After waiting on pins and needles since the NBA Combine, the first report on Hamidou →
Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Brett Bibbins on ©May 11th, 2017 @ 11:30am
After two dominating performances at home in games 3 and 4, the Wizards traveled to Boston for game 5. The Celtics flipped the script and handed Washington a blow out loss of their own. A slow start in the first quarter put the Wizards behind and they never really played themselves back into the game. The Celtics ran out to an early 16-4 lead and never looked back, leaving most of the fourth quarter as garbage time to rest the starters for game 6 in D.C.
John Wall, Washington Wizards (123-101 loss to Celtics)
While last night might not have been very highlight worthy for John Wall, use your time to read this piece instead about Wall’s incredible postseason.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 9, 2017
James Young, Boston Celtics (123-101 win over Wizards)
James Young checks in and promptly knocks down his only shot attempt of the game.
James Young swishes the 3. pic.twitter.com/1VmFYyNl1o
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) May 11, 2017
Tonight’s NBA Playoff action doesn’t contain any former Kentucky players, so is there really any reason to watch?
- San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets, 8pm ET on ESPN
- Spurs lead series 3-2
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 10th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
With the NBA Draft a month and a half away, it’s officially mock draft season, which means it’s our job to bring you the latest predictions from the nation’s pundits on where Kentucky’s guys will go in the draft. While this is admittedly easy content for us, it’s sometimes an exhausting process because these days, mock drafts are like podcasts — everybody’s got one. And, how do you determine which one is the best? You can’t, because it’s all speculation.
So, instead of regurgitating Chad Ford or Jonathan Givony’s latest take on Hamidou Diallo, I thought I’d try something different. (Besides, what would I post tomorrow?) I thought it’d be fun to take all of the 28 players drafted in the Calipari era at Kentucky and do a mock draft of my own, adding in Aaron Harrison and Alex Poythress to make it a cool 30. Now, given that some players have been in the league seven seasons now and some are just wrapping up their rookie seasons, it’s not exactly a fair exercise, but it’s a fun one nonetheless. Get ready to disagree with me!
1. Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans
Actual draft position: #1, 2012 NBA Draft
Davis was the MVP of the All-Star Game this year and — when he’s healthy — continues to do things with the basketball that human beings shouldn’t be able to. The top four Kentucky guys in the league are superstars, but based on freakishness alone, Davis shines the brightest right now.
2. Karl Towns, C, Timberwolves
Actual draft position: #1, 2015 NBA Draft
Karl followed up his Rookie of the Year season with an impressive sophomore outing, becoming the only player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 three pointers in one season AND the youngest player (the 15th overall and first since Tim Duncan in 2001-02) to tally 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a season. Right now, some may take Wall or Boogie over Karl, but I’m looking ahead to the future.
3. John Wall, PG, Wizards
Actual draft position: #1, 2010 NBA Draft
Wall’s proving a lot of his doubters wrong this postseason as he leads the Wizards through the playoffs. Finally, Wall has a decent supporting cast, which means people are finally seeing just how talented he is. In a line of great Calipari point guards, he’s still #1 to me.
4. DeMarcus Cousins, C, Pelicans
Actual draft position: #5, 2010 NBA Draft
Now out of dysfunctional Sacramento, Cousins finds himself alongside Anthony Davis. The fact that a star like Boogie is fourth on this list speaks to how many great big men have come through the program. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of the top four.
5. Eric Bledsoe, PG, Suns
Actual draft position: #18, 2010 NBA Draft
Man, that 2010 draft was loaded, wasn’t it? The combination of Bledsoe and Devin Booker was a great one this season for Phoenix, and as long as he stays healthy, Bledsoe will remain one of the best guards in the league, especially defensively.
6. Devin Booker, SG, Suns
Actual draft position: #13, 2015 NBA Draft
Booker had the most points in a game in the league this year with 70 and continues to be one of the rising stars in the league, earning praise from Kobe, LeBron, and everyone else who realizes how far he can go given the NBA’s trend toward small ball. Given his talent, drive, and charm, he’s the future of the Suns organization. If you’re looking for a young star to build around, he’s it.
7. Brandon Knight, G, Suns
Actual draft position: #8, 2011 NBA Draft
Unfortunately, Booker’s success has come at the expense of Brandon Knight, who is now the team’s sixth man. This season, Knight averaged career lows in scoring (11 ppg), assists (2.4 apg), and minutes (21.1 mpg), and in March, refused to join the rotation when Bledsoe shut down for the season, citing back spasms. Knight is better than a backup, so he’s still high on my list.
8. Enes Kanter, F, Thunder
Actual draft position: #3, 2011 NBA Draft
Kanter may come off the bench, but he’s a solid role player for the Thunder, averaging 14.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in 21.3 minutes. He’s got a long career ahead of him, and therefore, is a hot commodity on this board.
9. Julius Randle, PF, Lakers
Actual draft position: #7, 2014 NBA Draft
Randle’s coming off his best season yet, averaging 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Lakers. Unfortunately for Randle, he may be improving, but his team still sucks. If he improves his outside shooting, he can move even higher on this list.
10. Nerlens Noel, C, Mavericks
Actual draft position: #6, 2013 NBA Draft
After being buried in a crowded frontcourt in Philly, Nerlens finally got traded near the end of the season and in 22 games with the Mavericks, seemed to rediscover himself a bit, averaging 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22 minutes per game. At 23, Nerlens is still young and has ridiculous upside. Dallas would be smart to keep him once he becomes a free agent in July.
11. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Hornets
Actual draft position: #2, 2012 NBA Draft
Poor MKG. Due to various injuries, he’s yet to live up to his potential in the league. He’s worked on his odd shooting form a lot, but he must continue to improve offensively if he wants to take the next step with his game (the defense is already there). The flashes of brilliance we saw early on this season must become the norm, not the exception. Sadly, I worry I have him too high on here, but I love him too much to drop him any lower.
12. Jamal Murray, G, Nuggets
Actual draft position: #7, 2016 NBA Draft
After an uncharacteristically cold start to his rookie season, Murray warmed back up, and by the time the All-Star break rolled around, won MVP honors at the Rising Stars Challenge. The sharpshooter finished the season averaging 9.9 points and 33.4% shooting from the outside, all the while playing with an injury to his core muscles. He’s had surgery to repair that, and should be ready to roll by training camp. If you believe in small ball, Murray is a steal at #12.
13. Skal Labissiere, C, Kings
Actual draft position: #28, 2016 NBA Draft
Before Boogie left Sacramento, there’s no way you could convince me that Skal should be 13th on this list; however, with Boogie gone, Skal flourished, blossoming into the player we all expected him to be at Kentucky and on the next level. With that sweet jump hook and a solid outside shot, Skal could be the type of big the NBA is trending towards. He certainly looked like it in the month of April.
14. Tyler Ulis, PG, Suns
Actual draft position: #34, 2016 NBA Draft
With Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight sitting out the end of the season, Ulis stepped up and stole the spotlight, earning Western Conference Rookie of the Month in April. As he’s done his entire career, Ulis is proving people wrong, and it’s no longer safe to assume his ceiling in the league is being a backup guard.
15. Patrick Patterson, F, Raptors
Actual draft position: #14, 2010 NBA Draft
Patterson is coming up on free agency and has been a useful role player for Toronto the past four years, averaging 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds this season. Unfortunately, Patterson was hampered by knee injuries, which led to a disappointing end to the year. That being said, this is a guy I want in my locker room.
16. Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kings
Actual draft position: #6, 2015 NBA Draft
Like Skal, Willie profited from Boogie going to New Orleans, averaging 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds since the All-Star break. His improvement is remarkable, but I would draft him based on quotes alone.
17. Trey Lyles, SF, Jazz
Actual draft position: #12, 2015 NBA Draft
Man, what happened to Trey Lyles? Before the season began, I would have been tempted to slide him into the top 10 of this mock draft, but he very much underwhelmed in his sophomore season. Whereas Lyles averaged 12.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in the month of April in his rookie year, he barely got off the bench during the Jazz’s recent playoff run, scoring 7 points in only 10 minutes through 11 games. Woof. Let’s hope it was only a sophomore slump.
After an impressive finish to his rookie season, today former Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis underwent ankle surgery.
The team said the minor surgery on Ulis’ right ankle will keep him sidelined for approximately 12 weeks. He will be fine in time for the regular season but is expected to miss the NBA Summer League. His former backcourt running-mate, Jamal Murray, also underwent offseason surgery following his rookie season; Murray required a hernia repair.
Ulis averaged 7.3 points and 3.7 assists in 61 games during his rookie season. He started in the final 15 games of the season after the Suns shut down Eric Bledsoe, highlighted by a 20-point performance that ended with a buzzer-beating three to defeat the Celtics.
However, it wasn’t Ulis’ best game. He dropped a career-high 34 points against the Houston Rockets.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 10th, 2017 @ 5:00pm
Willie Cauley-Stein was a fan favorite during his three seasons at Kentucky, but we haven’t heard a lot about him since his move out west. But thanks to a new video from Yardbarker, we get to catch up on the life and times of Willie Cauley-Stein, now a centerpiece with the Sacramento Kings organization.
Watch as he explains being a young leader since the departure of DeMarcus Cousins, why he is “Trill,” and what the future holds for him in the league:
Today is measuring day at the NBA combine and De’Aaron Fox went with the shirtless approach to his standing reach.
Also, why are they in a ball room?
— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) May 10, 2017
But on a serious note: it’s a very wise move by Fox to attend the combine when some of the other elite talents — Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Malik Monk, Jayson Tatum, Dennis Smith — skipped out. Showing up to prove his value, when others aren’t, will go a long way in teams’ eyes and hopefully he will thrive in his shooting workouts to try to dispel some of those concerns with his jumper.
As for the measuring, we’ll know more on how Kentucky’s four guys measured out soon. Hamidou Diallo’s measurements will have a major impact on his draft future.
Stay tuned for those.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 10th, 2017 @ 12:00pm
Hamidou Diallo’s future is the hottest topic in the Bluegrass these days and we have a new mock draft on the internets today to assist you in predicting said future.
The guys over NBCSports.com’s NBA website released their new first round mock and it has Diallo up to No. 23. In this round of predictions, it is the Toronto Raptors organization that takes the gamble on Diallo’s unproven game.
The explanation of the prediction isn’t anything you don’t know:
23. Toronto Raptors: Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky. The most explosive athlete in the draft, fantastic physical tools, but very raw and is a real project. Never played for Kentucky. [NBCSports.com]
In this same mock draft, De’Aaron Fox goes fifth overall to the Orlando Magic, behind Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum, in that order. Malik Monk is the seventh overall pick, while your boy Bam Adebayo is No. 28 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers.
You probably wouldn’t know it if you only watched him in games last season, but Bam Adebayo has some handles and a decent midrange shot. However, he sacrificed that aspect of his game for the betterment of the team by staying inside as the Cats’ center, which isn’t his natural position.
Now Adebayo’s getting a chance to show off his other abilities at the NBA combine, and he’ll make some extra money if he can prove he can do this consistently:
Bam Adebayo, Monte Morris, Tyler Dorsey working out in Chicago. Full video coming on DX. pic.twitter.com/EEdtp6vOGJ
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 10, 2017
Who is that guy?!
By Drew Franklin on ©May 08th, 2017 @ 11:32am
With all due respect to the good people at Bleacher Report, I find their new NBA mock draft to be ridiculous. Maybe I’m wrong and I usually am, but I think projecting Hamidou Diallo at No. 10 overall is way too high.
Here’s Bleacher Report’s explanation for the surprise pick:
10. Sacramento Kings — Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky
And here’s our big surprise of this mock. DraftExpress currently has Diallo at No. 36. We put him at No. 20 last week. At this point, he might be more likely to pull his name out of the draft and return to Kentucky next year. But if stays in, Diallo does have the physical tools, and NBA drafts typically have one real shocker — think the Bucks taking Thon Maker at No. 10 last year. [Bleacher Report]
On second thought, seeing it’s the Sacramento Kings makes sense. That organization might be crazy enough to waste a lottery pick on an unproven player with insane measurements. But I still can’t imagine Diallo will go that high and no one else out there has him in the first round.
Is this really a possibility?
After losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Celtics, Washington battled back at home to tie the series and move on to Game 5.
A 26-0 run in the third quarter sealed the deal for the Wizards in the 121-102 win. Washington led by as many as 21 points by the end of the night.
John Wall, not surprising, was the star of the night, scoring 27 points, 12 assists and five steals.
He did a lot of things like this:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 8, 2017
John Wall took over the 3rd quarter 💯 pic.twitter.com/yhce4J3Q06
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 8, 2017
The two will meet again in Game 5 in Boston on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Devin Booker has emerged as one of the next great stars in professional basketball today. He’s a young star on a team that’s doesn’t have a national audience like the Warriors or the Cavs. However, a 2nd grade class in Texas has made him their idol, according to azcentral.com.
“So Reiser tried a different approach. She introduced her students to players outside of Texas. She asked them to look beyond the gravitational pull of the Warriors and Cavaliers. She shared her frustration with the NBA, where the best players seemed to be clustered on the best teams.
When the discussion turned to Booker, something just clicked.
“Devin is young. He’s African-American and Latino, just like most of my students,” Reiser said. “And they really like his presence on the court. He celebrates like a young kid, and they really like that. And once he hit that 70-point thing, they just went crazy.”
Obviously, Booker was blown away by the whole deal. There’s a cutout of Booker in the classroom and when asked what they wanted as a reward for scoring high on a test, they wanted Booker to come read to the class.
Read the whole story here.
By Kory Henry on ©May 07th, 2017 @ 11:00am
If you’ve missed the first three games between the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics, you don’t want to miss Game 4 tonight. If there’s one word to describe the Eastern Conference series so far, it’d have to be physical. Very physical.
John Wall and the Wizards managed to pick up their first victory over Boston on Thursday, 116-89. That brings the series to 2-1, with Washington hoping to even the score this evening. They were finally able to match the physicality of the Celtics at home, and it came with plenty of scuffles. The Wizards’ Kelly Oubre Jr. was suspended one game, the NBA announced Saturday, “for charging and making forceful and unwarranted contact” with Celtics center Kelly Olynyk. That doesn’t include the seven other technical fouls handed out during Game 3.
With physical games like the Eastern Conference semi-finals, there can be periods where some things are let go, especially contact around the rim. One of the biggest victims of the series has been John Wall, who seems to take hard contact often, but never gets to the foul line as much as he should. Wall had this to say about the no-calls, not just during the playoffs, but all season long:
“I think I get the same treatment as LeBron gets when he drives. I think I’m too big and physical, so guys bounce off me and they think I’m supposed to play through it, so I just keep playing and, like, coach tells me, don’t worry about it. Just try to finish plays without worrying about the fouls. So that’s all I can do.”
Wall recalled a key play during overtime of Game 2, where the Celtics’ Avery Bradley came up with a steal.
“He’s pretty good, I played against Avery for a long time but it doesn’t bother me. I mean, he’s a great defender, but it don’t bother me as much. Like, if everybody look at the last play, if you look, he was holding my whole arm. The whole time … but the ref told me he couldn’t see it. I moved the ball in my right hand, my whole left arm caught to my body. Like I was in a straitjacket.”
Wall had 24 points in Game 3, as he extended his playoff streak of 20+ points and 7 assists to nine straight games. The Wizards have managed to open every game so far with large scoring runs, with Thursday being the first time they actually held the margin. If they can continue to match the physicality of Boston, expect them to tie the series.
You can catch Wall and the Wizards in Game 4 tonight at 6:30 pm ET, live on TNT.
Whatever drove the animosity into the Celtics-Wizards rivalry has made the Eastern Conference Semifinals a billion times more interesting. But it’s also been fun to watch because John Wall is doing John Wall things and playing out his mind.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Wall’s nine straight games with at least 20 points and seven assists is the longest streak in NBA postseason history.
.@JohnWall: at least 2️⃣0️⃣ PTS & 7️⃣ AST in 9 straight games.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 5, 2017
*How awesome is this picture?
In postseason play, Wall is averaging 29 points and 11 assists per game and his team is still down 2-1. How absurd is that?
The Wizards don’t necessarily shine on the road, so tomorrow’s game at home is a must-win if they want any chance of meeting the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals.
John Wall led the Wizards to a 116-89 Game 3 victory over the Boston Celtics, Washington’s first win of the series.
The game got chippy, but he remained poised and finished with 24 points and 8 assists. According to ESPN Stats and Info, it’s Wall’s ninth straight game with at least 20 points and 7 assists, the longest streak within single postseason in NBA history. His highlight of the night was a phenomenal block from behind.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) May 5, 2017
On the other end of the floor, this And One might have been his most impressive finish.
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 5, 2017
Game 4 is Sunday at 6:30 on TNT.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 04th, 2017 @ 3:00pm
Tyler Ulis made a special guest appearance on Thursday’s Kentucky Sports Radio radio show to catch the Big Blue Nation up on life after his first season in the league. Ulis talked about adjusting to the life of the NBA player, his rookie year in Phoenix, and run-ins with Kentucky fans along the way.
For jump straight to Tyler’s interview, tune in around the 22:45 mark in the second hour of the podcast below:
By Drew Franklin on ©May 03rd, 2017 @ 5:23pm
DraftExpress.com was out in Los Angeles to catch up with Kentucky’s own De’Aaron Fox during one of Fox’s pre-draft workouts this week.
Fox took a break to have a conversation with DraftExpress’s own Jonathan Givony about what he is working on ahead of the draft.
Hear Fox’s comments and watch some of his drills with trainer Chris Gaston, who is also training Dominique Hawkins.