Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Nick Roush on ©May 18th, 2018 @ 11:00am
DeMarcus Cousins is preparing to play for (insert team name here) by the start of training camp.
Before Boogie enters free agency for the first time, Cousins sat down for an extensive interview with Marc Spears of The Undefeated. Rehabbing a torn Achilles tendon six days a week, Cousins said the process has been great.
“I’m looking forward to starting the season,” Cousins said. “That’s my own personal goal, so we’ll see what happens. That’s what I’m working on. The doctors haven’t really given me an answer because of the time I injured myself and the amount of time that I have.
“It’s basically open field because I have so much time. But for me, I’m shooting to be ready for training camp.”
The timing of the injury was terrible. The Pelicans were finally clicking as he played his way into a lucrative offseason deal. Now he’s surrounded by uncertainty. Even though he unfollowed the Pelicans’ Instagram account and admitted he has not talked to the front office in a few days, he’s open to returning to New Orleans.
“I don’t plan on rushing through this process. I’m going to make the absolute best decision for DeMarcus Cousins. We’ll see what that is. As of right now, I don’t really know. I can’t answer that. Would I like to go back to New Orleans? I’m very open to that. I love what we created. I love what was created after I went down. I would love to be part of it. But I’m going to do what’s best for me, and I feel they’ll do the same.”
His next destination is uncertain, but there are two qualities he’s looking for. Cousins wants to be a appreciated and he wants to play for a contender. That could be in New Orleans, but only time will tell. Until then, we’re just happy Cousins’ road to recovery has been a quick, smooth ride.
By Nick Roush on ©May 17th, 2018 @ 5:00pm
Before he was a Los Angeles Laker, Julius Randle helped take Kentucky to a National Championship game. Jumping from the college level to the NBA wasn’t so bad, thanks to Coach Cal’s system at Kentucky.
The former seventh-overall draft pick is in Chicago this week and stopped by ESPN’s desk at the NBA Combine to talk about upcoming free agency, his draft experience and much more. Naturally, his time at Kentucky was a talking point. Randle said the expectations at UK are not so different than the Lakers.
“It’s very similar, to where the fans expect a lot out of you. It’s great. You love to have a fanbase that’s passionate.”
The Lakers’ fans remain engaged, even though they have not had much success during Randle’s four-year tenure. There have been more losses than wins, but he still managed to post some impressive numbers ahead of a restricted free agency offseason.
Randle attributes his success to one of Calipari’s core tenets: accountability.
“I think the biggest thing coming out of Kentucky that Coach (Cal) teaches is accountability. For young men going into the NBA, there’s a lot of free time, a lot of stuff to where you have to be accountable for your actions off the court, but on the court as well.”
Playing for the Lakers isn’t so different than playing at Kentucky, Julius Randle says pic.twitter.com/q7RWnj62oJ
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) May 17, 2018
By Nick Roush on ©May 17th, 2018 @ 4:17pm
At the 2017 NBA Combine, Hamidou Diallo wowed NBA Scouts with the highest vertical leap at the event. His 44.5″ vertical tied for the eighth-best in NBA history.
Diallo set the bar high, no pun intended. See how he performed under pressure:
?: ESPN 2 pic.twitter.com/YopCFhmJLt
— NBA (@NBA) May 17, 2018
Unfortunately, Diallo could not surpass his previous mark. Even though he almost touched every single plastic marker, it was four inches shorter than last year’s leap. At 40.5,” he’s currently tied for fourth with Grayson Allen.
Diallo’s athleticism manifested in every other drill. Players are still being tested, but he’s currently in the top five of the shuttle run (4.44), three quarter sprint (3.1) and lane agility (10.53). You’ll find all of the combine numbers here.
By Nick Roush on ©May 17th, 2018 @ 2:45pm
A pair of Wildcats will scrimmage in front of dozens of scouts at the NBA Combine in Chicago.
The rosters have been released for the 5-on-5 portion of the combine.
Hamidou Diallo will play for Team Two alongside Kansas’ Devonte Graham, UCLA’s Kris Wilkes and Louisville’s Ray Spalding. P.J. Washington will team up with Kansas’ Malik Newman, Auburn’s Austin Wiley and West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate on Team Three.
Kentucky’s Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, both projected to be lottery picks, are noticeably absent from the roster, seen below:
The scrimmages will take place after players are tested in a variety of drills. You can catch all of the action on ESPN2 from 3:00-7:00 today and tomorrow.
The fine reporters at ESPN just notified us that even though he’s on the roster, Hamidou Diallo will not participate in the scrimmage portion of the combine. A surprising move, maybe he believes less is more?
The NBA Combine is officially underway in Chicago.
The festivities began with simple measurements. The results from Kentucky’s representatives — Hamidou Diallo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and P.J. Washington — prove just how lengthy last year’s team was.
|Player||Body Fat||Hand Length||Hand Width||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/Shoes||Standing Reach||Weight||Wingspan|
Gilgeous-Alexander has the lowest body fat of any NBA Combine participant. Hamidou Diallo is not far behind at fifth.
Click here to see how they compare with the entire field, and stay tuned to KSR for more combine coverage throughout the day.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 16th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
Former Kentucky star Anthony Davis has been named a finalist for the Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
For the MVP award, he joins NBA superstars LeBron James and James Harden on the list of finalists.
The finalists for the 2017-18 #KiaMVP are…
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 17, 2018
As for the DPOY award, Davis joins Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Utah’s Rudy Gobert on the list.
The finalists for the 2017-18 #KiaDPOY are…
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 17, 2018
Despite being fired by the Toronto Raptors this week, former Wildcat Dwane Casey is a finalist for the NBA Coach of the Year Award, as well.
Casey joins Boston’s Brad Stevens and Utah’s Quin Snyder on the list.
The three finalists for NBA Coach of the Year… Dwane Casey, Quin Snyder and Brad Stevens!
— NBA (@NBA) May 17, 2018
The official Raptors Twitter account awkwardly congratulated “coach” after the announcement…
Congrats Coach! https://t.co/KG68c3Icu7
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 17, 2018
Here are the finalists for all six NBA end-of-year awards:
Congratulations to both Davis and Casey for the honors!
By Drew Franklin on ©May 16th, 2018 @ 4:45pm
PJ Washington is one of four NBA prospects representing the University of Kentucky at this week’s NBA combine, and the only one of the bunch to have not hired an agent. There is some talk that he is eager to keep his name in the draft, but needs promising feedback from the league to do so. If that is the case, it will take a strong showing in Chicago to climb up draft boards and earn the confirmation he needs to remain in the draft.
Washington did get a little bit of positive news on Wednesday in the form of a second-round projection in a new mock draft, which I believe is his first 2018 mock draft appearance. The good people over at SI.com slotted Washington at No. 53 to the Oklahoma City Thunder in their new post-lottery mock. It’s not the first-round promise Washington is looking for, but he’s at least in their draft conversation.
In the meantime, Washington is showing off his new photos from a shoot at the combine.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 16th, 2018 @ 12:00pm
The NBA draft order was set Tuesday night with the lottery drawing in Chicago. If you missed it, this is how the ping-pong balls bounced to determine the order:
1. Phoenix Suns
2. Sacramento Kings
3. Atlanta Hawks
4. Memphis Grizzlies
5. Dallas Mavericks
6. Orlando Magic
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
9. New York Knicks
10. Philadelphia 76ers
11. Charlotte Hornets
12. Los Angeles Clippers
13. Los Angeles Clippers
14. Denver Nuggets
15. Washington Wizards
16. Phoenix Suns (from Miami)
17. Milwaukee Bucks
18. San Antonio Spurs
19. Atlanta Hawks (from Minnesota)
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Oklahoma City via Utah)
21. Utah Jazz
22. Chicago Bulls (from New Orleans)
23. Indiana Pacers
24. Portland Trail Blazers
25. Los Angeles Lakers (from Cleveland via Portland and Cleveland)
26. Philadelphia 76ers
27. Boston Celtics
28. Golden State Warriors
29. Brookly Nets (from Toronto)
30. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston via LA Clippers)
And now that we know each team’s spot in the selection process, we have a whole new onslaught of NBA mock drafts to digest.
We’ll begin with ESPN because it is the World Wide Leader in Sports. ESPN’s new mock draft did not see much change from previous versions. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is still projected to go to the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 12 overall and Kevin Knox to the Washington Wizards at No. 15 overall. Hamidou Diallo is a second-rounder at No. 40 to the Brooklyn Nets.
Over at CBSSports.com, its new mock draft also slots Gilgeous-Alexander to the Clippers, but at No. 13 overall (L.A. has back to back picks). Knox is at No. 14 to the Denver Nuggets, where he would join two other former Wildcats in Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles.
SI.com released a new one too. In its mock, Knox is ahead of Gilgeous-Alexander at No. 11 to the Charlotte Hornets. Gilgeous-Alexander is No. 14 overall to the Nuggets, Diallo at No. 41 to the Orlando Magic, and PJ Washington gets a mention at No. 53 to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
We’ll wrap it up with The Sporting News, which has Gilgeous-Alexander back to the Clippers at No. 12 while Knox falls to No. 16 to join Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis and Brandon Knight on the Phoenix Suns.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 16th, 2018 @ 11:00am
DeMarcus Cousins may have tipped us off regarding his future with the New Orleans Pelicans. Cousins unfollowed the Pelicans on Instagram, which suggests he no longer has a future with the franchise.
Cousins will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and there is a big debate over whether or not the Pelicans should offer him a new deal. It’s rumored they’ll offer him a two- or three-year deal at less than the max, but Cousins will want a max contract and should have plenty of opportunities, despite the injury that cut his season short.
When asked about the unfollow, Cousins replied, “cause I’m grown,” in the comments.
It’s worth noting that he still follows the Pelicans on Twitter, so this could be nothing more than an overreaction to a meaningless Instagram cleansing.
Whatever the case, we’re following Boogie wherever he ends up.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 14th, 2018 @ 10:00pm
After yet another early playoff exit at the hands of LeBron James, the Toronto Raptors controversially relieved Dwane Casey of his head coaching responsibilities.
The former Kentucky Wildcat player and assistant coach led the Raptors to a franchise-record 59 victories during the regular season and ran away with the No. 1 seed in the East. It was a performance worthy of the National Basketball Coaches Association’s coach of the year award, an honor he won just two days before being fired.
Now, there’s a bit more to the story.
According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, the former Wildcat asked for a two-year contract extension after the season, which may have led Raptors team president Masai Ujiri to make the ultimate decision to cut ties with Casey.
Casey sought a two-year contract extension in an effort to maintain job security, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The person requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the decision.
Casey’s wish may have forced Ujiri’s hand ahead of Friday’s decision.
Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun said Raptors president Ujiri denied reports of any contract extension request.
Ujiri also says he wanted to give Casey chance to address media. Adds report of Casey requesting extension wasn’t accurate. Says agent Warren LeGarie and him are in constant discussion. Nothing recent.
— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) May 11, 2018
If the report of Casey asking for an extension turns out to be true, it’s a bit of a questionable move for him. He just signed a three-year, $18 million contract extension two years ago to lock him up through the 2018-19 season. Despite another disappointing postseason run for the Raptors, Casey had one more season left on his contract to capitalize on a solid roster foundation, which could have led to an even longer tenure with the team. With few key draft/trade/free agent decisions this offseason, along with a potential move for LeBron to the West, there was a legitimate shot for an ECF/Finals run for Toronto.
Now a free-agent, there are rumors the Orlando Magic and the Milwaukee Bucks are interested in Casey to fill their head coaching vacancies, though nothing significant has been reported as of yet. That being said, it’s no secret the former Cat won’t be unemployed for long.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 14th, 2018 @ 7:30pm
Two former Kentucky Wildcats are doing whatever it takes to keep their NBA dreams alive.
The NBA G-League Elite Minicamp tipped off in Chicago today, where Derek Willis and Archie Goodwin were two of 51 players invited to workout in front of NBA scouts.
Other familiar names on the list include Kennedy Meeks of UNC, James Blackmon Jr. of Indiana, and Jaylen Johnson of Louisville, among others.
Here is the whole list:
Nice mix of players here at the G League Elite Minicamp in Chicago. Day one in the books. pic.twitter.com/haDQkVWLnc
— Jeremy Woo (@JeremyWoo) May 14, 2018
Here are the teams participating in the two-day event, where it looks like Goodwin will be teaming up with Kennedy Meeks and UCLA’s Bryce Alford, while Willis will team up with UofL’s Jaylen Johnson:
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) May 14, 2018
The G-League Elite Minicamp is a pre-Combine event where the NBA invites some of the biggest G-League standouts from the previous season for a chance to perform in front of NBA scouts and executives. The end goal? Invites to the Summer League and training camp to kick off the 2018-19 season.
This is the tenth consecutive season the event has been held.
Best of luck to both Willis and Goodwin on day two!