiteside out of the picture (traded to the Portland Trail Blazers this past offseason), Adebayo is now the face of the Miami Heat alongside the insatiable and controversial superstar Jimmy Butler. And even though Adebayo is only entering his third year at 22-years old, you won’t find a much more versatile defender among any position in the NBA. He can switch onto a speedy guard and stay in front of them just as easily as he can body a 250-pound bruiser in the paint. On offense, he made sizable leaps from year one to year two. He became a more efficient finisher at the rim, catapulted his jump shooting abilities, and beefed up so he could finish through all different kinds of contact. His defense is damn near elite already and his offense is steadily coming along. Adebayo will absolutely be in the hunt for Most Improved Player this season, and, dare I say, an All-Star bid? (okay I’ll calm down a bit) He should come out as the starting center for a team expected to make the playoffs. If he can cut down on the turnovers, his ceiling becomes so high I’m not sure it actually has a peak. If a big man like Adebayo can get the game to slow down for himself, imagine what his otherworldly athleticism will make him capable of.
Bam Adebayo: Future Star pic.twitter.com/ImhkJOeUVZ
— Mr. Clutch (@ClutchNBA_) August 6, 2019
Can we just start the season already?
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 24th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
Two former Kentucky fan-favorites competed against each other overseas this weekend.
According to Derek Willis’ wife, Keely, Reid Travis was Willis’ opponent in a game in Germany on Friday afternoon.
Hey BBN guess who plays each other today?
Reid Travis and Derek Willis ??
I’ll be sure to take some photos so you can see the UK boys in action
— k e e l y (@keelyrwillis) August 23, 2019
While there is no information on how the former Wildcats played in their matchup (the game wasn’t listed on either team’s website, as their Basketball Bundesliga League doesn’t officially begin until September), the two took a picture (shown above) together afterward.
Back in July, Willis signed a two-year deal with Ratiopharm Ulm of Ulm Germany, while Travis signed a contract with Medi Bayreuth of Bayreuth, Bavaria around the same time. Both teams play in the Basketball Bundesliga League (BBL), meaning they will be regular opponents this fall.
Willis played in the Summer League for the Phoenix Suns, where he averaged 6.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest. The former Wildcat has been in Germany the last few years with his sights set on making a return to the NBA.
Meanwhile, Travis’ overseas career is just beginning, though he recently said in a media opportunity in Lexington that the plan was for him to stay in Germany for just one season before returning to the states to play in the NBA next year.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 24th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
Former Kentucky center Dakari Johnson is an NBL Finals champion and MVP.
On Friday, Johnson’s Anuyi Wenyi squad took home a 112-87 victory over Guangxi Weizhuang to finish off an NBL Finals sweep.
Following a 20-point, 15-rebound performance, the former Wildcat took home NBL Finals MVP honors. He averaged 25.3 points (64.1% shooting), 15.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks in the four-game sweep.
During the regular season, the 7-foot center averaged 25.9 points, 15.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 0.9 blocks per contest.
After the big series victory and Finals MVP award, Kentucky head coach John Calipari reached out on Twitter to show support of his former center, also adding that Johnson is in the process of earning his degree.
“Congratulations to [Dakari Johnson] on winning a championship and the MVP of the finals in China!” Calipari said. “Dakari is a battler who always gives it everything he has. And he’s getting close to earning his degree too!”
“Thanks coach, appreciate you,” Johnson responded. “Few more classes.”
Congratulations to Dakari on the major achievement.
By Nick Roush on ©August 23rd, 2019 @ 4:00pm
Sacramento police responded to a 9-1-1 call early Friday morning from a home previously occupied by Willie Cauley-Stein.
When police arrived on the scene, three men had suffered gunshot wounds. One was taken to the hospital in critical condition with life-threatening injuries. Cauley-Stein, now a Golden State Warrior, was not on the premises at the time of the crime.
The three victims were roommates with the alleged shooter, 25-year-old Trey Devaughn Hallman. He remains armed and at-large.
Luckily, the Warriors confirmed the former Cat was nowhere near his old home in Sacramento Friday morning. His agent informed ABC-10 that Cauley-Stein previously rented the home more than a year ago.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 23rd, 2019 @ 11:00am
Faced with countless adversities and legal issues over the last few years, former Kentucky center Enes Kanter is ready to cut all personal ties with his home country of Turkey. In fact, the 27-year-old Boston Celtic says he is now just two years away from becoming an American citizen.
In an interview with TMZ Sports, Kanter was asked about his criticism of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan – the former Wildcat once called him “the Hitler of our century” – and the work he is doing to spread awareness to the ongoing human rights issues in Turkey.
“It’s definitely tough to fight against a dictator, but I definitely have hope,” he said. “I’m trying to be the voice of hopeless, innocent people who don’t have one. It’s definitely important to create awareness about equal rights, democracy, and their freedoms.”
In terms of what he’s doing in an attempt to fix the problem, Kanter said that he has been meeting up with government officials to work out different potential solutions in an attempt to give his loved ones back home the lives he feels they deserve.
“I’m trying to meet up with the senators and congressmen, they’ve been very supportive of me. I’m really just trying to fight for their freedoms,” Kanter said.
As far as Kanter personally, he says he is ready to move forward with his life in America. When asked of the ongoing citizenship process, the former Wildcat said he is just two years away from officially becoming an American citizen.
In fact, Kanter said he is strongly considering a name change to something more American once his citizenship is official.
“I’m actually becoming a U.S. citizen in 2 years,” Kanter said. “I’m actually thinking about adding an American name. I’m still thinking about it, I don’t know yet. I have no idea [what it would be], I don’t know yet.”
After the interview was released, the newest Celtics center took to Twitter to ask the general public for name suggestions.
Any Suggestions? ? https://t.co/kYlRapFCFE
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) August 23, 2019
So with that, what are your suggestions, BBN?
I’m going with Benny Snell III.
Here is the entire clip:
By Zack Geoghegan on ©August 21st, 2019 @ 9:30pm
Former Kentucky Wildcat and current Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox surprisingly withdrew from participating in Team USA’s upcoming trip to China in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but there’s a good reason why.
Over at The Athletic, Jason Jones profiled Fox and his trainer to give fans some insight into the former Wildcats offseason.
“It’s kind of natural,” Fox told Jones in regards to where he gets his impressive speed from. “When people say I’ve gotten faster, it’s really when I started getting stronger, I started to get faster. But I never necessarily worked on the speed aspect.”
Arguably the fastest player in the NBA at age 21, Fox is hinting that he still hasn’t reached his limit. He’s getting bigger. He’s carefully choosing his daily diet. His frame is improving and it’s leading to fantasies of a darting Fox going up and over a 6-foot-10 center for a SportsCenter Top 10 slam.
His fellow (now former) team USA teammate and former Lousiville Cardinal, Donovan Mitchell, said that Fox is “easily the fastest in the NBA in my opinion.”
The scariest part? Fox is already elite at getting to the rim. He finished in the 100th percentile last season in terms of shooting fouls drawn and ranked in the 85th percentile when being fouled on non-shooting fouls. He converted on 26.9 percent of his and-one opportunities last season, as well, which ranked above average for all point guards. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, he shot 63 percent at the rim in his sophomore campaign, ranking in the 81st percentile.
*All stats courtesy of Cleaning the Glass and are relative to point guards*
For someone as slim as Fox, you can imagine how difficult it might be for him to put on weight. Coming into his freshman season at Kentucky, he weighed a mere 170 pounds despite standing at 6-foot-3. And that might have been a generous number. Now he’s hoping to bump that up to a steady 180 of all muscle and speed.
If you have a subscription to The Athletic, definitely head over and check out the article. Fox came close to claiming Most Improved Player last season. It shouldn’t be long before he’s competing for Most Valuable Player status.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©August 21st, 2019 @ 9:00pm
The city of Angels is already falling for former Kentucky basketball star Anthony Davis.
The newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers threw out the ceremonial first pitch in Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night when the hometown Dodgers trounced the visiting Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 16-3.
And we have plenty of video of the 6-foot-10 NBA superstar towering over MLB players in the locker room to go along with his excellent first pitch.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 21, 2019
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 21, 2019
And he threw a perfect strike? The only thing that would have made this a perfect night is if Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger hadn’t nearly whiffed on dapping up Davis.
Cody Bellinger almost left Anthony Davis hanging ?
— ESPN (@espn) August 21, 2019
Smooth recovery by both gentlemen.
— GraydientVisuals (@graydientLA) August 21, 2019
But the real question, is who did it better: Davis, or his new teammate LeBron James?
I’m going with Davis. The catcher didn’t even need to move to snag the perfect toss from the former Wildcat.
If you woke up this morning to read the daily paper (what I call my Twitter timeline), you might have noticed a trend directed at Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker. But not a positive one.
Video surfaced of the former Kentucky Wildcat being double-teamed in the corner during a pickup basketball game amongst other NBA players. Booker was not a fan of the defense being sent his way during a summer run, saying “Hey bro we not doubling in open gym, bro.”
— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) August 20, 2019
Current NBA free agent Joakim Noah (and former Florida Gator) responded to Booker by saying “yeah we are” and that it was “part of the game”. Twitter then went into full-on Twitter mode, throwing dagger after dagger at Booker for something as simple as an open gym. And I quickly learned that NBA Twitter has something against the former one-and-done (something that I’ve noticed has been a trend since he dropped 70 points against the Boston Celtics in 2017). Go ahead and search his name on social media, most of the posts are NSFL.
But what you didn’t see was Booker giving that entire court the business right before that, lighting up NBA players such as Ben Simmons and Tony Snell.
— Swish Cultures (@swishcultures_) August 16, 2019
My only response is this: wow, we really need something to occupy the time of NBA fans during the offseason.
Whether or not you agree or disagree with Booker being double-teamed, it ultimately doesn’t matter. Like, at all. Do they really need to double Booker during an open gym? The dude is literally wearing a zip-up hoodie and still driving past everyone. But they brought help defense for a reason – he was destroying them.
Booker is going to see a ton of doubles this season as he has consistently in the past. And that’s what practice is for. I can understand his frustration of being doubled while he earnestly wants to work on his game. If he wants to work on breaking double teams, I’m sure he has several drills that help him do that. But then again, he could just play the damn game. It can’t hurt to get in some extra practice against that kind of defense.
Let me just say it one more time, though: it was a PICK. UP. GAME.
All this situation truly taught me is that there are still droves of people out there actively rooting against Booker. This only added fuel to the fire. The Suns aren’t going to be *terrible* this year, although they certainly won’t be expected to make the playoffs. And with Ricky Rubio running point guard and another year of experience for Deandre Ayton, Booker might actually not see as many double-teams as he has in the past.
Even Booker knows it’s not a big deal.
Birthday work with pops. 30 minutes of passing out of doubles today ?? Naw for real thou, Appreciate your grind and realness??. pic.twitter.com/4yXP1cu6ZZ
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) August 20, 2019
Can the NBA season just start already? I need Booker to average 29 per game so these clowns can finally sit down. But as we all know, the Internet cares not about facts. They’ll just drag him down for not averaging 30.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 19th, 2019 @ 6:30pm
The annual NBA Rookie Survey came out this morning, and two former Cats got some recognition from their peers ahead of their first year in the league.
Tyler Herro was voted Best Shooter with 33% of the vote, beating out Kyle Guy, Cameron Johnson, Ty Jerome, and Jordan Poole. Interestingly, Herro won the vote despite Guy and Johnson having better numbers, shooting 43% and 47% from three, respectively, compared to Herro’s 36%. (It’s gotta be that Bucket swagger, right?) Appropriately, Herro’s hero Devin Booker won the same category back in 2015.
Keldon Johnson’s name came up twice. He didn’t make the top five for “Which rookie will have the best career,” but got the sixth most votes of the next group. He also received votes for Biggest Steal of the Draft after being selected No. 29 by the Spurs. Bol Bol (drafted No. 44) and Kevin Porter Jr. (drafted No. 30) tied for the top spot with 19% of the votes. Zion Williamson was the top pick for Rookie of the Year, with 35% of the vote, followed by Ja Morant with 27%.
To check out the entire survey, click the link below.
Anyone who has been following the Team USA saga this season leading up to the FIBA World Cup knows that things have not been going well for the Red, White, and Blue hoops. Especially when it comes to keeping players on the roster. Player after player has left the team or declined an invite, typically stating that it is due to wanting to get ready for the upcoming NBA season, which is a fair excuse. The long 82 game regular-season of the NBA can be grueling, but it is clear many players just don’t feel the motivation to suit up for Team USA this summer, and really the last few summers.
There is a lack of star power that could possibly get Team USA in some trouble as they attempt to reclaim gold in the FIBA World Cup. Now, the USA has been very dominant internationally, even when the team was unable to acquire star power, but it should still leave fans worried. Out of the 11 American players to make an All-NBA team this season only one is going to be participating for Team USA in the World Cup – Kemba Walker. Out of 20 NBA All-Stars this season only two remain on the USA team: Walker and Khris Middleton.
If you look at the roster, it just doesn’t look like a typical World Cup team, and heading into the Olympics next year, will we see the same trend continue? Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest coaches of all time and Steve Kerr is one of his assistants. Two of the most liked coaches in the NBA can’t convince a couple more stars to play in this tournament? While many are thinking that it is an off-year since the Olympics aren’t until 2020, this will be the easiest way to qualify for the Olympics next year. If Team USA finishes top two among teams in the Western Hemisphere they will have their ticket punched. This way, over the next year, Team USA won’t have to waste time putting together another random roster and playing in qualifying games.
Not to mention since De’Aaron Fox left the team, there aren’t any more Kentucky players on the roster. For a couple of weeks during the summer, it looked like the National team and Select team would be loaded with BBNBA players, but alas there won’t be a single Wildcat on this year’s roster. This actually has me curious if an All-USA BBN team could win the World Cup or Olympics. A roster of the top 12 guys from Kentucky that are playing in the NBA right now would be a really solid team. Sadly, with guys like John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins injured for the foreseeable future, the team wouldn’t pack quite the same punch as a healthy roster would.
With that being said, Team USA is hardly in trouble in regards to winning the World Cup this year. The roster issues that have been hurting Coach Popovich and his staff are also hurting teams across the globe. Many European teams have experienced issues with getting star players to join rosters, and Canada has been hit especially hard. In the last eight to ten years, Canada has had an influx of NBA talent. For our neighbors to the north, they have lost out on RJ Barrett, Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and even players like Shai’s cousin Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Trey Lyles, and Nik Stauskas have passed on suiting up for their home country.
Team USA shouldn’t be too worried about this year’s World Cup and next year’s 2020 Olympic roster. However, the amount of star power in the NBA right now is ridiculous. You have freaks of nature like LeBron, KD, and Anthony Davis to pair with unreal playmakers and shooters like Curry and Klay, but I’m not sure if we will see a true “Dream Team,” for awhile. Perhaps if the NBA season were shorter more players would be willing to suit up in the summer for these tournaments, or maybe there needs to be more incentive for the players. It’s hard to compete with the monster-sized contracts that are being given in the NBA nowadays, and why would anyone want to risk injury like PJ Tucker this summer, or even worse the Paul George injury from 2014.
As fewer star players suit up for Team USA, the product just isn’t the same. Even if Kemba, Myles Turner, Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton, and Harrison Barnes win gold this year, does that sound like exciting basketball? Not nearly as exciting as what could have been. These international tournaments are one of the few times we get to see players from different teams get together on the same team outside of All-Star Weekend. Hopefully, 2020 goes smoother for Team USA and its roster issues.
The former Kentucky and current Golden State Warriors center turns 26 years old today!
Just a reminder that Willie Cauley-Stein use to dunk the ball A LOT ? pic.twitter.com/makecutCiq
— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) July 28, 2019
#BBN, I hope you'll join me in wishing @THEwillieCS15 a happy birthday today. Really excited to see what he does with an organization like the @warriors. I think it's going to be a really great fit. pic.twitter.com/PRhsL4H1zD
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 18, 2019
After averaging 11.9 points, 8.4 rebounds per game in 2018 for the Sacramento Kings, Cauley-Stein agreed to a two-year, $4.4 million deal with the Warriors.
Ultimately, the decision came down to situation for Cauley-Stein, as he couldn’t turn down the recruiting of Steph Curry, Steve Kerr, and Draymond Green.
“I know I had said something about getting paid at the beginning of the year. But by the end of it, it was no longer about getting paid. It was about staying secure and building off that security. … I think the Warriors are probably the best at doing that in the league. It was a really easy decision on me and my team’s part.”
With the change of scenery and a talented group around him, Cauley-Stein is poised for an improved year.
Let’s send him some love today, BBN!
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 17th, 2019 @ 8:15pm
On Thursday afternoon, it was announced that former Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins had torn his ACL and his 2019-20 season was over before it had even begun.
The injury reportedly occurred in a morning practice session in Las Vegas when his knee hit the knee of another participating player in transition.
Immediately after, Cousins left the court and traveled to Los Angeles, where tests confirmed the worst.
Now, footage of the incident has been released to the public.
WARNING: WATCH AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION
After the injury, Cousins’ former head coach in Golden State, Steve Kerr, said he was “devastated” for the former Wildcat.
“I’m devastated for DeMarcus. It’s been a couple of years of hell,” he said. “I was really hoping this season would be a chance to get healthy. We’re all crushed for him.”
Kerr also added that Cousins gave the Warriors “everything he had” in his NBA Finals appearance and appreciated his efforts.
“Game two and game five [of the NBA Finals], the two games we won, it wasn’t a coincidence that DeMarcus played really well,” he said. “He helped us immeasurably, knocking down shots, scoring inside, rebounding. The tough part for us was that he had just missed five weeks, so there was no way he was going to have the consistency over a five, seven game series. Just didn’t have the consistency or rhythm. But he was great in spots, gave us a hell of an effort. … DeMarcus gave us everything he had.”
Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers back in July, where he was set to team up with former Wildcat Anthony Davis and NBA superstar LeBron James this season.
In April, he tore his left quad but was able to return to the court in June to play for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. In January 2018, he tore his Achilles and had to miss an entire year.
Boogie’s latest injury means he has torn his Achilles, quadriceps, and ACL in the last 568 days alone.
Devastating. Absolutely devastating.
Kentucky now has zero representatives on Team USA as they chase gold at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
This afternoon, Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox withdrew from the team to “focus on [the] upcoming season with [a] goal of making [the] playoffs,” per Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.
Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox will withdraw from Team USA to focus on upcoming season with goal of making playoffs, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 17, 2019
Last night, Team USA took on Spain in an exhibition game, winning by a score of 90-81. In the victory, Fox played a team-low 6:11, finishing with just two points and one assist.
With Fox now gone, USA is down to 13 active players, with no former Kentucky players on the roster going into the team’s training camp and exhibition slate in Australia next week:
- Kemba Walker
- Jayson Tatum
- Khris Middleton
- Myles Turner
- Donovan Mitchell
- Jaylen Brown
- Kyle Kuzma
- Brook Lopez
- Mason Plumlee
- Joe Harris
- Harrison Barnes
- Derrick White
- Marcus Smart
Bam Adebayo was released following the Team USA intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 9, with Anthony Davis and Julius Randle both withdrawing from the team at various points back in July. Devin Booker was also expected to be on the roster, though the former Wildcat’s agent reportedly notified Team USA director Jerry Colangelo back in May that his client would not accept an invitation, opting to focus on getting healthy and ready for the 2019-20 season instead.
Before long, Team USA will be taking open tryouts to fill roster spots prior to the official FIBA World Cup in Shanghai, China, which will take place from August 31 through September 15.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 16th, 2019 @ 10:00am
On Monday, DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL during a workout in Las Vegas, his third major injury in the last 18 months. This morning, John Calipari took to social media to support his former player, whom he believes has another comeback in him.
“I was in touch with DeMarcus Cousins earlier this week because of his birthday and just saw the news of his injury yesterday. To have fate intervene in his career in this way is mind-boggling. At the end of the day he’s 29 and he still has his best years ahead of him.
“The news is disheartening and I know it’s difficult for DeMarcus BUT I know how much he loves this game and I know his drive and his perseverance. He’s going to battle back just like he did the last two times. #BBN, let’s lift him up. We are pulling for you, Boogie!!!”
On Tuesday, DeMarcus’ 29th birthday, Cal shared one of his favorite memories from Boogie’s time at Kentucky.
So many!!! One of my favorites is when DeMarcus stopped during a drill, walked off & said, "My feet are on fire!" I walked over to him & told him it was fine if he sat out but calmly said he'd never start a game if he couldn't finish the drill. He never missed one after that! LOL https://t.co/PgsrqumAKN
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 13, 2019
Get well soon, Boogie. We’re all rooting for you.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 15th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
Over the last month, player ratings for the new NBA 2k20 video game have been trickling out one-by-one, with cover athlete Anthony Davis leading the way in terms of former Kentucky stars.
Davis came in at 94 overall, good for No. 7 overall.
Outside of Davis, 12 total Wildcats finished in the top 100 of players in the popular video game.
- Anthony Davis – 94 OVR
- Karl-Anthony Towns – 89 OVR
- John Wall – 88 OVR
- Devin Booker – 86 OVR
- DeMarcus Cousins – 86 OVR
- De’Aaron Fox – 86 OVR
- Eric Bledsoe – 85 OVR
- Jamal Murray – 84 OVR
- Julius Randle – 83 OVR
- Enes Kanter – 80 OVR
- Willie Cauley-Stein – 79 OVR
- Bam Adebayo – 79 OVR
Now, all three of Kentucky’s rookies know what their player ratings are.
Today, Tyler Herro, PJ Washington, and Keldon Johnson all found out their ratings, with the newest Miami Heat guard leading the way.
Herro has been given a No. 73 overall rating, with a screen grab of what he’ll look like in the game also included.
Meanwhile, PJ Washington was right below Herro with a 72 overall.
While Keldon Johnson didn’t get an official post on social media dedicated to him like the other two, the former Wildcat forward also posted on his Instagram story that he was given a 72 overall rating, as well.
You can see the screenshot below:
What do you guys think of the ratings? And most importantly, what about their looks?
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 15th, 2019 @ 5:30pm
Former Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson has found a new home in the NBA.
This afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Patterson has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Clippers worth $2.3 million.
Free agent forward Patrick Patterson has agreed to a one-year, $2.3 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 15, 2019
The 30-year-old had played the past two years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he was never able to carve out a consistent role with the franchise. Patterson never averaged more than 15 minutes or four points per game in either season.
In nine NBA seasons, Patterson has averaged 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in stints with the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Now, he will follow OKC teammate and NBA superstar Paul George to Los Angeles, where they are set to team up with Kawhi Leonard.
At Kentucky, Patterson was a two-time First-team All-SEC player in 2009 and 2010, and was named to the SEC All-Defensive team in 2010.
Patterson was drafted No. 14 overall to Houston in 2010.
The worst possible outcome for former Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins has come to fruition.
This morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Cousins had injured his knee during a workout in Las Vegas.
Now, Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that Cousins’ injury is, in fact, a torn ACL.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 15, 2019
According to Wojnarowski, the injury came this morning when Cousins bumped knees with another player, forcing him to leave the court and travel back to Los Angeles for testing.
Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in July, where he was set to team up with former Wildcat Anthony Davis and NBA superstar LeBron James.
In April, he tore his left quad but was able to return to the court in June to play for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. In January 2018, he tore his Achilles and had to miss an entire year.
Today’s injury means Boogie has torn his Achilles, quadriceps, and ACL in the last 566 days alone.
Prayers to Cousins during this extremely difficult time…