As most of the NBA has neared or eclipsed the first quarter of the regular season, here’s an update on every former Kentucky Wildcat in the NBA.
Of the 26 former Wildcats who are rostered, 22 have played at least 15 games. Of those 15, 10 are averaging double figures in points per game (Eric Bledsoe is averaging 16 PPG but played only 13 games). Of the 11 averaging double figures in PPG, five are averaging over 20 PPG & four are averaging a double-double of points & rebounds.
Former Wildcats such as Demarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns & John Wall are all either on pace or the fence of having all-star caliber seasons.
Wall has been sidelined with a knee injury, however, that could hold him out for more than two weeks.
Following his trade to the Eastern Conference Milwaukee Bucks, Bledsoe has had an average start of 16 PPG and shooting poor from behind the arc (26%). He’s started all 10 games, however, taking over former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon’s spot in the lineup.
Cousins & Davis have been banging down in New Orleans, ranking 4th & 5th in ESPN rating so far this season. They’re also both top-10 in scoring & rebounding.
First year players Bam Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox & Malik Monk have all earned significant playing time on their respective teams.
Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker both look to be a key piece going forward for the Phoenix Suns. Brandon Knight, unfortunately, has been declared out for the season with an ACL injury suffered earlier in the summer.
Joining Cousins & Davis on the Pelicans is Darius Miller & Rajon Rondo. Though their contributions haven’t been very substantial to date, they could surprise some people as the season unfolds.
Two guards that have been floating around for a while, Deandre Liggins & Jodie Meeks, have found new homes with the Milwaukee Bucks & Washington Wizards and have made the most of their time on the court.
Enes Kanter, following his trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the New York Knicks, has found a new team to excel with by averaging a double-double of 14 PPG & 10 boards. Patrick Patterson, who was signed by the Thunder in free agency, has offered contributions off their bench this season.
Jamal Murray, in his second year with the Denver Nuggets, is averaging a quality 13 PPG in one of the league’s best offenses. Skal Labissiere, who played with Murray at Kentucky & is now part of the Sacramento Kings, is also showing signs of improvement from a season ago (8 PPG & 4 rebounds). His teammate,
Willie Cauley-Stein, has started 14 of 21 games for the Kings to average 10 PPG & 6 boards.
Nerlens Noel, one of the more interesting & lost stories of the NBA, is averaging just four PPG & as many boards for the Mavericks. Another lost talent, though mostly due to injury, has been Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He’s played 14 of 20 games, which is on pace for just 52 games this season.
Julius Randle, though coming off the bench, is averaging 12 points & six rebounds per contest for the Los Angeles Lakers, who are just five games below .500. Dakari Johnson, Andrew Harrison and Trey Lyles (all beginning their third season) have made contributions to their teams off the bench, too.
Expect a halfway update on the Wildcats in the NBA, too, as it’s impossible to tell the story of today’s game without them.