Willie Cauley-Stein made his name known with the Kentucky Wildcats as one of the best rim protectors, if not the best, in college hoops. The 7-foot center averaged just 8.0 points per game through three seasons at Kentucky but coupled those with 2.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per outing.
Cauley-Stein was a menace on the defensive end, and that was supposed to translate well to the NBA. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft never quite found his footing in the NBA. He played in the league for seven years and was on four different teams. He averaged 12.8 points per game and shot 50.2% during his best year in the league but has ultimately decided to end that pursuit and take his talent to Italy.
Cauley-Stein will be playing for Openjobmetis Varese next season, and when introduced, he didn’t mince words about the NBA.
“I chose to come to Europe because of the more tactical way of playing compared to the one vs. one basketball that is played today in the NBA, which is conditioned by the players’ desire to produce personal statistics.
“Here in Europe, every game and every ball is important, not like in the NBA where all 82 games are equal,” Cauley-Stein said via Sportando.
Cauley-Stein went on to talk about his golf game and the passion the fans of the city have for the team, so it seems like he will have a good home there for a few seasons. Trill isn’t the only player to critique the NBA, and the defensive three-second violation not being part of the game could be a huge reason why Europe has to play for team ball.
Nonetheless, Cauley-Stein does make relatively good points, and there are some that have been heard before. For now, they likely will fall on deaf ears as more team-style basketball could produce fewer highlight reel-type opportunities in the NBA.