UK In The NBA – The New Kids On The Block

And the first pick of the 2010 NBA Draft is done. Rookie contracts, either signed or being finalized. Summer Leagues, well underway. So what should we expect from our beloved Rookie Cats in the 2010-2011 Season? We can expect that they won’t be driving beat up cars or living in Wildcat Lodge anymore. With just the guaranteed cash, I’m sure they will be rolling in something I can’t afford and living in a home where their bedroom is larger than my entire crib.

From the day John Wall committed to Kentucky, the Big Blue Nation began salivating over a possible Final Four or even a National Title. Rightfully so as first year Coach John Calipari had once again, in a matter of months, made Kentucky Basketball relevant. The Overall No. 1 Recruiting class in the Nation. The No. 1 and No. 2 Players in the Nation. The return of Patrick Patterson for his Junior year. Kentucky was back, and back in a big way and practice hadn’t even started yet.

Could they live up to the hype? Is it possible for a Freshman dominate team to be successful, consistently? Game after game we were amazed at their ability to find ways to win. From the very first game for John Wall and his game winning bucket, the 2,000 win in school history, the come from behind at The Hump to DeMarcus Cousins (VIDEO HERE) amazing lay up as time expired in the SEC Championship Game, the 2009-2010 Cats lived up to the hype and beyond, forever earning a place in the Big Blue Nation;s heart.

Wall, Cousins, Patterson, Bledsoe and Orton, carrying UK back to the top spot and eventually an Elite 8 where the shooting touch, both from long-range and from the 15 foot line, disappeared and the young Cats slipped silently into history.

What’s next? What should we expect from our beloved Cats in the 2010-11 season of the NBA? Dime Magazines Sean Sweeney answers that question. Here are some excerpts from the article |

John Wall |
The franchise is being delivered to D.C. and should make for an exhilarating ride. Washington fans can expect to see Wall on the floor for around 35 minutes a game because he really has no competition at the point guard spot.

Saunders once said pure point guards are “sent from Heaven.” His offense should open up the court for Wall to make plays using the gifts he was blessed with.

The No. 1 pick should put up ROY-type numbers and lead the Wizards to around 30-35 wins. Consider that a success. Down the road, Wall has a chance to be the best point guard in the world.

DeMarcus ‘Boogie’ Cousins |
Realistically, Cousins couldn’t have fallen into a better situation. He will be playing big minutes for a team that lacks a frontcourt presence and in a city that is out of the spotlight.

Cousins has the same attitude and maturity question marks that Michael Beasley had coming out of college: lazy and immune to coaching. The difference though is that Cousins seems to genuinely love to compete. He’s nasty. Beasley, not so much. Any problems with Tyreke Evans and Cousins? Evans and Cousins might combine to drop 40 points a game. But for now, those two could be dominant inside and out and I expect Cousins to battle his former teammate for the league’s best rookie.

Patrick Patterson |
The only non-freshman of this group, Patterson is also the only one who is a finished product. Houston will get exactly what he gave Kentucky: a worker who will do anything to earn minutes. I think Patterson should be able to get minutes right away.

He will immediately be their most athletic frontcourt guy- his 11.14 agility time at the combine was tops among bigs- and should contribute a productive 15-20 minutes a game. Patterson doesn’t have much potential beyond being a decent role player. He will be team-first. Houston won’t ask him to do anything out of his realm, so don’t expect much more than perhaps 8-9 points and 4-5 rebounds a game.

UKBBN Point of View | In this instance, I am convinced Patterson will surprise some people. He’s still a work in progress and he’ll give the front line at Houston more then they want when it comes to competition. True, he’s a team first Player, but his desire is not to be a role Player, even in his first year in the Association. Compared to expectations, I expect Patterson to be the breakout Player of the five for the year. He won’t get the minutes Wall and Cousins will, but his minutes will be productive.

Eric Bledsoe |
In his one year at Kentucky, Bledsoe averaged just 2.9 assists a game playing in the same backcourt as Wall. He has a long ways to go before he could be a full-time point.  But he has the potential to be one of the best from this class.

Bledsoe can’t expect to play too much next year. When Bledsoe does play, a backcourt of Eric Gordon and Bledsoe could be very exciting. Whatever the case, Bledsoe probably will see backup minutes at both guard spots.

Daniel Orton |
The ugly duckling of the bunch. It was actually surprising teams were considering Orton in the top 20 at all. ESPN’s Chad Ford thinks he will spend a lot of time with Orlando’s D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns. I agree. Orton is a good shot-blocker, but the rest of his game is severely lacking.

Perhaps the ugly duckling reference is too harsh. Perhaps in a few seasons Orton will be serviceable. But, you might as well forget about him for a year or so. Orton won’t be providing much Magic until then.

No matter the individual achievements, it’s going to be an exciting 2010-11 Season for Cat fans. With the existing and incoming talent and the Kentucky talent in the NBA, the season will provide a lot of excitement, both from a Kentucky Team with high expectations, to some of our favorite players in the NBA. Enjoy the ride…

What do you think? How good can these guys be?

Go Cats!!!

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