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Kentucky Basketball: Potential lineups we could see for Wildcats this season

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Cal is no stranger to having tons of talent, but this year could be a year for crazy lineups.

Jeremy Chisenhall

Through all eight of his seasons in Lexington, John Calipari has had a massive amount of talent and has put some of the most unthinkable, crazy lineups, and platoons, on the floor over that span.

This season should be no different, but with the massive amount of talent on the team this year, and with some positions crammed with players, we could be seeing a lot of, you guessed it, position-less basketball. Here are some potential lineups that might get some Wildcats fans excited.

The Potential starting five

  • Point Guard - Quade Green
  • Shooting Guard - Hamidou Diallo
  • Small Forward - Kevin Knox
  • Power Forward - PJ Washington
  • Center - Wenyen Gabriel

Don’t be shocked if this is the starting lineup to start the season and the upcoming exhibition games. To me this seems to be the lineup that Cal will throw out there to start the season, and it’s a fantastic lineup. The Cats can cause mismatch problems with Wenyen and PJ playing the two big man positions, but they will definitely have to work on their defensive game to guard some of the elite bigs that they’ll be going up against. This is my starting five to start the season.

The “White Platoon” Lineup

  • Point Guard - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • Shooting Guard - Hamidou Diallo
  • Small Forward - Jarred Vanderbilt (when healthy)
  • Power Forward - Sacha Killeya-Jones
  • Center - Nick Richards

Everyone remembers the White Platoon, right? Consisting of Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson, and Marcus Lee, it was used as “reinforcement” as Cal loved to say. Lyles would later get the starting nod early in the season because of Alex Poythress going down with an injury before the North Carolina game, and that’s the role that Hamidou Diallo would play.

Staying in to add another viable threat on the court, and simply because I don’t see a guy like Jemarl Baker getting that much playing time this season, but I hope I am wrong. This lineup is a scary good one and easily a top-25 team all on it’s own. I’m not saying Cal will go platooning again, but maybe keep an eye out on it with all this talent on the bench.

The “Oh-my-word-that’s-a-really-tall-lineup” Lineup

  • Point Guard - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • Shooting Guard - Kevin Knox
  • Small Forward - Wenyen Gabriel
  • Power Forward - Sacha Killeya-Jones
  • Center - Nick Richards

This would be the tallest lineup in the country. Having a 6’9” Kevin Knox at Shooting Guard would just be absolutely crazy, and almost unguardable. Of course, I’m saying this lineup would be really good, and tall obviously, if SKJ turns out to be the changed player that we have been getting glimpses of early this season.

Having every player in this lineup 6’6” and above is reminiscent of 2015, and we all know how fun that season was. If things come to fruition, I can easily see this lineup taking the floor in some games this season. Especially to combat with teams with our size similar to ours, which we probably will not see until March.

The Defensive Lineup

  • Point Guard - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • Shooting Guard - Hamidou Diallo
  • Small Forward - PJ Washington
  • Power Forward - Wenyen Gabriel
  • Center - Nick Richards

I know it was only the Blue-White game, but Nick Richards had 8 blocks and looks to be a shot blocker that Cal has lacked for the past two seasons. Richards is every bit of 7 foot and is hopefully going to have a monster season. Combine that with two back-court guys in Hami and SGA, who each have a seven foot wingspan, and Wenyen who looks quicker, faster, and also has a seven foot wingspan, and you get a defensive lineup that might even rival that of the 2015 team.

We know we’ve heard rumblings of Cal wanting to play zone, and we know he’ll go man-to-man as usual, and this lineup can do both. Long enough to play zone and get out to their opponent extremely quick, and fast enough to stay in front of their man and rotate over for help-side defensive blocks, this is a lineup that will be on the court when it comes down to getting a big-time defensive stop.

The “Firing-on-all-cylinders-offense” Lineup

  • Point Guard - Quade Green
  • Shooting Guard - Hamidou Diallo
  • Small Forward - Kevin Knox
  • Power Forward - Jarred Vanderbilt (when healthy)
  • Center - PJ Washington

And finally on the list, but not on the court because this lineup could out-run anyone anyway, is the fire-power offensive lineup. Everyone in the lineup brings a specific scoring threat to the table whether it be Quade’s ability to beat you up the floor and run the fast break, or Hami’s ability to get to the basket and dunk on your face, or Knox’s three-point shooting and outside threat, this lineup would be up a lot of points. And I mean a lot.

It’s a smaller lineup sure, but it’s the lineup most fit to run a fast paced, beat you up the floor and throw some lobs, or hit a couple threes lineup. And when Vanderbilt comes back, that will provide another mismatch at his position with his ability to score, and he can even play some point guard as well. I have a gut feeling we will be seeing this lineup when Jarred gets back to 100 percent.

I think I like Position-less basketball. What are some lineups you would like to see from the Cats this season?