This week BBN will be treated to August basketball for the second straight year. This evening a team of UK pros consisting of Keith Bogans, Tayshaun Prince, Nazr Mohommad, Jodie Meeks, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Rajon Rondo, and DeMarcus Cousins will take on the Dominican National Team. On Tuesday night a slightly different squad will do the same, with Brandon Knight, Josh Harrellson, and DeAndre Liggins taking the place of Meeks, Bogans, and Prince.
Naturally this leads to the Most Important Question of the Summer: which Kentucky Pro Team is better?Of course the question itself is rather silly, but it's still fun to talk about. Due to the make up of the teams, this essentially comes down to Prince, Meeks, and Bogans versus Knight, Liggins, and Harrellson. Both groups of players have qualities to recommend them in these games.
Prince, Bogans, and Meeks
- Experience. This trio has a combined 19 years of NBA experience. That's quality experience too - not just "13th man trying to hold on to a roster spot" kind of experience. Prince has a ring and been a key cog in several good Pistons teams. Bogans has bounced around a bit, but was a key role player the last couple seasons for good Spurs and Bulls teams. Meeks is the youngster of the bunch, but went for a 2nd round draft pick to starting 64 games for the 76ers last season.
- Defense. Prince and Bogans have made their careers on the defensive end. Both are solid offensive players too, but their defense is what has earned them minutes.
- Shooting. Any group that includes Jodie Meeks (or "M33ks" as his basketball-reference page calls him) will shoot well, and of course Prince has been known to go off from time to time.
Liggins, Harrellson, and Knight
- Chemistry. These three just finished leading UK to its 14th Final Four appearance and another SEC Tournament title. They know how to play together and in a situation where there is little to no time for the team to practice together this could prove to be even more valuable. Even if Knight is playing more of a shooting guard role, that still won't prevent him from setting up Jorts and Liggins when needed.
Youth. Consider this the counter argument to experience. They don't have the wear and tear on their bodies that Prince and Bogans do, which might give them a bit more of a bounce in their step. That could prove important since the team only goes 8 deep. They also have recent experience playing with a short rotation, so they know how to pace themselves. Actually, for these guys an 8 man team must seem like an embarrassment of riches.
- Size. Josh gives the team another legitimate inside presence and his improvement has been tremendous on both ends of the floor. Liggins also has good size and length which helps.