There is arguably no better pipeline to the NBA than Kentucky.
Since John Calipari became head coach of the Wildcats in 2009, 37 former Cats have been on NBA rosters. Currently, 31 players from the University are on NBA rosters, and many others are playing in the G-League.
With that, it’s hard to only pick 10 but here are the top 10 Kentucky Wildcats currently in the NBA.
#10 Rajon Rondo, Point Guard, Los Angeles Lakers
Let the debate begin. Rajon Rondo (the only non-Coach Cal product on this list) may be 32 years old and playing on his fifth team in five years in 2018, but there’s a reason LeBron James wanted Rondo on board in Los Angeles. It’s because there’s no one quite as unselfish. Rondo is still one of the NBA’s best passers. He ranks 23rd all-time in assists and still averaged 8.2 assists a year ago and who could forget the 25 assist game he had against the Nets? Rondo still has the juice and will fit in nicely with a Lakers team who needs the veteran presence at point guard behind Lonzo Ball.
#9 Jamal Murray, Point Guard, Denver Nuggets
Jamal Murray has been outstanding his first two NBA seasons and is a big reason why the Nuggets are on the cusp of being a playoff team. Murray is one of the better scoring point guards in the league. He averaged 16.7 points a game last season. On the glass, he grabbed 3.7 rebounds which is solid from the point guard position. Murray probably will hope to up his assist numbers (3.4 APG) but other than that, he is on his way toward stardom and climbing this list.
#8 Julius Randle, Center/Power Forward, New Orleans Pelicans
After an injury took away his rookie season after one game, it took Julius Randle a little while to reach his full potential. The 2017-2018 season was a good one for Randle. He averaged 16.7 points a game and grabbed eight rebounds a game. He will now take his talents from Los Angeles to New Orleans, and at just 23 years old, we have to think Randle will only continue to improve.
#7 Enes Kanter, Center, New York Knicks
Though he never suited up for the Wildcats, Enes Kanter spent a year with Kentucky despite being forced into sitting out when the NCAA found he was given money in foreign benefits. Despite not playing in college, Kanter has turned himself into one of the NBA’s better centers. After a solid start to his carer in Oklahoma City, Kanter was traded to New York and was one of the few bright spots for the Knicks in the 2017-2018 season. Kanter averaged 14.1 points a game, grabbed 11.0 boards a game (6th in the NBA), and reached his career-high in field goal percentage, shooting 59.2 percent from the field. Kanter is an underrated player and will get the chance to play alongside the latest NBA Kentucky alum, Kevin Knox, in New York this upcoming season.
#6 Eric Bledsoe, Point Guard, Milwaukee Bucks
Eric Bledsoe has been an excellent player for eight seasons in the NBA. He has averaged 13.8 points a game, five assists per game, and often been called a great team leader. Bledsoe had yet another solid year in 2017-2018, despite demanding a trade from the Suns early on in the year. After being traded to the Bucks after just three games, Bledsoe was a big part of a Bucks team that took the Celtics to game seven in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. He averaged 17.7 points a game, and 4.7 assists. Bledsoe should be even better as he will have a full season of no distractions in Milwaukee.
#5 Devin Booker, Guard, Phoenix Suns
Now we get into the players considered superstars. We will start with Devin Booker. Just 21- years-old, Booker has earned enough respect that the Suns just inked him to a five-year, 148 million dollar contract. The 2015 first-round pick is one of the NBA’s deadliest three shooters. In the 2017-2018 season, he averaged a career-high 24.9 points game, dished 4.7 assists per game, and hauled in 4.5 rebounds a game. Booker’s accolades in his young career include being named a first-team rookie in 2015 and 2018 three-point competition champion. Booker’s success at such a young age has earned him a chance to put himself on the Phoenix Suns Mount Rushmore with Steve Nash, Charles Barkley, and Amare Stoudemire.
#4 Karl-Anthony Towns, Center, Minnesota Timberwolves
The top four include four of the 20 best players in the NBA. It’s really a toss-up with the players ranked 2-4 but I will go ahead and slide KAT (Karl-Anthony Towns) here since he is the youngest and still has the most to prove. With that said, he’s still proved a lot like being one of the NBA’s best centers. He’s a way above average score from the center position with a career average of 21.6 points a game, a solid rebounder as he’s averaged 11.7 boards a game over the course of his career. In the 2017-2018 season, Towns hauled in 12.3 boards a game which ranked fifth best in the NBA, and his 1.4 blocks per game ranked in 2017-2018 tied for 13th best. This past season, he became an All-Star for the first time and was named to the All-NBA Third Team. In 2016, he was named NBA Rookie of the Year and named to the All NBA Rookie First Team. All that, and he’s only 22 years old.
#3 John Wall, Point Guard, Washington Wizards
The number one overall selection in the 2010 draft, John Wall, is Coach Cal’s first player selected from Kentucky and boy, has he not disappointed. Wall is a five-time NBA All-Star, the 2011 Rookie Of The Year, and has been named to both the NBA All-Rookie First Team, All NBA Defensive Second Team, and All NBA Defensive Third Team. Wall has led the Wizards to the playoffs four times winning at least one playoff series in three of those four playoff seasons. In an injury-plagued 2017-2018 Wall still averaged 19.4 points game, 9.6 assists per game, and 1.4 steals per game. He’s one of the NBA’s top point guards, maybe the best player in Wizards team history, and likely on his way to Hall of Fame conversation.
#2 DeMarcus Cousins, Center, Golden State Warriors
The NBA’s top center, it’s hard to find anyone who plays with more heart than “Boogie.” A 2010 first round pick, Cousins has had an outstanding career so far split between the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans. Cousins is a four-time all-star and a two-time All-NBA second team member. Cousins is a dominant player in all aspects. In his career, he has averaged 21.5 points a game, is a 46% career shooter, 11 boards a game, and has averaged 1.2 blocks per game. Before tearing his ACL, the 2017-2018 was an above average season for Boogie. He was averaging 25.2 points a game, 12.9 rebounds a game, and 1.6 blocks per game. He will now take that talent to the NBA’s best teams in Golden State and has a chance to be even better when healthy again.
#1 Anthony Davis, Power Forward, New Orleans Pelicans
Despite the incredible talent on this list, Anthony Davis being ranked number one is a no-doubter. The number one pick in the 2012 NBA Draft is just 25 years old and has an incredible resume. He is a five-time All-Star, three-time All NBA First Team member, three-time NBA Block leader, and a 2018 First-Team All-Defensive Player. Davis is the league’s most dominant defensive player. He led the league in blocks in 2014, 2015, and 2018, as he’s averaged 2.4 blocks per game in his career. 2017-2018 was “AD’s” best year yet. He finished third in MVP voting only behind LeBron James and winner James Harden after averaging 28.1 points per (2nd in the NBA), 11.1 rebounds per game (5th in the NBA), 2.57 blocks per game (1st in the NBA) and led his Pelicans to a first-round sweep over the 3-seed Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs. Davis is a superstar and becoming one of the best Kentucky alums in NBA history.