With all the hype surrounding next season’s frontcourt, I thought it might be a good idea to remember just how much talent in the frontcourt Calipari has gathered over the past few years. NBA All-Stars, future NBA All-Stars, heck, possibly even a future NBA MVP have started their illustrious career’s at Kentucky. Which team, though, had the best frontcourt? Let’s take a look.
Starters: Terrence Jones, Josh Harrellson
Off the bench: Eloy Vargas (occasionally)
The Scoop: Although the legend of Harrellson took place that season, the other teams simply were deeper and had more talent. Jorts will have a special place in my heart, and I’ll never forget the offensive performances he put on against Louisville and Ohio State, but he doesn’t really compare to DeMarcus Cousins or Anthony Davis.
Starters: Nerlens Noel, Kyle Wiltjer, Alex Poythress
Off the bench: Willie Cauley-Stein
The Scoop: When healthy, this frontcourt was deep, talented, and versatile. Nerlens was a beast, and although Willie was still very raw as a freshman, he was still productive on the defensive end. Wiltjer struggled a bit more from deep as a sophomore, but he was still a very capable three-point shooter. Poythress also could hit three’s as a freshman, but his consistency struggles were, and still are, well-documented.
Starters: Dakari Johnson/Willie Cauley-Stein, Julius Randle
Off the bench: Dakari Johnson/Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Marcus Lee
The Scoop: Another group highlighted with depth and talent. Julius Randle was obviously the star of the group, but the Cats could also go offense-defense with either Dakari Johnson or Willie Cauley-Stein. Poythress was placed in a more limited role this season, but was very effective when given time. Marcus Lee was dormant for most of the season, but his heroics in the NCAA tournament will not be forgotten any time soon.
Starters: DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson
Off the bench: Daniel Orton, Perry Stevenson
The Scoop: It was a very difficult decision for the top spot, but what I think it comes down to is/was DeMarcus Cousins’ inability to stay out of foul trouble. If D-Cuz was able to play 30 minutes a game he would have been seen as perhaps the top player in the country that season. Patterson’s ability to stretch the defense that season was key as that was one of the few missing pieces of his game heading into the year. Orton and Stevenson both only played sparingly, but were particularly strong on the defensive end.
Starters: Terrence Jones, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Off the bench: Kyle Wiltjer
The Scoop: Ok, so here’s my rational for putting them at number 1. A) They won a national championship. B) At times this frontcourt absolutely obliterated their opponents on BOTH ends of the court. C) The athleticism possessed by this frontcourt was simply insane. At any given time they were going to either dunk on you or block your shot. Davis and MKG get all the glory, but Terrence Jones was a beast outside of that two week stretch in late December. Oh, and it seemed like Kyle Wiltjer shot 100% from three that season.
I’m sure a lot of you disagree, and that’s ok because there’s a lot of strong frontcourts there, but that’s just the way I see it. Where would you rank next season’s bunch based on how you project them?