The Kentucky Wildcats are going to have one of the best teams in the nation this season. With the loaded recruiting class that features players the likes of Bam Adebayo, De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk that will combine with already talented players like Isaiah Briscoe, there's no denying that Kentucky will be a dangerous team.
However, with all of that talent there is still room to improve. Even the best Kentucky players each have something specific that they could improve this preseason in order to make the team better at the start of the regular season.
Here are some of the top players on this year's team that could still raise their game immensely by improving in certain areas.
If you were to label something in Briscoe's game as "needs improvement" it would be his 3-point shooting. The guard-forward starter shot just 13.5% from 3-point range last season. His shooting overall is less than impressive, as his free throw percentage last season was just 46%, but its his 3-point shooting that was the biggest problem. If Briscoe can become a stronger offensive contributor, there will be nothing stopping him from being one of the best players in the country. He already excels on the other end of the floor, as his lockdown on-ball defense helped UK immensely last season. If he can simply develop a jumper, he'll be one of the most dangerous players on both ends of the court.
It's already well-established that Bam has a lot of strengths. He's able to throw it down over anyone, his post game is improving, and he can accelerate to the rim in transition. However, his mid-range jumper is not his strong suit. A lot of times he gets doubled in the post and doesn't know what to do and it results in a turnover. If he could develop a mid-range jumper, it'd not only help his scoring numbers but also allow him to pull up and hit a shot over a defender before they were even given the chance to double him in the post.
While Malik Monk can excel on the break and throw down some very vicious and flashy dunks, there's one part of his offensive game that he struggles with, and that's his 3-point shot selection. His 3-point shot as a whole could use improvement, but one way to help that immensely without even taking any extra shots after practice is to make better decisions as to when to shoot. If he can do that, he'll be halfway there. If he can combine that with some extra jump shot work from deep, he'll be an unstoppable threat from everywhere on the floor.
Willis thrived as a 3-point shooter last season and was rather undervalued on that Kentucky team. Willis shot over 48% from deep last season, making just under 2 3's per game and attempting less than 4. While his stroke was incredible, he didn't create many shots for himself. His role, simply put, was to work within a play and catch and shoot at the 3-point line. If Willis can shake defenders with the ball and shoot off the dribble, his scoring will improve immensely.
Gabriel grew a ton at the end of his high school career, and is now a lanky and athletic 6'9" forward. He needs to get bigger of course, because his extreme growth made it hard for him to put on weight and he's currently 210 lbs. Other than that, Gabriel's biggest area for improvement is becoming a consistent outside shooter. With how lanky he is, he'll likely be a stretch forward, meaning he'll be out on the perimeter some. In high school he struggled with consistency when it came to shooting. He'd lose confidence after misses and as a result he'd become a streaky shooter. If he can sure up his shot and stay consistent, he'll be able to play the stretch 4 role well.
Fox can really do it all. He's long and quick, he excels on the break, and he can score like no other. However, adjusting to the college game means that his scoring numbers will likely drop, and for that reason he should work on passing more. Gatorade says that Fox had 32.4 points per-game and 4.2 assists per-game, so if his scoring numbers see that expected dip, it would be in his and the team's best interest for him to share the ball more and start looking for double-doubles instead of 30 point games. As you can see on Gatorade's site, Fox averaged 7.7 rebounds per-game and 2.7 steals, so passing is really the only aspect he needs to build on.
Jones' biggest weakness is his strength. As far as his fundamentals go, he excels in just about every aspect. But physically, he's got a chance to fall victim to the same fate as Skal Labissiere, whose slight frame tanked his draft stock after scouts watched him get bullied in the post. If Jones can add muscle and make himself more formidable down low, he'll have his weaknesses minimized.