The 2016 NBA Draft saw three Kentucky Wildcats drafted, but it still didn't go how John Calipari thought it would play out.
The hope going into the draft was Jamal Murray would hear his named called in the top five, possibly at No. 3, and at worst, go No. 5 to the Timberwolves to team up with Karl-Anthony Towns. They have a great foundation laid and are poised to become a winning franchise sooner rather than later.
Instead, Murray went No. 7 to the Nuggets, a team with decent talent, but still doesn't have much upside for now. They've also got several quality guards, so Murray may have time seeing the floor as much as he would have with the Wolves, Pelicans or Celtics, all of whom need more shooters like the best three-point assassin Murray is.
Tyler Ulis apparently does have something wrong with his hip. That's about the only way to explain his fall to the 34th pick by way of the Suns.
Sure, teaming up with four other former Cats is great, but there's no room there for Ulis to get significant minutes anytime soon, especially if his hip injury requires surgery. Unless the Suns move someone, there's too much in their backcourt for Ulis to have a big role with them.
As for Skal Labissiere, he was widely expected to be drafted somewhere in the lottery (first 14 picks). Instead, he endured arguably the biggest Draft Day fall of any prospect before the Kings grabbed him with the 28th pick.
While it's nice to see Skal team up with DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein and possibly Rajon Rondo (impending free agent), the Kings have been a dumpster fire for the past decade. Skal needed to land with a team that would be patient and properly develop him. The Kings can't stay committed to a coach for more than a year, if even that.
And you now Cal loved to see guys like Thon Maker, Georgias Papagiannis and Guerschon Yabusele, who were projected as late second-round picks, to instead going ahead of Cal's guys, especially when it came to Thon, a guy who hid in prep school instead of playing in college like Skal, but it was Thon who was rewarded by going 10th overall.
All of this is why John Calipari spent much of Draft Night unusually anxious, flustered, and even defeated as he watched his kids fall much further than anticipated, not to mention seeing Alex Poythress go undrafted after some ranked him as a top-50 prospect.
But the atypically somber feeling around Cal's table at the draft does not appear to have lasted into Friday. This morning, Cal posted a message at his website, reflecting on the draft as a whole, and looking ahead to his Cats' NBA futures.
"I want everything for our kids. I want them to achieve success on the court, to become the best version of themselves, to be drafted in the best position, to be the best players in the NBA and eventually earn their degrees. I truly want each of them to be the best of the best."
"The goal is to be drafted. I want all of my guys to be drafted in the top 10 picks, and when they’re not I’m disappointed. But by being drafted, each player can prove themselves to an NBA team.
"If they’re not drafted, like Alex, now it’s time to pick the right team like Aaron Harrison did, and prove yourself in the summer league. I think Orlando is a good landing spot for him.
"The bottom line is this: NBA teams may miss some in the draft, but very rarely do they miss in evaluating players playing in the NBA. There’s too much data and too many comparable players for them to miss."