Since Kentucky isn’t represented on the floor at this year’s NBA Finals, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at some of the top performers in NBA Finals history to come from the University of Kentucky. I’ve created a starting lineup comprised only of NBA Champions and have also included some of their key stats leading up to their NBA championships.
G: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics (2007-08):
Rondo averaged 10.2 points and 6.6 assists per game in the 2007-08 postseason. He also recorded 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game, guiding the Celtics to an NBA title in his first postseason appearance as a pro.
G: Frank Ramsey, Boston Celtics: (7-time NBA Champion)
As the most decorated NBA champion in UK history with seven NBA titles, Ramsey averaged 13.6 points and 5 rebounds per game throughout his career in the postseason with the Celtics in the 1950’s and 60’s.
G-F: Kevin Grevey, Washington Bullets (1977-78)
Grevey averaged 15.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2 assists per game in the 1978 postseason. Grevey was teammates with Kentuckian and Louisville Cardinal Wes Unseld as the Bullets captured the NBA title in 1978. Grevey moved from small forward to his more natural position of off-guard in the 1977-78 season.
F: Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons (2003-04)
In his second year as a pro, Prince averaged 9.9 points, 6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and slightly over 1 steal and 1 block per game in the 2004 postseason run to the NBA title for the Detroit Pistons. Prince is most known this season for his crucial block of Reggie Miller in the Eastern Conference finals.
F: Cliff Hagan, St. Louis Hawks (1957-58)
Hagan averaged 19.9 points while shooting .443 from the floor, second best in the league, in the Hawks’ 1958 championship season. Despite his height, Hagan found a way to dominate inside and averaged 10.5 rebounds per game in the 1958 postseason, along with 27.7 points per game.
Head Coach: Pat Riley, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat (5-time NBA Champion as a head coach)
Including Riley as a player, there are seven other Wildcats who have won an NBA Championship. Can you name them all?
(Stats and info courtesy of bigbluehistory.net, basketballreference.com and nba.com)