FanPost

Kentucky Basketball: Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

In June, there aren’t many certainties in college basketball. Talent is debatable, chemistry is unknown, and luck is fickle. The intangibles that transform fingers into fists and winners into champions are aspirations of players and dreams of fans more than reflections of the present. Still, at a time when there’s so much coaching left to do, Red Auerbach’s axiom rings in my ears: you can’t teach height.

And folks, we got height.

Just a cursory read of the roster and names start popping off the page. Karl Towns Jr. Willie Caulie-Stein. Trey Lyles. Marcus Lee. Dakari Johnson. Some names evoke memories of March; others simply remind us of over-produced mixtape videos. Each gives us the flicker of the excitement in the gut that comes with outrageous expectations.

But exactly how tall are we?

For the sake of argument, let’s accept this as our 12 man rotation:

Starting 5

2nd Team

Reserves

Avg. Height (in.)

Center

Willie Caulie-Stein

(7'0)

Dakari Johnson

(7'0)

84

Power Forward

Karl Towns Jr.

(6'11)

Trey Lyles

(6'10)

Marcus Lee

(6'10)

82.6

Shooting Forward

Alex Poythress

(6'8)

Derek Willis

(6'9)

80.5

Shooting Guard

Aaron Harrison

(6'6)

Devin Booker

(6'5)

77.5

Point Guard

Andrew Harrison

(6'6)

Tyler Ulis

(5'9)

Do. Hawkins

(6'0)

73

Here’s that rotation in the context of the NBA:

Position

UK Avg. Height (inches)

NBA Avg. Height

(insidehoops.com)

Center

84

82

Power Forward

82.6

80

Shooting Forward

80.5

79

Shooting Guard

77.5

77

Point Guard

73

75

So, a few things of note. First, in this day of "stretch 4s" and analytic driven corner 3’s, having a massive frontcourt is rare regardless of where you play basketball in America. From Rec Rooms to Rupp and throughout the NBA, if you bring five guys 6’10 or taller to the party, you’re going to be the biggest guys in the room. Second, the only position Kentucky isn’t above average is Point Guard, and that’s thanks to our diminutive, highly touted 5 star dynamo Tyler Ulis. A small price to pay for such a player, if you ask me.

UK

OKC

SAS

IND

MIA

Center

84

82

83

86

83

Power Forward

83

82

83

81

82

Shooting Forward

80

81

79

81

80

Shooting Guard

78

75

78

77

76

Point Guard

78

75

74

75

74

Average

80.6

79

79.4

80

79.4

Again, Kentucky’s average comes out on top, but this time it’s thanks to the twins. While Roy Hibbert helped the Pacers compete for the first time this post-season, coming in at 86 inches, very few teams can match Kentucky’s lengthy backcourt duo. At this point, it’s worth reminding ourselves that Kentucky is not an NBA squad. It’s not on the chart, but all of these guys (with the exceptions of Dakari and Karl Towns Jr.) are skinny compared to the grown men in the NBA. They have the frames, but lack the beef.

Still, even going to the best of the best, we haven’t found a team that matches Kentucky’s height. So, let’s look at the tallest active lineup in the NBA, brought to you by the Detroit Pistons, which played together for 23 minutes last season.

UK Tallest Reasonable Lineup

NBA Tallest Active Lineup

Willie Caulie Stein

(84)

Greg Monroe

(83)

Dakari Johnson

(84)

Austin Daye

(83)

Trey Lyles

(82)

Tayshaun Prince

(81)

Aaron Harrison

(78)

Richard Hamilton

(79)

Andrew Harrison
(78)

Tracy McGrady

(80)

Average

81.2

Average

81.2

So, Wilbon, why again should Cal leave these Cats for the NBA?

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