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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

Terrence Jones is having a productive start in the G League as he looks to return to NBA form. (Photo via Santa Cruz Warriors)

BBNBA: G-League Report

Terrence Jones is having a productive start in the G League as he looks to return to NBA form. (Photo: Courtesy of the Santa Cruz Warriors)

As we approach the NBA All-Star break, everyone now has time to reflect on the wonderment that has been the 2017-18 season. Over 50 games into the regular season, there have been more accomplishments from former Kentucky players than one would have imagined 10 years ago. With multiple All-Stars and even more future ones, the Big Blue Nation runs deep in the best professional basketball league in the world.

But what hasn’t been covered as much is the non-NBAers. The guys who have worked just as hard to compete in the business of pro hoops. The NBA’s G League is loaded with hidden talent that can find its way to the top and there are several Kentucky players trying to fulfill their dreams. The G League may be a stage below the NBA, but the development of the players within it should not go unnoticed.  James Young played incredibly well in the G League earlier this season, good enough for the Philadelphia 76ers to call him up to run with the big boys where he currently plays. There are six active former Kentucky players in the G League, here’s how they’ve been performing going into their own All-Star weekend.

Aaron Harrison (Reno Bighorns – Sacramento Kings affiliate)

2017-18 averages: 17.3 points/4.4 rebounds/1.7 assists in 32 games played.

Shooting splits (FG%/3PT%/FT%): 41.7/38.9/83.9

Harrison has been selected to participate in the G League International Challenge, an All-Star type event for the G League where their best players will take on the Mexico National Team on Sunday before the actual NBA All-Star game. He’s not the only former Wildcat to make the team, either, as you will learn shortly.

Harrison is among the best shooters in the G League this season. His 38.9 three-point percentage ranks 12th among players who attempt at least six threes per game. He’s recorded multiple 30-point games and is well-deserving of being selected for the International Challenge.

Terrence Jones (Santa Cruz Warriors – Golden State Warriors affiliate)

2017-18 averages: 19.9 points/7.1 rebounds/4.5 assists in 13 games played.

Shooting splits: 55.3/35.1/48.5

Terrence Jones is the other Wildcat who will join Harrison in the G League International Challenge. Jones has been on a tear since he joined the Santa Cruz Warriors in the middle of December following his release from the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles in China. He’s quickly become a force to be reckoned with. His 28.0 usage rate ranks 11th in the league and is high for someone of his position and play style. He’s a workhorse down low and is deceptively quick off the dribble. He was nearly signed to a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans earlier in 2018, however, it quickly fell apart. Jones still has plenty to look forward to and at 26 years old, there’s time for him to make a return to the NBA.

Mychal Mulder (Windy City Bulls – Chicago Bulls affiliate)

2017-18 averages: 8.8 points/4.6 rebounds/1.6 assists in 36 games played.

Shooting splits: 39.6/31.0/78.0

Mulder hasn’t been spectacular in the G League, but he has been solid. His stats aren’t great, however, he averages 31.6 minutes per game (39th overall), which means he’s helping his team in a way they deem fit. He’s an above-average rebounder for a guard but he definitely needs to improve on his jump shot, which was his calling card at Kentucky. He’s the least impressive of these six and still trying to find his way, but he is being given the opportunity to improve.

Derek Willis (Grand Rapids Drive – Detroit Pistons affiliate)

2017-18 averages: 11.9 points/6.6 rebounds/0.8 assists in 33 games played.

Shooting splits: 45.8/34.8/81.6

Perhaps the most surprising Kentucky prospect to sign with an NBA team under Coach Calipari is Derek Willis. Willis was never a star at Kentucky – he was hardly a starter – but he has one thing going for him that can get anyone a job in the NBA. He can shoot the hell out of the ball. After being signed by the Detroit Pistons and assigned to their G League team, Willis was given the chance to showcase his sharpshooting skills. He’s definitely a “tweener”, as in he’s too small to play the five or even the four in some cases and too big to guard opposing threes. Luckily, when he can shoot nearly 35 percent from three on 4.8 attempts per game, he’ll always have a home playing basketball somewhere.

Marquis Teague (Memphis Hustle – Memphis Grizzlies affiliate)

2017-18 averages:16.3 points/3.4 rebounds/5.7 assists in 38 games played.

Shooting splits: 44.4/43.6/77.5

Teague could be considered a G League “All-Star snub” with the year he’s having in Memphis. Only five times has he scored under 10 points and 12 times has he scored over 20 as the Hustle’s most consistent player. Teague ranks 18th in the league in assists per game and has become a much more reliable outside threat than he was at Kentucky. An interesting note, 78.6 percent of Teague’s field goal makes come unassisted, meaning he’s creating the majority of his own offense and has been surprisingly efficient in doing so.

Archie Goodwin (Northern Arizona Suns – Phoenix Suns affiliate)

2017-18 averages: 18.8 points/5.8 rebounds/2.6 assists in 20 games played.

Shooting splits: 50.6/34.3/69.6

Archie Goodwin is still the rim-attacking bulldog he was at Kentucky. Goodwin was at his best when driving towards the bucket and not much has changed since he left Kentucky. He’s attempted the second most free throws in the G League, although converting on less than 70 percent of those opportunities. 29.3 percent of Goodwin’s points come from free throws – 11th highest in the league – and it could be much higher if he converted at a more consistent level. Even still, Goodwin has shown promise and it wouldn’t surprise me if he made another run in the NBA. He averages the 22nd most points per game and 23rd most steals per game among the league leaders.

Kentucky may be taking over the NBA, but its basketball influence is beginning to make its mark in every league possible.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Towns tops Randle in Minnesota

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It was the match up of two former Kentucky big men in the Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves game last night. For the Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns struggled scoring the ball, finishing with just 10 points on 2 of 9 shooting, but he made up for it by pulling down 19 rebounds, dishing out four assists, and blocking two shots. Julius Randle had a better game offensively for the Lakers, as he had 23 points to go along with nine rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block. The Timberwolves picked up the W over the Lakers by the score of 119-111.

For Towns, last night was his 51st double-double of the season, which ties Kevin Love for the most ever before the All-Star break.



PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Karl-Anthony Towns119-111 win over Lakers102-9 (0-2)194023+732
Julius Randle119-111 loss to Timberwolves238-15 (0-1)92213-1731
Eric Bledsoe134-123 loss to Nuggets279-14 (3-6)38503-137
Jamal Murray134-123 win over Bucks269-12 (5-7)55302+1836
Trey Lyles134-123 win over Bucks125-10 (2-4)00120+117





  • Rising Stars Game, World (Jamal Murray) vs USA (De’Aaron Fox), 9pm ET on TNT


Bam Adebayo and Willie Cauley-Stein Return to Lexington

Bam is in the building!

The former Wildcat power forward has turned into a star for the Miami Heat.  What’s the first thing Adebayo did to celebrate the All-Star break?  Return to Lexington to see his old stomping grounds.  Wenyen Gabriel certainly looks happy to see his old teammate.


Adebayo entered the All-Star break on a heater (no pun intended).  In the month of February he had three double-doubles in seven games and averaged 10.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blockers per game.

Man, this team could sure use a big Bam in the paint…

UPDATE: Willie Cauley-Stein is in town too!


Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Anthony Davis is tearing up February

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis is having one of the more impressive stretches of his career with these first two weeks of February. Since DeMarcus Cousins went down for the season with injury, Davis has had to redefine his role on the team. Without having another All-Star to share with, Davis has had to take over games to give the Pelicans a chance at wins. Here’s what Davis about his conversation with Boogie going into this stretch of games.

I was trying to kind of do what DeMarcus did – getting a lot of guys involved. I was playing indecisive a lot. I was thinking too much. Actually Cousins called me, he said “What are you doing? Man, you just need to go out there and be you.” Then, he told me, the coaching staff told me, the team told me. I’ve just been going out there and playing aggressive.

In the month of February, Davis has scored 38 or more points in five of the seven games, which is incredible in and of itself. His averages over the last two weeks are 32 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game. He’s also hitting nearly 39% of his 3s during that span of time. He could play himself into the MVP conversation with continued stats like that.



PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis139-117 win over Lakers4215-18 (2-2)153321+2233
Darius Miller139-117 win over Lakers196-8 (4-6)34000+1331
Rajon Rondo139-117 win over Lakers42-5 (0-1)35101+98
DeAndre Liggins139-117 win over Lakers31-2 (1-1)04000+414
Julius Randle139-117 loss to Pelicans209-13 (0-0)53014-2431
Enes Kanter118-113 loss to Wizards249-15 (0-0)145010+134
Jodie Meeks118-113 win over Knicks82-2 (0-0)23100-313
Devin Booker107-97 loss to Jazz288-20 (6-14)53002-1036
Tyler Ulis107-97 loss to Jazz21-4 (0-1)02002-29
Andrew Harrison121-114 loss to Thunder2810-16 (5-5)23002-233
Patrick Patterson121-114 win over Grizzlies124-7 (3-4)31000+621
Dakari Johnson121-114 win over Grizzlies31-1 (0-1)20000-43
De'Aaron Fox100-91 loss to Rockets93-10 (1-3)23103-1726
Willie Cauley-Stein100-91 loss to Rockets126-16 (0-0)85111-1228
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist104-102 win over Magic52-7 (0-0)21100-1023
Bam Adebayo104-102 loss to 76ers30-3 (0-0)21000-1219




  • Denver Nuggets (Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles) at Milwaukee Bucks (Eric Bledsoe), 8pm ET
  • Los Angeles Lakers (Julius Randle) at Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns), 9pm ET on TNT


NBA to Louisville Group Officially Names Dan Issel President

The news Bunny broke on Kentucky Sports Radio is now official.  The Louisville Basketball Investment and Support Group announced this morning that Dan Issel has been named president of the organization that will try to lure an NBA team to Louisville.

“There is speculation that the NBA could grant an expansion franchise to the West Coast, which would open the door for a franchise to be located in the eastern U.S.,” Issel said in a press release. “This development – plus the impressive list of local investors – is the impetus for the formation of the NBA 2 Louisville initiative. And, it is the reason why I am so excited to be involved in trying to bring professional basketball back to the Commonwealth.”

The local investors Issel alluded to are more than 20 people who have put together over $750,000.  It will take much more than that to bring an expansion franchise to Louisville, but with Issel leading the way and without Jurich and Pitino in the picture, it’s a nice start.

Read more at LEX-18.

WATCH: Anthony Davis gives love advice on Valentine’s Day

WATCH: Anthony Davis gives love advice on Valentine’s Day

Looking for love advice on this Valentine’s Day? Anthony Davis, aka the “Master of Rejection,” is here to help. As part of his ad campaign with Red Bull, the former Cat and NBA All-Star answered relationship questions from fans, and, as you might expect, the results are pretty funny:

You can watch Anthony and Karl Towns in the NBA All-Star Game Sunday night. If you missed it earlier, De’Aaron Fox will replace Lonzo Ball in the Rising Stars Challenge, bringing the number of former Cats participating in All-Star Weekend festivities to five:

De’Aaron Fox to replace Lonzo Ball in NBA All-Star Rising Stars Challenge

De’Aaron Fox to replace Lonzo Ball in NBA All-Star Rising Stars Challenge

In yet another turn in their ongoing rivalry, it was just announced that De’Aaron Fox will replace Lonzo Ball in the Rising Stars Challenge, which takes place this Friday night during NBA All-Star Weekend. Ball has missed the Lakers’ last 13 games with a sprained MCL. Meanwhile, Fox has been on a tear, averaging 14.5 points and 4.1 assists over his last ten games.

Fox will play for the US Team, which will take on the World Team, which includes fellow former Cat Jamal Murray. There are plenty of former Cats participating in All-Star Weekend, so here’s when you can watch them (all events aired on TNT):

  • Friday, 9 p.m. ET: Rising Stars Challenge (Jamal Murray, De’Aaron Fox)
  • Saturday, 8 p.m. ET: State Farm All-Star Saturday Night
    • Taco Bell Skills Challenge (Jamal Murray)
    • JBL Three-Point Contest (Devin Booker)
  • Sunday, 8 p.m. ET: 67th NBA All-Star Game (Anthony Davis, Karl Towns)

Speaking of the Ball family, did you see LaVar Ball’s threat that Lonzo won’t re-sign with the Lakers unless they sign his brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo as well? Ha!

Every day that goes by, Magic Johnson must regret not taking De’Aaron Fox more and more.


BBNBA: Towns’ Effort Not Enough in Loss to Houston

Karl Towns’ 35 points was not enough as the Timberwolves fell to the Rockets 128-108. That loss drops Minnesota to 35-25 on the season. If the playoffs started today, Towns would be looking at his first playoff appearance as the #4 seed.

In other BBNBA news, six other former Cats scored in double figures, with some highlights including De’Aaron Fox’s 11 points and 7 assists and Jamal Murray’s 17 points. Murray is turning in a good sophomore season for the Nuggets who currently sit at 31-26 as the #6 seed in the playoffs.

Complete Stats

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Bam Adebayo115-112 L vs. Tor113-653012+725
Eric Bledsoe97-92 W vs. Atl145-14 (2-6)39136+1135
Karl-Anthony Towns128-108 L vs. Hou3512-16 (2-3)123131-435
Patrick Patterson120-112 L vs. Cle00-031001-410
Dakari JohnsonDNP- Coach's Decision---------
De'Aaron Fox114-109 W vs. Dal115-12 (1-3)47103-531
Willie Cauley-Stein114-109 W vs. Dal104-841120+828
Jamal Murray117-109 W vs. SA176-9 (3-6)51203+1938
Trey Lyles117-109 W vs. SA114-6 (0-1)20001-517

Towns says NO!

Towns’ Complete Highlights

Cue the Bow and Arrow!

Murray with the step back

Today’s Games

  • Hawks at Pistons- 7pm
  • Hornets (Monk and MKG) at Magic- 7pm
  • Heat (Adebayo) at 76ers- 7pm
  • Pacers (Poythress) at Nets- 7:30pm
  • Wizards (Meeks) at Knicks (Kanter) 7:30pm
  • Clippers at Celtics- 8pm (ESPN)
  • Raptors at Bulls- 8pm
  • Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox and Skal) at Rockets- 8pm
  • Thunder (Patterson and Johnson) at Grizzlies (Harrison) 8pm
  • Lakers (Randle) at Pelicans (Davis, Rondo, Liggins and Miller) 8pm
  • Suns (Booker and Ulis) at Jazz- 9pm
  • Warriors at Trail Blazers- 10:30pm (ESPN)

Anthony Davis scores 38 for the New Orleans Pelicans in their win over the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: Anthony Davis Continues to do Anthony Davis Things

Anthony Davis scores 38 for the New Orleans Pelicans in their win over the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)


I’m not sure what else there is to say at this point. Anthony Davis is officially the destroyer of worlds. Davis displayed *another* high scoring performance Monday night against the Detroit Pistons of 38 points to go along with 10 rebounds on 58.3 percent shooting from the field. Since the heart-breaking injury to DeMarcus Cousins in late January, Davis is averaging 30 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Essentially, he is the New Orleans Pelicans entire source of winning. Granted, they’re 3-5 since Boogie went down, but what Davis is doing with a less-than-ideal roster is mind-boggling. Here is your friendly reminder that, yes, Davis is still only 24 years old, and while the talking heads will continue to mention players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid as the future faces of the NBA (and deservedly so), just remember who the real future is.

*Interesting fact of the day* Anthony Davis holds the scoring record in both the Palace at Auburn Hills (59) and the Little Caesars Arena (38), the Pistons home arenas of past and present. Just name the next arena the Palace at Anthony Davis. Little Davis Arena?

It was a slow Monday in the NBA and Davis was no doubt the high point, but Enes Kanter also had a solid game for the New York Knicks. Kanter recorded 17 points and 13 rebounds in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis have now both missed their last two games (Booker has missed four straight), including the Phoenix Suns’ Monday night blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors, due to hip and back injuries, respectively.

In a bit of unrelated yet kinda related news. Emeka Okafor started for the Pelicans on Monday for the first time in FIVE YEARS. Terrence Jones was originally supposed to join the Pelicans and it was reported that a deal was close to being done, only for the team to change course not even an hour later after the report and sign Okafor instead, who had been out of the league since 2013.

Check out the rest of the stats below.


PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis (NOP)118-103 W @ DET3814-24 (3-6)101122+1836
Enes Kanter (NYK)92-108 L @ PHI175-10133101-1033
Darius Miller (NOP)
118-103 W @ DET124-8 (4-7)11002+929
Rajon Rondo (NOP)118-103 W @ DET83-8 (2-5)58013-730
DeAndre Liggins (NOP)118-103 W @ DET21-1 (0-0)01100+95
Devin Booker (PHX)83-129 L @ GSWDNP-Hip Pointer----------------
Tyler Ulis (PHX)83-129 L @ GSWDNP-Back Spasms----------------
DeMarcus Cousins (NOP)118-103 W @ DETDNP-Achilles----------------


Tonight in the NBA

7:00: Heat (Adebayo) @ Raptors

8:00: Hawks @ Bucks (Bledsoe)

8:00: Rockets @ Timberwolves (Towns)

8:00 (TNT): Cavaliers @ Thunder (Patterson, Johnson)

8:30: Kings (Cauley-Stein, Fox) @ Mavericks

10:30 (TNT): Spurs @ Nuggets (Murray, Lyles)

Player to watch

Tonight’s player to watch will actually be a duo. Jamal MurrayTrey Lyles, and the Denver Nuggets will take on the San Antonio Spurs on TNT. Murray is quickly becoming one of my overall favorite players to watch in the NBA. Not many guys have as much fun as him while also raining down buckets with the swiftness that he can. His unorthodox shot attempts and passion to be great make for fantastic entertainment every night. Lyles isn’t nearly as exciting, but he’s still damn good and the Nuggets are a better team because of him. A matchup with the Spurs is always tough (even if LaMarcus Aldridge doesn’t play) and it should be a good test for an improving Nuggets team.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan

DeMarcus Cousins’ Jersey Hangs in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Issac Baldizon | Getty Images

DeMarcus Cousins won’t suit up for the New Orleans Pelicans for the rest of the season, but his jersey will be put to good use at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The week prior to Cousins’ season-ending Achilles injury, Cousins was selected to start in the NBA All-Star Game, in part thanks to an historic performance.  Against the Chicago Bulls he had 44 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists.  That stat line has only been produced in ten NBA games and it was the first time since 1972. The historic performance is now being commemorated with a display of his jersey and shoes from the game at the Basketball Hall of Fame.


Check out the highlights from his historic game and dream of a world with a healthy Boogie.