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4 former Wildcats ranked among best guards in NBA this season

One Wildcat on the list drew some strong praise. “His All-Star peak isn’t just in play. It feels inevitable.”

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball program is one of the most famed in the country. They produce elite talent almost every season, having a myriad of first-round picks over the last decade.

From players like Anthony Davis to John Wall, the Cats have had several All-Stars at multiple positions. This season, despite not seeing a star like Wall play a single game, many Wildcats were still ranked among the NBA’s best at their respective position.

That said, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey and Dan Favale combined to rank the top-15 point guards and shooting guards from this season, one that’ll officially be over when a team is crowned champion in Orlando.

As point guards are concerned, De’Aaron Fox and Eric Bledsoe were the only former Wildcats to make the cut. Bledsoe, who is the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks, came in at No. 12.

Ironically, Fox came in at No. 11, immediately following Bledsoe. Fox has a strong future ahead of him as the young stud is a mere 22 years old.

“As (or if) Sacramento fills out the roster around Fox with more reliable offensive players, and defenses can afford less focus on the point guard, Fox’s ability to attack one-on-one will yield even better overall numbers,” the duo said of Fox.

Last season, Fox averaged 20.4 points on 48% from the field. Having been injured throughout the season, Fox should be able to bounce back with even better numbers next year.

As for shooting guards, the Wildcats have a few of the league’s elite.

Young, second-year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander came in at No. 7. While many may consider that high for SGA, he proved to be one of the most talented guards in the league in 2020.

“All the tricks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander flashed as a rookie have proved to be but a prelude. He is no longer a young prospect ahead of schedule. He’s one of the NBA’s most underrated scorers.... His All-Star peak isn’t just in play. It feels inevitable,” they wrote.

Averaging 19.3 points on 47% from the field and 35% from deep, SGA proved to be a terrific all-around stud. He’s a star in the making, and, as they noted, his high upside is starting to be inevitable.

He wasn’t the highest-ranked former Wildcat shooting guard though. Coming in at No. 5 is Devin Booker, the Phoenix Suns superstar guard. Booker was absolutely dominant in 2020 but still struggled to make his Suns one of the better teams in the Western Conference.

“Between his continuously improving feel for jump-starting an offense, multilevel scoring and the ability to leverage touch and cutting without the ball, Booker is now, without question, one of the league’s most impactful players,” they said.

Among other compliments the duo gave him, calling him one of the most impactful players is extremely accurate.

Booker has developed from just an elite scorers to a phenomenal all-around playmaker, averaging over six assists per game as well as a career-high in shooting percentages from the field and free throw line.

These four players have represented UK well at the sport’s highest level, and it’ll be exciting to continue watching them grow.