Well Big Blue Nation, our old whipping boy buddy Colin Cowherd is at it again. He decided to come at John Calipari and the familia of former players with a statement as laughable as a Tom Crean freeze frame.
Cowherd spent years and years unsuccessfully trying to tear down John Wall. Feel free to read more about that here if you are not as aware of that saga as some.
Now Cowherd has decided to come at UK as a whole by saying the NBA players that John Calipari produces are underwhelming, immature, and uncoachable. He goes on to ludicrously backhanded compliment Anthony Davis by saying he was gifted, but ‘still waiting on that first playoff win.’
Look, everyone knows that old Colin is pandering for website hits and attention. That is not debatable. You cannot have a take like that without knowing it is a pathetic attempt at staying in the spotlight.
You can say that me writing this article is exactly what he is looking for, well, that is fine with me. Anytime someone decides to have a ‘hot take’ and get attention and create controversy; I am more than happy to get to work and show just how terrible the take is.
The problem with Cowherd is he is trying to be Skip Bayless. Say something so outrageous that gets everyone talking. The problem is Bayless is clearly pandering for attention and he does not seem to hide it.
Cowherd, on the other hand, wants the attention but he does it in a manner where he exposes his lack of ability. He tries to add a certain gravitas to his takes as if it is an actual debatable opinion. I actually listened to his show a few years back and he went on a rant about Scottie Pippen being a top 50 player and how anyone who tried to say different was out of their mind.
Less than a week later, I heard him turn and rail road Pippen for being a product of the Jordan system. He ranted about Pippen being an average player without Jordan to carry him. It was amazing to hear such opposite sides of a take happen so close together.
Having said all that, let us look at just how ridiculous Colin Cowherd’s take on the ‘Cats in the NBA is.
One of his points, specifically about Anthony Davis not winning a playoff game, about playoff success cracks me up because generally UK players are taken high in the draft (an average of number 6 for Cal’s lotto picks). That means they are going to a terrible team.
How many years did it take Jordan or LeBron to win a title? Certainly not within a few years of their career start. Kobe had to have an all-time center to help get him over the initial finals hump.
To rail on kids about playoff success that are 3-4 years into their careers is as funny and short sighted as it comes.
Having said all of that, here is the raw data when it comes to comparing the success of Kentucky’s NBA players versus the rest. I decided to see who the top programs were with the most current NBA talent.
As of the 2016-’17 season opener, UK led the way with 24 players.
UK having the most players is nice, but does it really support an argument against Cowherd’s take of an underwhelming crop of players that Calipari has produced?
The best way to find out the answer is to look at performance of all the players. I looked at the above schools and decided to look at the drafted and NBA players of those programs compared to when Calipari came to UK.
Below is a snapshot of the culmination of the data; we will break it all down after the screenshot.
Kentucky has had many more draft picks than anyone else. In fact their 28 is as many as #2 Duke and #3 Kansas COMBINED. That is crazy. The problem with UK being so dominant in volume, the numbers end up being so skewed on a volume standpoint.
The best way to approach it that way is with percentages and averages. If you look closely, only Arizona has more NBA game per NBA player under their belts. This large number consists largely of Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, and Derrick Williams’ 400+ games each.
Scroll right and look at the top 20 picks performance for ‘Zona vs. UK and it is a no-contest for UK.
Kentucky also has more lottery picks (100% still active) and the most first round picks as well. If Kentucky players were so underwhelming I would not imagine they would have nearly the exact same percentage of players active as the other 5 schools, but that is just me I guess.
The best part is when you then look at the performance of the players from each school in a cumulative angle. I decided to break it down two ways; how do your top 20 picks perform and how do your overall players perform.
As you can see from the above graphic, UK’s players lead the way in points per game, and rebounds per game for top 20 players. They also lead in points per game, rebounds per game, and assists per game for the total average of all their NBA players!
Sometimes you can skew numbers in your favor, but this project is pretty clear and transparent.
Not only does Calipari put more people in the NBA than anyone, those players simply outperform other programs players on the whole and on the average.
I only have one question for Colin Cowherd, which will never be answered, and that is if Kentucky has an underwhelming NBA fraternity... who in god’s name is impressive?
Clearly any group of players that did not originate from Lexington is an inferior one... much like Mr. Cowherd’s attempts to be relevant.