It's truly astounding the amount of Kentucky Wildcats that John Calipari has helped place in the NBA during his short time as head coach. It's conceivable that at some juncture every team in the NBA will have a Wildcat on the roster.
As of now there are 17 Kentucky Wildcats currently on an NBA roster. Sorry to guys like Darius Miller and Doron Lamb, but this list is strictly for NBA players. This list also gives credit to what players have accomplished over the course of their career. So there may be some ranked a little higher than expected, but they get bonus points for accolades such as championships, All Star appearances, and Olympic Medals.
So without further ado, here are players 17-12.
#17- Julius Randle
Current Team: Las Angeles Lakers
Draft Pick: 7th Overall
Years in the NBA: 1
Games Played in 2014/2015: 1
2014/2015 Stats: 2.0 ppg; 0.0 bpg; 0.0 rpg
This ranking is of no fault to Julius Randle. His rookie season in LA started with heartbreak as the former Wildcat suffered a severe leg injury that sidelined him for his entire season. He played only 14 minutes. Randle was looked as much needed help to a depleted Lakers roster that boasts only of an aging and fragile Kobe Bryant. The organization is in rebuilding mode and Randle looks to be a large piece to the puzzle going forward. And don't be surprised to see another former Wildcat join Randle in the post as the Lakers have the third pick in the upcoming draft. I expect him to move up this list when I do it again next year as long as all goes well with his rehab.
#16- Nazr Mohammed
Current Team: Chicago Bulls
Draft Pick: 29th Overall
Years in the NBA: 16
Games Played in 2014/2015: 26
2014/2015 Stats: 1.2 ppg; 1.7 rpg; 0.2 bpg
It's hard to believe that Nazr Mohammed has played 16 seasons in the NBA. Once an overweight big man project under Rick Pitino, Mohammed became a first round draft pick for the Utah Jazz in 1998. While he never was the best player on any of the eight teams that he played for, he was always a solid contributor that added a big, rebounding, shot blocking body that a team so often needed.
Nazr was a World Champion in 2005 with the San Antonio Spurs. As his minutes and stats have declined with his skills over the years, Nazr remains a testament to hard work and the ability to find a niche and succeed in the NBA, despite never being labeled as a superstar.
#15- James Young
Current Team: Boston Celtics
Draft Pick: 17th Overall
Years in the NBA: 1
Games Played in 2014.2015: 30
2014/2015 Stats: 3.4 ppg; 0.4 apg; 1.4 rpg
James Young's rookie season with the Celtics could be deemed as a disappointment as he was in and out of the D-League for the bulk of it. But his presence with the team gained steam near the closure of the year as he played in more and more games before the postseason. While he is one of the more athletic and talented individuals on this list, his work ethic has been called into question ever since his time at Kentucky.
Young was never a great defender and his fundamentals (please see passing) were lacking. He even admitted that he spaced out in the huddle a few times when John Calipari was instructing. But Young is a talented wing that can shoot the three, and if his desire ever catches up with his ability, then look out. Boston, like their rival Lakers, are in rebuilding mode. But with a playoff appearance in his second season with a young team, head coach Brad Stevens is eyeing another high draft pick. James Young has a chance to be a part of a new era in Bean Town.
#14- Archie Goodwin
Current Team: Phoenix Suns
Draft Pick: 29th Overall
Years in the NBA: 2
Games Played in 2014/2015: 41
2014/2015 Stats: 5.6 ppg; 1.1 apg; 1.8 rpg
Archie Goodwin invokes different emotions when it comes to his career at Kentucky. Some view him as a player that took the weight of the team on his shoulders after Nerlens Noel went down with his ACL injury and did what it took to win games; others view him as a selfish player that never saw eye to eye with coach Cal. However you view him, he was filled with raw talent when he was drafted in the first round.
Like James Young, Archie was in and out of the D-League his rookie season. But this season, he became more of a staple on the court during the second half of the season, going so far as to have scoring bursts of 18, 11, and 10 points during the last two months. The Suns really like Archie and he's given them plenty of reasons to. He's an athletic freak with a high motor and a natural ability to score buckets around the rim.
The Suns have become a bit of a Kentucky fan rooting interest as two other former Cats are his teammates. Goodwin has a lot of upside going forward as a contributor off the bench next season.
#13: Patrick Patterson
Current Team: Toronto Raptors
Draft Pick: 14th Overall
Years in the NBA: 5
Games Played in 2014/2015: 81
2014/2015 Stats: 8.0 ppg; 5.3 rpg; 0.5 bpg
A fan favorite at Kentucky, Patrick Patterson has had a pretty good NBA career up to this point. He started out with the Houston Rockets but has found a home in Toronto and is becoming one of their more reliable players. While Patterson had a steady season, he really took off during the first round of the playoffs, scoring in double digits three out of the four games in a series sweep at the hands of the Washington Wizards.
Patterson shot an efficient 56% from the field and averaged 10.3 points per game in the playoffs. He also shot 47% from behind the arch, something that he really started working on during his one season with John Calipari. Patterson is a wonderful person and a hard working player. There is no doubt in my mind that he breaks out for the Raptors in 2015/2016.
#12: Terrence Jones
Current Team: Houston Rockets
Draft Pick: 18th Overall
Years in the NBA: 3
Games Played in 2014/2015: 33
2014/2015 Stats: 11.7 ppg; 6.7 rpg; 1.8 bpg
Terrence Jones was primed for having a big season with the Rockets. He played in 76 games in 2013/2014 but that number dropped significantly due to a nagging nerve injury that kept him sidelined for the bulk of the season. He scored 25 points back in November against the Celtics before the injury occurred.
But much like Patrick Patterson, Jones found success in the Rockets' push to the Western Conference Finals. He averaged 12.8 points in the conference quarterfinals, 10.3 points in the conference semifinals, and 7.3 points in the conference finals. His best game in the playoffs came in the first game against the Mavericks where he scored 19 points and nabbed 9 rebounds. Jones is a supremely talented player on a team with one of the best big men in the NBA and one of the best overall players. His future is bright in Houston as long as he is healthy.
So that does it for the first part of the list. How do you think I did? How do you think the rest of the list will go? Discuss in the comments section and tell me what you think!