Point Guard: Brandon Knight
Power Forward: Terrence Jones
Center: Enes Kanter
I think we all can agree that the three starting spots above are pretty much set in stone. Kentucky really doesn’t have any other legit options at these positions that can rival the talent and hype of the three freshmen above. But, what about the other 2 starting spots? You know, the spots that are often times considered as important as the point guard in the dribble drive.
Essentially, there are 5 guys playing for 2 spots: Darius Miller, Deandre Liggins, Darnell Dodson, Doron Lamb, andStacey Poole. All five guys are versatile enough to play either position, so really you can pair these guys up anyway you want. I also find the interesting situation with 2 guys (Miller and Liggins) who have a year of the system under their belts but are not Calipari recruited players and 2 guys (Lamb and Poole) who are Calipari recruits with no experience and maybe more hype coming into school. Dodson is the wildcard in all of this because, while it appears he will be on the team, who knows how much in the good graces of Calipari he is.
So, just what are the chances that each guy gets a starting spot at the beginning of the season:
DARIUS MILLER (95%)
Outlook: Miller was able to snag a starting spot on last year’s team, there is no reason he shouldn’t be able to this year. He has the skills that Calipari likes in this system, versatile, long, decent ball handler. I thought that Miller did become more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor last year, but could step that up a notch more this season. His outside jumpshot was streaky, but I still trust him to take the open look. And he was a serviceable defender. Point being, unless Lamb and Poole are better than we think, Miller is almost surely going to get one of the starting spots.
DORON LAMB (50%)
Outlook: If Lamb is as good a shooter as some have projected, he should be the frontrunner for the last starting spot. Liggins andDodson both were incredibly streaky shooters last year, and if you could get a consistent shooter on the floor, I would think Lamb could earn some serious minutes. Now, early last season, Dodson seemed to be that consistent shooter, but he was a horrendous defender, which cost him minutes. So, if Lamb is the same way, anddoesn’t have the skills on both ends of the floor, this spot could fall to Liggins.
DEANDRE LIGGINS (40%)
Outlook: I think the majority of fans think the last starting spot is Liggins to lose, but in my view he was non-existent too often last season. He had stretches were he was the 2nd or 3rd best player on the team, and then he would turn back into a turnover machine and start shooting like Chris Johns. To be honest, I kinda like Liggins as the 6th man. This way, if Lamb is hot to begin a game, he gets the minutes. If Lamb is cold or playing poorly on the defensive end, Liggins can come right in and fill that gap. You know what you are getting with Deandre Liggins in the game, but I think the upside of Lamb (if reports are true) pushes him ahead of Deandre.
DARNELL DODSON (10%)
Outlook: Who knows what the situation with Dodson is? Some people claim he was unhappy withplaying time, which I find ridiculous considering he started many games last year. He got the opportunity to shine, and rarely came through. And then he maybe kinda put his name out for the NBA draft? I just don’t know how he can EARN a starting spot this season. In my opinion, there is one way and one way only: BECOME THE BEST SHOOTER NIGHT IN AND NIGHT OUT. I am talking a Jodie Meeks level shooter. If Dodson becomes a 45-50% 3-point shooter, then I say put him in the lineup. But if not, he is too much of a liability to give big minutes to.
STACEY POOLE (5%)
Outlook: The forgotten man of this recruiting class. Poole does fit the Calipari system very well, but all we really have to go on with him right now is that he is a 4-star and Lamb is a 5-star. So, all fans can really think is Lamb is better. He doesn’t have the outside shot that Lamb has, but may be more of a rebounding anddefense kind of guy. Nonetheless, and as sad as this sounds, Doron Lamb will need to be a disappointment for Poole to get the starting spot. And nobody wants any of the guys to be a disappointment, so it looks like Poole will just be a bench guy for the first year.