John Calipari famously hates the zone defense, but according to star guard Hamidou Diallo, he’s →
Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are both really, really good. The rest of the New Orleans Pelicans roster is not built to help them. At all.
Cousins and Davis combined for 61 points and 28 rebounds in last night’s loss to the Grizzlies. Meanwhile, only five other players on the team scored, and those five combined to score just 30 points. The two former Kentucky big men aren’t going to put up Hall of Fame numbers every night. When they don’t the Pelicans are going to be in some trouble.
Davis is making some history with his start to the past two seasons:
First player since Kareem (1970-71, 1971-72) with at least 30 PTS & 15 REB in back to back season openers. pic.twitter.com/5Nr5pfnUhN
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) October 19, 2017
|Anthony Davis||103-91 loss to Grizzlies||33||9-23 (1-2)||18||0||0||1||5||-15||40|
|DeMarcus Cousins||103-91 loss to Grizzlies||28||9-21 (3-9)||10||2||0||7||4||+6||38|
|Darius Miller||103-91 loss to Grizzlies||0||0-1 (0-1)||0||0||0||1||0||-12||17|
|Andrew Harrison||103-91 win over Pelicans||2||1-6 (0-0)||2||1||0||1||1||-2||19|
|John Wall||120-115 win over 76ers||28||10-28 (0-3)||5||8||0||2||2||+19||37|
|Jodie Meeks||120-115 win over 76ers||14||3-8 (1-2)||1||0||0||0||0||-4||19|
|Nerlens Noel||117-111 loss to Hawks||16||6-6 (0-0)||11||0||1||3||0||+9||20|
|Karl-Anthony Towns||107-99 loss to Spurs||18||8-15 (0-1)||13||1||2||1||2||+0||35|
|De'Aaron Fox||105-100 loss to Rockets||14||7-15 (0-2)||4||5||0||0||3||-7||24|
|Willie Cauley-Stein||105-100 loss to Rockets||21||10-15 (0-0)||10||1||0||3||1||+3||32|
|Skal Labissiere||105-100 loss to Rockets||12||5-9 (0-0)||10||1||0||0||5||+4||33|
|Devin Booker||124-76 loss to Trail Blazers||12||6-17 (0-3)||5||2||2||1||0||-29||27|
|Eric Bledsoe||124-76 loss to Trail Blazers||15||5-18 (1-6)||4||3||2||1||5||-41||29|
|Tyler Ulis||124-76 loss to Trail Blazers||1||0-3 (0-1)||0||2||1||0||2||-16||15|
|Jamal Murray||106-96 loss to Jazz||8||2-6 (2-5)||2||2||0||0||3||+9||20|
|Trey Lyles||106-96 loss to Jazz||0||0-0 (0-0)||0||0||0||0||0||+6||2|
|Malik Monk||102-90 loss to Pistons||3||1-9 (1-6)||0||1||0||0||3||-8||21|
|Bam Adebayo||116-109 loss to Magic||0||0-1 (0-0)||0||0||0||0||0||+3||6|
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 19, 2017
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 19, 2017
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) October 19, 2017
Nerlens gettin' it done on both ends! 💪 pic.twitter.com/Ccz4Vy1zYM
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) October 19, 2017
🦊 🦊 🦊
🦊 🦊 🦊
🦊 🦊 pic.twitter.com/pcyTuKGwsE
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) October 19, 2017
- Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors, 7:30pm ET
- New York Knicks (Enes Kanter) at Oklahoma City Thunder (Patrick Patterson and Dakari Johnson), 8pm ET on TNT
- Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (Julius Randle), 10:30pm ET on TNT
The vast majority of former Wildcats are getting their NBA seasons underway tonight, and one of them has already made a jaw-dropping highlight.
John Wall just destroyed Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Viewer discretion is advised.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 18, 2017
RIP to that poor, poor 76er. John Wall is officially back.
The wait is finally over. Last night, the NBA season tipped off with arguably the four best teams in the NBA playing. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single former Cat that played last night. Tonight is a different story. Here are your games for tonight:
- Philadelphia at Washington (Wall and Meeks)- 7pm (ESPN)
- Charlotte (Monk and Kidd-Gilchrist) at Detroit- 7pm
- Brooklyn at Indiana (Poythress)– 7pm
- Miami (Adebayo) at Orlando- 7pm
- Milwaukee (Liggins) at Boston- 7:30pm
- New Orleans (Cousins, Davis, Miller, and Rondo*) at Memphis (An. Harrison)– 8pm
- Atlanta at Dallas (Noel)- 8:30pm
- Denver (Lyles and Murray) at Utah- 9pm
- Minnesota (Towns) at San Antonio- 9:30pm (ESPN)
- Portland at Phoenix (Bledsoe, Booker, Knight and Ulis)– 10pm
- Houston at Sacramento (Labissiere, Fox, and Cauley-Stein)- 10pm
*-Player is currently injured
Here is your list of all of the Cats in the NBA that was posted yesterday:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 17th, 2017 @ 11:39am
The NBA regular season starts tonight, and to no one’s surprise, Kentucky once again leads all college basketball programs with 27 former players on opening-day rosters. The next closest program? Duke with 20 former players and North Carolina and Kansas with 16 each.
Kentucky players are now on 15 of the league’s 30 teams and make up more than 5.5 percent of the league’s 489 players. Seven NBA teams feature multiple Wildcats, with New Orleans and Phoenix accounting for four each, followed by Sacramento with three.
|Malik Monk||Charlotte Hornets|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Charlotte Hornets|
|Nerlens Noel||Dallas Mavericks|
|Jamal Murray||Denver Nuggets|
|Trey Lyles||Denver Nuggets|
|Alex Poythress||Indiana Pacers|
|Julius Randle||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Andrew Harrison||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Bam Adebayo||Miami Heat|
|DeAndre Liggins||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Karl-Anthony Towns||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|DeMarcus Cousins||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Anthony Davis||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Darius Miller||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Rajon Rondo||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Enes Kanter||New York Knicks|
|Dakari Johnson||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Patrick Patterson||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Eric Bledsoe||Phoenix Suns|
|Devin Booker||Phoenix Suns|
|Brandon Knight||Phoenix Suns|
|Tyler Ulis||Phoenix Suns|
|Skal Labissiere||Sacramento Kings|
|Willie Cauley-Stein||Sacramento Kings|
|De’Aaron Fox||Sacramento Kings|
|Jodie Meeks||Washington Wizards|
|John Wall||Washington Wizards|
Using figures compiled by basketball-reference.com and spotrac.com, Calipari-coached players (which includes Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans but not Jodie Meeks or Rajon Rondo) have amassed nearly $1.5 billion in career NBA contracts ($1.455 billion). In the eight seasons Calipari has been the head coach at Kentucky, his players have totaled more than $1.09 billion in NBA contracts. In just the 2017-18 season alone, UK players are slated to make more than $178 million. Calipari-coached players only (which includes Rose and Evans but not Meeks or Rondo) will make more than $177 million.
That’s a whole lotta money.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 17th, 2017 @ 11:00am
De’Aaron Fox is clearly not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to burgers. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Fox spoke out against one of California’s most venerable institutions: In-N-Out.
Odds are if you know someone who’s ever been to California, you’ve heard of In-N-Out. The burger chain, which exists only on the west coast, Utah, and Texas, has developed a cult following for its secret menu and animal-style burgers and fries; however, De’Aaron Fox, who has had ample time to try In-N-Out since moving to Sacramento this summer, is not impressed.
I heard you’re really into breakfast food. Have you found your favorite brunch spot in Sacramento yet?
Yeah, but I can’t tell you because then people are going to meet me there. All I gotta say, you can tell everybody that lives in the state of California this: In-N-Out is not good.
What’s your beef with In-N-Out Burger?
Their burgers are overrated. They’re OK.
Even Animal Style?
Yes. People always say, you haven’t tried this. You haven’t tried that. I’m like, “Yeah, I looked up the secret menu. I’ve tried it all. It’s just not good.”
That’s controversial. What’s the best fast food spot then?
Honestly, for me, I don’t count Chick-fil-A, because it’s way too good to be considered fast food. So I’m gonna say Wendy’s. Fat Burger in L.A. is better than In-N-Out. My fans know I keep it real. I’ve told so many people I hate In-N-Out, it’s funny. Now everyone can read about it.
I’m kind of on De’Aaron’s side here. I’ve had In-N-Out a few times, and while it’s always good, I don’t think it lives up to the hype. It’s definitely not worth waiting almost 20 minutes in line for like I did in San Francisco a few years ago. You’ve gotta give the chain props for some awesome marketing; by refusing to expand to the eastern half of the country, they keep their mystique intact. Meanwhile, you can get a tasty square patty burger at Wendy’s anywhere, without the wait.
More from Fox, who just bought a new Tesla, at the link below.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 16th, 2017 @ 10:45pm
Have you ever wanted to watch a former Kentucky Wildcat and current NBA star play video games for three hours?
If so, today is your lucky day!
Karl-Anthony Towns went on Twitch to play Battlegrounds with gamers and fans across the world last week, staying on a whole lot longer than most people would…
Check out Towns interact with fans and shoot some bad guys in this video:
Here’s a quick screen grab from the video:
I feel like we say it all the time, but it never gets old.
Never change, Karl.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 16th, 2017 @ 7:00pm
Last night, former Wildcat De’Aaron Fox competed against Harry Giles, Justin Jackson, and Frank Mason in a rookie dance contest at Sacramento’s annual Fan Fest.
Fox did the Soulja Boy, while we also saw hat-tips to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” from Jackson and a backflip from Mason.
How do you think he fared against his formal rivals-turned-teammates?
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) October 15, 2017
Don’t let Colin Cowherd watch this. He couldn’t bear to see another Kentucky rookie bippity-boppity-booping around the court again.
Here’s the 36-second dance he was referring to in Wall’s rookie season:
On a lighter note, here are some other images of former Wildcats from Fan Fest:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 16th, 2017 @ 12:45pm
The NBA season starts tomorrow, which means teams across the league are making their final roster cuts. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Andrew Harrison will make the Memphis Grizzlies’ roster, which is excellent news.
Last season, Harrison averaged 5.9 points and 2.8 assists for the Grizzlies. Interestingly, he and Mario Chalmers are making the roster ahead of Wade Baldwin, the former Vanderbilt guard whom the Grizzlies drafted 17th overall in 2016. The Grizzlies are expected to waive Baldwin today, the second first-rounder they’ve had to part ways with in recent years. Talk about a whiff.
Let’s celebrate Andrew’s good news with his highlights from last season:
By Sam Gormley on ©October 15th, 2017 @ 9:00pm
Even though he was here for just one season, Jamal Murray became a fan favorite. Whether it was his quick release on his shot or firing an “arrow” at EJ Floral, Murray captured the heart of Kentucky fans.
In his first season in the NBA, the former Cat averaged 9.9 points in just a little over 25 minutes per game. This was all while battling two Sports Hernias through the majority of the season. Per the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a sports hernia is a painful, soft tissue injury that occurs in the groin area. Personally, I can’t imagine playing basketball with one hernia let alone two.
Today, the Denver Post published an article about the now healthy Jamal Murray. On the hernias, the article said:
“The pain began as soon as Jamal Murray moved to get out of bed.
It persisted during light pregame stretches. It reached a level Murray “couldn’t explain” when he’d slide laterally on defense or barrel through traffic for a layup.”
Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said that Murray never said a word about the injury, which shows his mental toughness.
The article goes more in depth about Murray and how he has dealt with past injuries. You can find it in its’ entirety by clicking HERE.
Most days we have good news to report about former Wildcats in the NBA.
Today, however, there’s a bit of bad news.
Three former Kentucky Wildcats have been waived by their respective NBA teams.
Despite superstar guard Damian Lillard taking him under his wing, Isaiah Briscoe has been released by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Former Cat Archie Goodwin was included on the Portland roster cuts, as well.
The Blazers have waived Anthony Morrow, Isaiah Briscoe and Archie Goodwin
— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) October 14, 2017
After signing with the Heat on October 11, DeAndre Liggins has been released by the team.
#Heat announce they've waived DeAndre Liggins, Erik McCree and Tony Mitchell. The roster stands at 17 with Derrick Walton Jr. (two-way contract) and Matt Williams Jr. still on the team.
— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) October 14, 2017
This is the fifth time Liggins has either traded or waived this offseason, though the Heat are expected to keep him on their G-League affiliate.
Here was the entire list of local roster cuts to kick off the weekend:
local names on NBA cut lists: Isaiah Briscoe, Archie Goodwin, James Blackmon Jr., Jeremy Evans, DeAndre Liggins.
— rickbozich (@rickbozich) October 15, 2017
With the NBA season officially kicking off this week, this news comes at a rough time as teams are making their final cuts to get down to the maximum 15-man roster. That being said, hopefully we see new homes for the former Wildcats sooner rather than later.
It’s time for another Recruiting Rewind. Want more? Reminisce with me as we look back on the recruitments of John Wall, Terrence Jones, Nerlens Noel, Karl-Anthony Towns, Brandon Knight, and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Does Big Blue Madness signal the official beginning of the basketball season? I always thought it was the first non-exhibition game, but if it means I get to say the season is truly underway almost 4 weeks early, I’ll take it.
So to celebrate the “official” start of the season, we’re rewinding to 2010, when Coach Cal landed the eventual alpha of the 2012 National Championship team, The Brow himself, Anthony Davis.
The go-to fun tid-bit regarding Davis is his remarkable high school growth spurt. Over the course of 4 years, he grew nearly a foot, transforming from a potential Cleveland State point guard to the number 1 overall player in the 2011 class.
By the time his evolution was complete, his opponents didn’t stand a chance.
The word “unfair” comes to mind.
The final race for AD’s services came down to UK, DePaul, Syracuse and Ohio State.
Davis committed to Kentucky in August of 2010, over a year before he would debut for the Cats. Kentucky dodged a bit of a bullet, though, because of allegations that came out hot on the heels of his impending decision.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Davis’ father, Anthony Davis Sr., had requested upwards of $200,000 for his sons’ services. After a swift response from Lexington lawyers, The Sun-Times was forced to amend their piece, now calling the pay-for-play request “rumors”, before eventually citing sources from multiple universities from whom Davis Sr. had requested money.
Nothing would come of the reports, and Davis and his family publicly denied any under the table dealings. They also threatened to sue the Sun-Times, but both sides slowly dropped the issue.
As the hype for Davis continued to build, preseason accolades began to roll in. He was lauded as the potential no. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, as well as being a potential All-American.
But Davis would receive only one vote for preseason AP All-American team.
Man, I bet those folks wish they could cast that ballot again.
Averaging 32 minutes played in each of the team’s 40 games, Davis was assembly line levels of efficient. He averaged a double-double, with 14.2 points and 10.4 boards a game to go along with 4.7 blocks. He broke records left and right, taking a backseat only when someone else was carrying the team.
I mean, the guy was a big play machine.
And where does making plays like that on a weekly basis take you?
By Drew Franklin on ©October 12th, 2017 @ 9:18pm
Do you remember the Kentucky fan’s awesome tattoo of Tyler Ulis from earlier this year? (If not, click here.)
Well, he’s back with another tattoo of a former UK point guard, and it rivals his Ulis ink.
Look at his new John Wall tat:
I don’t know what he’s going for, but it’s very well done. John Wall saw it and tweeted, “Love man!!”
By Drew Franklin on ©October 12th, 2017 @ 9:00am
A door opened for Malik Monk when Nicolas Batum suffered an elbow injury that will keep him out up to eight months. Batum was to be the Charlotte Hornets’ starting shooting guard, but that spot is now up for grabs in a competition between Monk and veteran Jeremy Lamb.
Monk made a strong case for it to be him, in a preseason game last night.
The former Wildcat led the Hornets with 21 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics. He even surprised fans by moving over to point guard, where he provided some much-needed energy at the position.
Then there is this: a three-pointer late in the game to keep his team close — a shot we saw more than once when Monk was wearing Kentucky blue in Lexington.
Malik Monk is gonna be fun AF viewing. pic.twitter.com/0MOUkFSLeD
— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) October 12, 2017
Here are the full highlights from the game:
Sleeper pick for Rookie of the Year?
He was only a hair away from bringing a National Player of the Year award to Kentucky over seven years ago. Today, John Wall has another chance at collecting that infamous hardware, this time in the form of an NBA MVP.
Wall begins his eighth season in the NBA when the season tips off on Tuesday – which seems like an eternity since his time at UK – and this one is set up to be his best yet.
Wall and the Washington Wizards are now in a weaker Eastern Conference thanks to one of the most confusing and exhilarating off-seasons in recent NBA history, and they should take full advantage of it. Other than the two juggernauts in Cleveland and Boston, the East is an open field and the Wizards are ready to run straight through it. Wall is surrounded by his partner-in-crime and Florida alum, Bradley Beal, along with Otto Porter Jr., Kelly Oubre Jr., Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat to make up the Wizards’ core for the season. It’s a core they’ve stabilized for some time now and saw them win more games in a season since the team was known as the Washington Bullets.
But this is Wall’s team. It always has been since he was drafted number one overall in 2010. Coming off of four straight NBA All-Star game appearances, Wall is primed to take the league by storm. In an interview with ESPN, Wall said, “I want to be in the MVP conversation. My expectations are very high.” MVP is no longer a pipe dream. It’s the goal.
When stacking Wall up against the best talent the league has to offer, he has continually been gaining momentum as one of the game’s deadliest attackers and shiftiest sprinters. Wall has a great opportunity to chase after the MVP award, and a lot of his potential success actually has to do with other MVP candidates. Wall finished seventh in MVP voting last season, tied with Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. He finished with more votes than Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant.
Of the six players that finished ahead of him, Russell Westbrook (who won MVP), James Harden, and Isaiah Thomas are no longer “the guy” on their respective teams. Westbrook now has Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to take off the pressure, Harden has Chris Paul, and Thomas has LeBron James and Kevin Love. Those three were all considered MVP candidates because of what they had to do to keep their teams alive and the fact that they had to do so while bearing the majority of the workload. Now, Wall is in their situation, which isn’t a bad thing but it also isn’t necessarily a good thing.
With other top MVP vote-getters likely having to sacrifice their numbers for wins, that leaves the door wide open for players such as John Wall. Now, there will obviously be other contenders in a league riddled with superb talent, but Wall is in great position. After averaging 23.1 points, 10.7 assists (his third straight averaging a double-double), 4.2 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game last season, he’ll look to improve on a statline that saw him break a plethora of individual and team records. If he truly wants to earn that $170 million extension he signed with the Wizards back in July, buffing up those numbers and taking home MVP would be an excellent start.
The Wizards are likely to fight for at least a top-five spot in the East and Wall will take them as far as he goes. Unfortunately, he has to take them far. If he doesn’t, no one else will. The Wizards have little bench depth (no disrespect to their offseason signee and former UK great, Jodie Meeks) and will rely heavily on their guard play. Center Marcin Gortat is a bruiser on pick-and-rolls and a brick wall in the post, but he’s past his prime and limited outside of the paint. Forward Markieff Morris is a big body and a consistent shooter. The two forwards and ‘Juniors’, Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre, both have insane potential to help alleviate the necessary scoring output that Wall will have to create, but until they can take that “leap”, they’ll be seen as highly active role players. Bradley Beal is one of the top shooting guards in the league with lethal range and he’ll share scoring duties with Wall, but Beal isn’t even close to the same level as that of his point guard.
Wall has been limited in preseason action thus far, logging only 31 total minutes between the Wizards two games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks. However, he continues to impress even in games that don’t matter. Kentucky fans know Wall for his blazing speed and dreamlike athleticism. Now imagine that same 19-year old, but with afterburners and entering the prime of his career. Take this blow-by dunk in preseason, for example.
Wall is one of the top two or three fastest players in the league. Only Russell Westbrook and maybe a healthy Zach LaVine from the Chicago Bulls can even attempt to match his speed and agility. Wall led the league in steals last season and also finished third in total assists. He averaged the fourth most points in transition in the league at 6.3 per game. He finished in the top 20 for both total points and free throws made. He made 150 more free throws last season than the season before, utilizing his shiftiness and a sheer will to get to the bucket whenever he wanted to. He did all this while having a top 10 usage rate – higher than both LeBron James and Steph Curry – and totaling the fifth most minutes out of any player in the NBA. Plain and simple, John Wall is a workhorse. He’s only missed 12 games over the past four seasons, or, 12 out of 328 (3.6%).
Wall found himself sitting at the number 15 spot on ESPN’s annual “NBA rank”, two spots higher than the year before, but I’d have him somewhere in the 10-12 range. Wall is officially an elite point guard with plenty of room to grow. He still needs to improve his three-point shooting to a point where he can rely on it (32.7 percent from three last season is not nearly good enough) and his on-ball defense could use some more discipline, but he can make up for that with his speed and uncanny ability to sprint back into plays that he fell out of.
The Wizards as a team aren’t anything to get too excited about, considering what else is going on around the league, but Wall will be the best player on a playoff contender with hopes of dethroning the best the Eastern Conference has to offer. He’ll surely see plenty of double teams and how he handles the added pressure will determine not only his team’s destiny, but also his own.
Wall was robbed of being awarded the best player in college basketball seven years ago, but if he can lead this Wizards team to the promised land, he’ll be the one collecting the well-deserved hardware.
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
We knew it wouldn’t take long for DeAndre Liggins to find a home. The Miami Heat just announced they have signed Liggins, who will join fellow Cat Bam Adebayo in South Beach to start the season. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Liggins sure looks happy signing that contract:
Liggins spent last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Dallas Mavericks, and, through a series of offseason trades, ended up in Atlanta and was immediately waived a few weeks ago. Now, he’ll return to Miami, where he played with the Heat in 2014. He also spent two seasons with the Heat’s D-League (not calling it G-League!) affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. It was with the Skyforce that he achieved most of his D-League success, winning Defensive Player of the Year twice and helping them win the 2016 Championship.