Later this week, after 82 long and sometimes tedious games, the NBA regular season will come to a close and the playoffs will come about providing
months weeks of entertainment. Countless stories have risen during the lengthy regular season; the Heat’s winning streak, the Clippers’ emergence, the Lakers’ struggles, and even Steph Curry’s rise to fame are just a handful of the happenings. But here in the Commonwealth, we typically don’t care as much about those stories as we do about the tales of former Wildcats. Stories like John Wall’s rise to the upper echelon of NBA point guards, DeMarcus Cousins’ seemingly frequent tirades, and Rajon Rondo’s season ending injury were much bigger stories in Kentucky than anywhere else (well, maybe the cities of their respective teams, but it’s close). While they may not wear blue & white on the court anymore, they’ll always be sporting those colors in our minds. Because of this, we here at KSR thought you the fan would enjoy seeing their professional numbers in one convenient place. The below chart contains basic offensive and defensive numbers with one advanced statistic similar to PER.
-Many may disagree, but in my humble opinion, John Wall’s emergence into the elite category was the biggest story of the NBA season from the UK fan perspective. Before the season began, many fans and media alike criticized Wall (fairly I may add) for not living up to the #1 overall pick hype. However, after returning from his knee injury, Wall wasted no time proving why he deserves max contract money. Since his January 12th comeback, he out-performed his career numbers and led the once horrendous Wizards to a 24-23 record.
-Patrick Patterson’s season was one of 2013’s more pleasant stories from the UK perspective. Patterson struggled in the early portions of his professional career. In his first season, he struggled to log minutes given the Rockets’ forward-heavy lineup. His second season was rocky due to his low shooting percentages. However, this season was different as he averaged 10.5 points per game while shooting 51% from the field. Even more surprising was his three point shooting percentage of 38% (50-131) which opened up an entirely new dimension to his game.
-While Damian Lillard is sure to win Rookie of the Year honors, Anthony Davis has no reason to hang his
brow head because his rookie campaign was excellent. Davis may have been on the thin side, but his all-around numbers were spectacular during 2013. He scored efficiently with 13.5 PPG on 52% shooting, rebounded well with 8.2 RPG, and finally defended well with 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. In my mind, the most impressive part about these numbers is the fact he averaged 29 minutes per game. When all factors are combined, Davis ranks 16th overall in Player Efficiency Rating (the most of any rookie averaging over 25 minutes per game).
-Outside of Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist, the other four members of last year’s draft class have been having up-and-down rookie seasons. The four have only combined for 12.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game, leading many to question some of their professional decisions (the decision to go pro was obvious for players like Jones and Miller). While it’s easy to point at numbers and this year’s draft class as evidence, in my mind, it’s difficult to criticize their decisions. A freak injury to players of their stature as amateurs could’ve meant the end of their NBA dreams. Given this, I have a hard time critiquing the move as I would’ve done the same thing. While the move from college to professional is always difficult, these players should develop over time.
-Finally, the older UK players in the league rarely get the recognition they deserve. Former Cats like Chuck Hayes, Tayshaun Prince, Keith Bogans, and Nazr Mohammed are often overlooked given the current rate in which Cal places players in the league. They may all be on the downside of their careers, but they combined for 19.8 points (largely due to Prince), 13.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game on the season. These guys may be elder statesmen compared to the new Cats entering the league, but they can still play.