With All-Star weekend having come and gone, it is time to look back on the first half of the NBA season that has been filled with the players that we love, who previously wore Kentucky blue, and are now shining stars in the NBA.
With three former Cats being selected to the NBA All-Star game, the most any school has had in one year, John Calipari's students have finally began fully making their mark on the league. Here are the five best Kentucky players from the first half of the NBA season.
Stats: 26.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals and blocks
The numbers speak for themselves, Sacramento Kings superstar Demarcus Cousins has asserted himself as the very best big man in the entire NBA. The 56 point game Cousins had against the Charlotte Hornets is the highest point total for any player this season, and the highest total from any Kentucky player since the Calipari era.
Cousins has evolved his game completely; stretching out to three point range (52-149 on the season). Demarcus is fourth in the league in both points per game and rebounds per game, as well as posting the league's highest usage percentage (35.5). Cousins will likely be a First-Team All-NBA selection for the first time in his career if these numbers keep up.
Stats: 23.4 points, 10 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 1.3 steals
It hasn't been quite the year everybody expected from Anthony Davis, dealing with all sorts of setbacks from his team struggling as well as personal injury problems. Despite that, the Brow has been one of the NBA's very best. Top five in the league in points, rebounds, blocks and Player Efficiency Rating; AD is undeniably still the best power forward in the NBA and arguably a top-five player in the league. A lot of people jumped the gun on Davis, still only in his fourth year. The Brow's game is still evolving; the best has yet to be seen from the league's youngest superstar.
Stats: 20 points, 9.9 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 steals
John Wall has taken the next big step in his career, and is showing us just how spectacular of a player he truly is. When you round up, Wall is one of two players in the league averaging 20 points and 10 assists; the other being Russell Westbrook.
The high point of Wall's season was a nationally broadcasted game against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Despite losing, Wall played absolutely brilliant in that game; putting up 41 points and 10 assists against the league's best. Wall has jumped the gun as the Eastern Conference's best point guard, and is without a doubt a top five point guard in the league.
Stats: 17.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 54% field-goal shooting.
The number one pick in last year's draft has been nothing short of spectacular for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Towns is the runaway Rookie of the Year so far, and would be the first Kentucky player ever to win the Rookie of the Year honors. The league is filled with skilled big men, but KAT may already be the most skilled already.
You can use his performance in the All-Star Skills Competition, which he won, as evidence of that. Towns' pure athleticism combined with his offensive skills (face up game, pull up jump shot, ball handling, etc), are beyond what we see in any big man besides guys like Demarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. Towns certainly has a fantastic career in store for him.
Stats: 11.9 points, 11.9 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals.
Rarely do you ever see a player average as many assists than points, but Rajon Rondo, a forgotten player in Kentucky history, is incredibly pulling it off. Rondo, falling off the map after a failure stint with the Dallas Mavericks, is having one of the best comeback seasons you can possibly have.
Rondo's 11.9 assists per game currently leads the league, nearly two ahead of the second highest player and is the highest league total since Rondo's 11.7 in the 2011-2012 season. Rondo's career has been rejuvenated this year with the Sacramento Kings, and big blue nation is certainly happy for him.