The NBA Preseason is well under way, and the beginning of the 2016-2017 NBA season is just over a week away.
Another class of young rookies from Kentucky will be bloomed this season. Along with some of the league's stars looking to continue their dominant play, the complete takeover of the NBA by the studs who rocked Kentucky blue is in full swing.
This has been evident throughout the preseason, and some of our most beloved Cats showcased their skills this past weekend.
The leading scorer of the John Calipari-era at Kentucky, Canada's very own Jamal Murray, took the court twice over the weekend. The rookie, taken 7th overall by the Denver Nuggets, looked solid in both games.
Friday, against the Golden State Warriors, Murray put up 16 points, nailing three shots from beyond the arc, with seven assists, five rebounds, two steals, and a block in 27 minutes. Murray played the most minutes out of any Nugget on the team and was tied with former Tennessee Volunteer Jarnell Stokes for the second-most points on the team. Murray was a big contributor for what was a mere one-point loss to the powerhouse Warriors, albeit it was a preseason game.
Murray came back on Sunday with another impressive performance, helping the Nuggets beat the Portland Trailblazers 106-97. Murray, again, led the Nuggets in minutes played with 34. Putting up 15 points (5-11 FG, 1-1 3PT), seven rebounds, three assists, three steals, and the highest overall +/- in the game at +21.
Devin Booker sat out Friday's game against the Dallas Mavericks with an ankle sprain, but we all know the Suns have plenty of former Wildcats to spare. Eric Bledsoe had 17 points (9-9 FT), seven assists and three steals.
Brandon Knight put up 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Rookie fan-favorite Tyler Ulis had 14 points (5-8 FG, 1-2 3PT), and fourth-year man Archie Goodwin scored 6 points as the Suns won the game 112-107.
Deandre Liggins got the start for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, putting up 12 points, five rebounds, and four steals with a +10 total +/- as he tries to earn a roster spot with the defending champions. In the same game, Rajon Rondo scored 20 points with six rebounds and six assists.
On Saturday, the Sacramento Kings faced off against the Washington Wizards in an exhibition game at Kentucky's historic Rupp Arena. The Kings took the game 124-119 behind a 22 point, six assist, five rebound performance from All-NBA player DeMarcus Cousins.
Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 points, five rebounds, and four steals. Rookie Skal Labissiere didn't take a shot in 16 minutes of play, but did get the start; grabbing four rebounds with two blocks and two steals. Wizard's All-Star John Wall had 11 points, four assists and four steals in the game.
The 2013-2014 Kentucky squad was well represented over the weekend. James Young, for the Boston Celtics, had 6 points while shooting 2/3 from the three point line against the New York Knicks. Julius Randle had 5 points, seven rebounds, and three steals in the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Warriors.
Karl Towns dominated the Miami Heat as well, putting up 16 points and 14 rebounds in a 101-96 victory for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Towns, once again, proving that he is in line for a takeover season.
To say that Kentucky is well represented in the NBA is a huge understatement. From All-NBA Team members to All Stars to blossoming future stars, Kentucky is working talent into the NBA like no other college program has ever done.