John Calipari preaches developing players and helping them achieve their dreams of getting to the NBA. However, more and more coaches are also able to help players make it to the professional ranks.
Coach K is doing his best to steal as much five-star talent as possible, while guys like Ben Simmons, Michael Porter, Jr., and Markelle Fultz, are showing that you don’t have to go to a blue-blood school to be a lottery pick.
There is one thing, though, that Coach Cal does better than anyone. He’s the absolute best at helping players get to their second or third contracts. That’s of course when the guys really start getting paid.
A rookie deal in the NBA isn’t anything to laugh about, but when we’re talking about players making hundreds of millions of dollars, John Calipari has shown a knack for not only getting kids drafted but developing them for the long haul.
247Sports recently put together a list of the highest-paid players in the NBA right now.
And four former Kentucky Wildcats made the list.
The newest star for the Los Angeles Lakers — Anthony Davis — came in tied at No. 34 making $27.1 million this season. Davis is in the fourth year of a five-year, $127.2 million deal, originally signed with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Next up, Karl-Anthony Towns will be making $27.3 million this year, tying him for No. 29 overall. The former No. 1 pick is in the first season of a five-year, $158.3 million pact with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Tied at No. 29 with KAT is Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker. Booker is also making $27.3 million this season on the same deal as Towns above. He is the only guy on this list to put up 70 points in a single game, and he’s the only UK guy on the list that wasn’t the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.
Finally, John Wall came in tied at No. 4 — one spot ahead of LeBron James and tied with Kevin Durant and James Harden. Despite coming off a ruptured Achilles this past season, Wall will make $38.2 million in the first year of a $171.1 million pact with the Washington Wizards. 247Sports described his contract as “one of the worst contracts in any sport.”
The UCLA Bruins came the closest to the Cats with three players on this list. However, all three played under current Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Ben Howland. No players came from current Bruins coach Mick Cronin.
The Texas Longhorns, Kansas Jayhawks, USC Trojans, Ohio State Buckeyes, and UConn Huskies all had two players on the list, albeit not all with the same coach. And just for comparison’s sake, the Duke Blue Devils only had one guy on the list.
While any coach in the country can claim their ability to help players get drafted, John Calipari helps set guys up for the rest of their lives.
Maybe, Jay Bilas was right. Maybe, certain coaches can’t “produce” NBA players, considering guys can go anywhere if they want to simply get drafted. However, Coach Cal doesn’t just produce draft picks.
Coach Cal produces NBA superstars.