Two months ago I wrote a “First Quarter Update” on every player in the NBA who is a former Kentucky Wildcat. Now that we are just two weeks from the NBA All-Star weekend, as well past the mid way point, here is my Second Quarter Update.
The former Kentucky Wildcats have far and away the most players in the annual All-Star game with four (Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins, John Wall and Karl-Anthony Towns). Davis is averaging a double-double of 26.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest with a PER of 28.48 (good for 5th in the league).
Alongside Davis is Cousins, who is averaging 25.4 points, 12.9 rebounds and a PER of 23.17. Both will start alongside each other for Team Lebron in the All-Star game. Wall, fighting through injuries early this season, is averaging a quiet 19.3 points per game but is second in the NBA in assists (9.2 per contest). He’ll also play for Team Lebron.
The lone player on Team Steph is Towns, who has co-lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a top-4 seed in the gritty Western Conference. He earned his first all-star appearance by averaging 19.9 points and 12.1 rebounds with a PER of 23.81.
One all-star “snub” who isn’t being recognized for being so is Devin Booker. Booker is stuck on an underachieving team and has battled injuries as well but is still averaging 24.8 PPG and dishing out 4.7 assists. The rising star has only shown development in his game and is becoming a popular topic in the NBA.
While rookies Bam Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk aren’t in the conversation for Rookie of the Year, they were also left off the NBA’s Rising Stars rosters. None have been very impressive, with Fox being the only one to eclipse 10 PPG with 10.4.
Jamal Murray, however, will represent Team World in the Rising Stars game. Murray is playing a significant role for the Nuggets who are fighting for a playoff spot of their own in the Wild West. He’s averaging a career high 16.24 PPG.
His fellow sophomores (Alex Poythress, Skal Labissiere and Tyler Ulis) don’t have the role Murray has due to more mature players in front of them. Poythress is barely seeing any playing time Labissiere has played in 41 games but is seeing limited minutes to average just eight points and four rebounds per contest. Ulis is in the same boat, averaging seven points and four assists.
One of the players in front of Skal is Willie Cauley-Stein. Cauley-Stein is averaging 12.45 PPG while grabbing 6.84 boards. His fellow class (Andrew Harrison and Trey Lyles) are both playing similar roles for their respective teams. Harrison is playing backup point guard in Memphis, averaging seven PPG while Lyles is in the front court rotation for Denver (with Murray) and averaging 10 PPG with five rebounds.
Arguably the most impactful trade so far this season was Eric Bledsoe being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. Though the team’s play has dropped recently, Bledsoe is averaging a stout 17.49 PPG for his new club.
Not far behind the Bucks are the New York Knicks, lead by their front court tandem of Kristaps Porzingis and former Wildcat Enes Kanter. Kanter was traded to the Knicks from the Thunder last summer and he’s averaging a quality 13.56 PPG and nearly 10 rebounds.
One of the older Cats in the NBA, Rajon Rondo, is playing alongside the towers in New Orleans. Rondo missed some games to start the seasons but since his addition to the lineup, the Pelicans’ play has elevated. The stats (seven points and as many assists) don’t show near the impact he makes on this up and coming team.
Alongside Rondo are both Darius Miller and Deandre Liggins. Both are seeing limited minutes but are making the most of it. Miller was leading the league in three point percentage but has recently dropped to 28th. He’s averaging seven points per contest while Liggins is averaging just over a point.
Another player before the Calipari Era, Jodie Meeks, has found a home in Washington D.C. His role is limited (just six points per game) but he’s played in 45 games thus far.
Two former Cats who have similar playing styles are Julius Randle and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Randle is in a contract year for the Lakers, averaging 13.62 points and seven boards per game. MKG is finally healthy in Charlotte but struggling to score just 10.31 points on average.
Patrick Patterson was a key signing for the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer. The vet has struggled to get going this season, however, averaging just three points and a rebound per game.
Some other struggling cats, or players having a hard time seeing the floor, are Brandon Knight, Dakari Johnson, James Young and Nerlens Noel. Knight, of course, was lost this season to an ACL injury last summer. Johnson has joined Patterson in OKC but is averaging just two points in only 21 games.
Young has earned a contract in Philly, but only played in two games. And Noel, who was acquired last season by Dallas, has only played 18 games for the Mavericks.
With the trade deadline coming February 8th, expect to hear a few names of former Wildcats in the swirling rumors.
For more information on former Kentucky Wildcats performing in the NBA, keep up with ASeaOfBlue.com and on Twitter with @ASeaOfBlue and @MonJorgan.