Earlier this summer, Coach Cal predicted that in the next few years, Kentucky players would make up 10% of the NBA. While that stat may have been a bit too ambitious, there’s no denying that the number of former Cats in the league has skyrocketed since Calipari took over in Lexington. SB Nation’s NBA writers and editors had some offseason fun and prognosticated the Top 100 NBA players in 2017. Eleven former/current Cats made the list:
7. Anthony Davis
14. Julius Randle
20. John Wall
22. DeMarcus Cousins
25. Nerlens Noel
34. Rajon Rondo
46. Eric Bledsoe
49. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
52. Enes Kanter
56. Andrew Harrison
81. Terrence Jones
In addition, SB Nation’s crew thinks that former Calipari players Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans will be the 5th and 48th best players in the league, respectively.
Julius Randle at #14? SB Nation’s Mike Prada defends his prediction:
I’m rolling with Randle over some of the other big names in the class because I see the raw power and skill that could redefine the power forward position. He’s potentially Lamar Odom without all the baggage, a better Anthony Bennett with passing. His defense is the big question mark now, but John Calipari is the kind of coach who will sit you if you don’t defend. I think he’s got as much potential as Andrew Wiggins, to be honest.
After seeing some of his recent tape, I totally agree.
What about the rest of the list? At first I thought Davis was a little high at #7, but considering how he completely alters a game defensively, I guess not. Because I think he’s primed for a breakout year, I feel Wall should be higher. I still don’t think we’ll know about MKG for a few more years.
Check out the entire list here.
H/t to Eric Lindsey