The Kentucky Wildcats have one of the best programs in the nation when it comes to developing NBA-caliber talent. They have consistently turned five-star recruits into some of the best players in the country.
As the NBA season begins to pick up pace and preseason begins shortly, rankings are going to be aplenty and ESPN has released its list of the league’s top 100 players.
They kicked things off by releasing all 75 players from No. 26 through No. 100. The Cats had a plethora of players, as expected.
The first name seen on the scroll is Julius Randle who was No. 71. Randle is the star of the New York Knicks, a team that is always disappointed, especially last season. The Knicks also have Immanuel Quickley.
After Randle, Heat star Tyler Herro had had some trade rumors regarding a potential turnaround with Donovan Mitchell this offseason. Herro came in at No. 61 and, like Randle, fell a few spots since last offseason’s roster.
De’Aaron Fox at No. 55, Jamal Murray at No. 50, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at No. 48 and Tyrese Maxey at No. 44 were the four to complete the group.
My quick thoughts are that Maxey is pretty high, and the unknown surrounding Murray also makes his ranking a surprise. Maxey’s playoff run and what Murray showed in the bubble likely sticks in the minds of those putting together the roster.
SGA averaged a career-high 24.5 points per game and showed increased leadership in Oklahoma City. So I would have hoped that he beat the top 40 players. With a good team around him, he could easily be one of the top 25 players in the NBA.
After Maxey there are another 20 points without a cat. However, several have cracked the top 25, starting with Bam Adebayo at No.23. Adebayo has become one of the most versatile players on both sides of the ball.
He’s the type of center every team needs and is starting to change the way the NBA views the five. He’s still a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year and his offensive game is improving.
After Bam was Anthony Davis at No. 20. He was No. 9 a season ago, but he struggled a lot to stay on the pitch. He averaged 23.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, but only played 40 games.
The last two players to make the list were former Wildcat teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker, ranked 13th and 10th respectively. KAT is possibly the greatest shooter of all time, having won the contest by 3 points.
However, with the rise of Anthony Edwards, it may be time his wolves made some noise. They took Memphis to 6 games last season, which matters, but Minnesota will have to follow that, and it will be up to KAT to make that happen.
Booker was the top Wildcat on the list, just inside the top ten. After making the NBA Finals and losing to the Bucks in the 2020-21 season, last season had a disappointing result from the top-ranked team in the West, losing to the Mavericks in conference semi-finals.
In his 7th season in the league, Booker averaged a career-high 26.8 points and a career-high 5 rebounds per game. He’s transformed into an all-around player who involves his teammates and is a sniper from the depths. Booker could be among the top five players next season.