Kentucky Basketball: Looking at different lineups for 2013-14

Andy Lyons

With the 2012-13 season coming to a close in disappointing fashion, it's about that time to start looking ahead and possible lineups for next season.

Let me preface this article by saying this:

I'm going to assume that Nerlens Noel leaves for the NBA. HOWEVER, I'm also assuming that everyone else returns. I don't want to think about scholarship situations and all of that nonsense. I understand there's been "Kyle Wiltjer to Gonzaga" rumors and all that jazz, but that's all useless speculation that I won't address at this point in time.

For John Calipari, the biggest challenge will be distributing 200 minutes out rather than distributing scholarships. With that being said, let's take a look at a possible roster situation.

Point guard: Andrew Harrison (Freshman), Ryan Harrow (Junior), Jarrod Polson (Senior)

Shooting guard: Archie Goodwin (Sophomore), Aaron Harrison (Freshman), Jon Hood (Senior)

Small forward: Alex Poythress (Sophomore), James Young (Freshman)

Power forward: Julius Randle (Freshman), Marcus Lee (Freshman), Kyle Wiltjer (Junior), Derek Willis (Freshman)

Center: Willie Cauley-Stein (Sophomore), Dakari Johnson (Freshman)

Keep in mind that positions in basketball aren't really locked in. For instance, James Young can play the two-guard and Alex Poythress can slide to the power forward position -- I just like to list players at positions to get an idea of where guys are relative to each other. With all of this information in front of us, let's take a look at possible lineups.

The Twins Lineup:

PG: Andrew Harrison

SG: Aaron Harrison

SF: Alex Poythress

PF: Julius Randle

C: Willie Cauley-Stein

At this point in time, this is what I imagine will be the starting lineup. You've got the twins running the show around the perimeter with Poythress, Randle and WCS in the lane. Spacing could become an issue but if Poythress continues to work on his jump shot, that might not be a problem. In this lineup, you've got Goodwin and Young coming off the bench to boast the perimeter with Lee and Johnson backing up the bigs.

The Fast Lineup:

PG: Andrew Harrison

SG: Archie Goodwin

SF: James Young

PF: Alex Poythress

C: Julius Randle

If Randle can service himself as a viable rebounder in the middle then this could be an explosive lineup. The athleticism in this lineup is unreal and would be a lot of fun to watch.

The Big Lineup:

PG: Andrew Harrison (6'5)

SG: James Young (6'6)

SF: Alex Poythress (6'7)/Julius Randle (6'9)

PF: Dakari Johnson (6'10)

C: Willie Cauley-Stein (7'0)

This could be an interesting look that coach Cal could give a shot. Randle is an extremely flexible player with his combination of size, outside touch and ball handling. If he could come down to the small forward spot, then that'd create huge problems (no pun intended) for opposing teams. If not, then Poythress could take that spot as he's 6-foot-7 himself.

The 'Wow we can shoot threes!' Lineup:

PG: Andrew Harrison

SG: Aaron Harrison

SF: James Young

PF: Kyle Wiltjer

C: Willie Cauley-Stein

Kentucky was 133rd in the nation in 3-point percentage at 34.6% from deep this year. That number should go up drastically next year with the addition of 3-point shooting by the twins and James Young. Throw in Wiltjer to the mix and this lineup becomes deadly from long range. Defense could be an issue with this lineup so I threw WCS to help anchor on that side of the ball.

The Bench Lineup:

PG: Ryan Harrow/Jarrod Polson

SG: Archie Goodwin

SF: James Young

PF: Marcus Lee

C: Dakari Johnson

To this point I haven't even mentioned 5-star recruit Marcus Lee. That's because, for the first time in Calipari's tenure, the Wildcats will have a bench. Lee is a super athletic big who's been compared to former Arizona Wildcat star Derrick Williams. This "bench" lineup would be the starting lineup of 90 percent of teams in America.

The new "Fab 5" Lineup:

PG: Andrew Harrison

SG: Aaron Harrison

SF: James Young

PF: Marcus Lee

C: Dakari Johnson

This would be some achievement for coach Cal, wouldn't it? I can see him trotting this lineup out after a timeout just to flex his recruiting muscles. And if the guys this year ditch for the NBA? This WILL be his team.

The "WE GOT ANDREW WIGGINS TOO?!?!?!" Lineup:

PG: Andrew Harrison

SG: Aaron Harrison

SF: Andrew Wiggins (!!!!!)

PF: Julius Randle

C: Willie Cauley-Stein

I'm not sure how this happens, scholarship wise, but if it did... watch out. Wiggins' name has been thrown around with the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant when it comes to high school prospects. In February, Sports Illustrated came out with an article examining Wiggins, pointing out his limitless potential yet questioning his motor. How'd Wiggins respond? With a 57 point game on 24-of-28(!!!) shooting. He's the real deal.

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As you can see, Calipari will have something he hasn't had before at Kentucky -- flexibility. The number of lineups and bench depth is endless with next year's squad. It'll be fun to see how he utilizes guys and which lineups he'll throw out for certain situations.

Kentucky fans have a reason to be excited for next year. Some people have been saying that last year's group was highly praised too and to not count your chickens before they hatch. But what last year's recruiting class lacked was depth. This year's group has an entire 5-star starting lineup with one 5-star addition to 4 others on the bench. Throw in Kentucky high school 3-star Derek Willis with guys possibly returning from last year's team and you've got a fantastic roster -- ten 5-stars, two 4-stars and one 3-star on scholarship.

Besides, after this year's disappointment, can you blame Kentucky fans for looking ahead?

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @lashy.

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