Halfway through the Kentucky Wildcats basketball season, Alex Poythress has emerged as the scapegoat for many UK fans, whether it is fair or now. Despite that perception, the common consensus is that no matter what happens this year, Poythress, along with his Kentucky mates, are virtually guaranteed a high NBA draft position, solely because the NBA drafts on potential. But is that necessarily the case?
As Ronnie the Limo Driver says “Whoa, whoa whoa, stop the clock”. It seems that this season may be affecting Poythress’ draft position. NBADraft.net, which is one of the main mock draft sites for the NBA drafts, does NOT list Poythress in their 2013 mock draft. Poythress did not just fall out of the first round, mind you, but he dropped out of the draft entirely. Poythress is listed as the number 10 pick in the 2014 draft, behind James Young and Andrew Harrison. The draft stock for Nerlens Noel (4th), Willie Cauley-Stein (9th) and Archie Goodwin (13th) do not seem affected, even though you could argue that at this point, only Noel has demonstrated he is worthy of a NBA draft pick.
It’s all speculation but I could not help being a tiny bit giddy thinking about the mock draft that sends Noel to New Orleans, pairing him with Anthony Davis.
Speaking of the NBA draft, remember last years “draft cats”? Of course you do. Well, take this for what it is, but Adam Zagoria tells us that the much ballyhooed “NBA Six” are not necessarily tearing up the league this year:
Remember all those Kentucky players chosen in last year’s NBA Draft?
Six of them altogether.
Well, three of them are now in the NBA D-League after the Milwaukee Bucks sent Doron Lamb down to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Saturday.
Lamb joins Terrence Jones (Houston Rockets) — the No. 18 overall pick — and Darius Miller (New Orleans Hornets) — the No. 46 pick — as members of the 2012 NCAA champions on D-League rosters.
The 6-foot-4 Lamb, a Queens, N.Y. native, was the No. 42 overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft. He has appeared in 23 games for the Bucks this year, averaging 3.4 points and 12.2 minutes. He scored a season-high eight points on four occasions.
Of the six Kentucky players drafted, only Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — the No. 1 and 2 overall picks — are contributing meaningfully to their teams.
Maybe this year’s team should look at this information and see that even being the best team in college basketball last year does not equate to immediate NBA stardom.
When the basketball polls come out today, the Louisville Cardinals have a very good shot at being the number one ranked team in the country while the Kentucky Wildcats will be unranked. If that sounds historical, it is. WBN stat guru Corey Price texted me that if this happens, it will be the first time ever. By comparison, Kentucky has been ranked number one 51 times while the Cardinals have not been ranked first at all. Despite that, it is a good time to be a Cardinal fan with the Sugar Bowl Championship and the possible number one ranking.
Even with that, it seems that Cardinal coaches can not quit looking to Kentucky for inspiration. Charlie Strong made comments that the UL fanbase should be more like the BBN and now Rick Pitino is jumping on the “Be like Kentucky” train:
Louisville coach Rick Pitino, it turns out, has been secretly motivating his team by offering a parallel that is all but unmentionable on campus. Apparently he has told his players he wishes they played more like the University of Kentucky.
Now, Pitino was not referring to John Calipari’s Kentucky. He was talking about his Kentucky, more specifically the 1995-96 team that went 34-2, won a national title and included seven NBA first-round picks.
He has explained to these Cardinals that if they want to be great, they will need to become as relentless as those Wildcats. Big leads will need to turn into bigger leads. Attacks will have to remain constant.
“He’s always bringing up that their victory margin was like 28,” forward Chane Behanan said. “Golly, they was smacking people.”