The Kentucky Wildcats have become the epicenter for elite NBA talent over the last decade. From Karl-Anthony Towns to Devin Booker and all the way back to even Rajon Rondo, the Wildcats’ program has continued to produce top-tier prospects.
We’ve even seen another star start to bud this postseason with Tyler Herro stepping up in a big way for the Miami Heat. That said, if you were to start a franchise today, which players in the entire NBA that are under 25 would you take?
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype asked that question to league executives and then polled the answers. Here are where the former Wildcats come in at.
No. 3: Devin Booker
“He’s more of a pure scorer and shooter, but he doesn’t defend much,” an executive noted to Scotto.
A first-time All-Star this past season, Booker led the Suns to a perfect 8-0 record in the bubble. He’s the real deal.
No. 5: Bam Adebayo
“Bam is better defensively than Jokic. He’s a great rim protector and in pick-and-roll action. He can defend different coverages, and he’s a great passer on top of his great finishing ability,” an executive said.
Adebayo has become one of the most versatile centers and is paving the way for the next generation of players at the position.
No. 7: Jamal Murray
“Whatever level he’s played against, he’s always been one of the best and has a killer mentality,” an executive said. “This playoff run has shown that.”
Murray has been electric for the Nuggets, one reason they’ve been able to historically come back from two 3-1 deficits.
No. 11: De’Aaron Fox
“His speed and ability to create and make shots will get much better. He also has a chance to be an outstanding defender with his athleticism,” an executive noted.
Fox didn’t breakout into the superstar many thought he would as he struggled with injury. In 51 games, he did average 21.1 points per game and handful of steals. He’ll prove he’s the real deal next season.
No. 13: Karl-Anthony Towns
“He came in raw offensively. Now, the offense runs through him. He can bring the ball up court, pass out of the high post, jump above the square, score all the energy baskets. He’s a high-level rebounder on both ends, and has a toughness and energy that’s unmatched at the five. He defends one through five, makes tough plays on the ball and blocks shots. He does more things that help you win games than Towns for me,” an executive pointed out.
Towns at this low is sad. Putting up 26.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists, these executives need to put some respect on his name as he could also be among the best centers in the NBA next season.
Now, it should be noted this ranking came out before Tyler Herro’s magical performance on Wednesday, which saw him score a career-high 37 points in Miami’s 112-109 win over the Celtics. I’d venture to guess if this list were made after that performance, we could have seen Herro added to this list.