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Ranking the 17 Former Kentucky Players in the NBA Bubble

With the NBA officially starting back up yesterday, the new bubble games will involve a bunch of former Kentucky basketball stars. To be exact, 17 ex-Wildcats will see action in the NBA restart, so I decided to power rank all 17 of them from the best player, to the least impactful.

#1: Anthony Davis, Lakers Forward

This one is relatively obvious. Anthony Davis is easily the best Kentucky player in the league, and one of the best overall players in the NBA as well. On the season, he is averaging 27 ppg and 9 rpg for the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s still one of the best shot-blockers in the league and alongside LeBron James, they have a chance to win it all this year.

#2: Devin Booker, Suns Guard

Devin Booker is arguably a top 2 pure scorer in the NBA, and is one of the must-watch players in this NBA Bubble. He’s on a sleeper team in Phoenix, who have surprised a lot of people this season after such a long period of being one of the worst teams in the league. Booker averages 26 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds per contest. He’s a show to watch every time he steps foot on the court.

#3: Bam Adebayo, Heat Center

Bam Adebayo was a surprise All-Star this season, and has really come into his own as one of the top centers in the league. His athleticism and playmaking from the 5 man position is impressive to say the least, and he’s a big reason why the Heat are having such a good season. He averages 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game, and is one of the better defenders in the league. Bam is looking to help propel the Heat into the championship conversation.

#4: Jamal Murray, Nuggets Guard

Choosing between #4 and #5 was difficult, because I’d say Murray and Fox are around the same production level. The big difference is that Jamal is on one of the best teams in the West. The Nuggets are a serious contender in the league and may be the dark horse to win it all this year. Murray is the second best player on the team, and is a prolific scorer and playmaker. He’s averaging 19 points and 6 assists per game, and is arguably the best three point shooter on the team. He hopes to help lead his Denver team to a championship this year.

#5: De’Aaron Fox, Kings Point Guard

De’Aaron has given the Kings a nice boost as he’s improved pretty drastically with each new NBA Season. Now in his third year, Swipa is one of the highest potential guards in the entire league. His speed, craftiness, and ability to score from everywhere makes him a massive threat to opposing teams. His 20 points and 7 assists per game mark his best numbers thus far in his career. The Kings have been plagued by injuries though, so I’m not confident in their chances, but De’Aaron is sure to put on a show regardless.

#6: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder Guard

Shai has been putting up great numbers in his second NBA season, and has improved drastically from his rookie year. He’s a massive part of this Thunder squad, which has been a surprise team in the West this season. Shai currently shares the backcourt with NBA legend Chris Paul, and has really found his groove with this squad. He’s a fan-favorite for both Kentucky fans and Thunder fans, so the hope is that he will continue to develop into one of the best guards in the NBA. He averages 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists per game.

#7: Eric Bledsoe, Bucks Point Guard

The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the best teams in the entire NBA, and are the #1 team in the Eastern Conference. Eric Bledsoe is a major contributor to the team, and a solid compliment to Bucks stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Bledsoe is a solid scorer and playmaker, and rebounds well from the position. He’s a seasoned veteran of the league at this point and will hope to help the Bucks win it all. He puts up 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per contest for Milwaukee.

#8: Tyler Herro, Heat Guard

Tyler Herro is just a rookie, but is a massive bench contributor for this solid Heat team. He brings a spark off the bench as the sixth man, and some argue that he should be starting. He’s an efficient three-point sniper, but gets buckets from all over the court. Tyler is averaging 13 points and 4 rebounds per game, which is a solid clip for a rookie that doesn’t even start.

#9: Nerlens Noel, Thunder Center

This is where we start to see a drop-off in the caliber of player that we’re looking at. From here on out, it’s mostly just role players or guys who don’t play very much.

Nerlens Noel is known as an energy guy off the bench for this Thunder team. His stats aren’t anything crazy, but his impact on the floor is felt through things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. He’s a hustle guy, blocks shots, grabs tough rebounds, and disrupts shots in the paint. He puts up a solid 8 points and 5 rebounds per contest, as well as 1.4 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.

#10: Enes Kanter, Celtics Center

Enes Kanter has had a pretty limited role with this Boston team, but is still a guy that contributes decent numbers off the bench. He averages 8 points and 8 rebounds per game.

#11: Rajon Rondo, Lakers Point Guard

Rondo hasn’t had a very flattering season, as low production and inefficiency has been an issue for him. He is also currently injured and will miss a couple weeks before returning to this Lakers squad. Nonetheless, Rondo has a track record of showing up in the playoffs, and is still one of the best pure playmakers in the NBA. He currently averages 7 points and 5 assists per game, so when he returns, he may be able to be that solid veteran presence at the PG spot that the Lakers need.

#12: Trey Lyles, Spurs Forward

Trey Lyles is actually out for the season with an injury, but I thought I’d still include him on this list. He has a decent year for San Antonio, as a low production starter for the team. He’s known as a solid low post scorer who can be efficient from midrange and rebounds well. He will not be playing however, due to his injury. Lyles averaged 6 points and 6 rebounds this year.

#13: Hamidou Diallo, Thunder Guard

Hamidou Diallo is a decent bench contributor for the Thunder. Despite not being an overly efficient scorer, he’s a freak athlete and a good on-ball defender. He still finds ways to put the ball in the basket, and is a great transition finisher. His 6 points and 3 rebounds per game don’t blow any minds, but he still has a lot of talent and room to grow.

#14: Patrick Patterson, Clippers Forward

PatPatt hasn’t been doing anything crazy for this deep Clippers team, but he is a solid middle-of-the-bench contributor for the squad. He’s a decent rebounder and has found his niche as a pick-and-pop shooter. He takes a lot of threes and sometimes just camps out in the corners to get some triples up. He puts up 5 ppg and 2 rpg.

#15: Keldon Johnson, Spurs Wing

Keldon is also in his rookie season, but hasn’t gotten much play-time with the Spurs. He spent a good amount of time in the G-League, but has been called up to help contribute for the Spurs in the bubble. Rumor has it that Keldon will see decent playing time in the Bubble, so we’ll just have to see how he performs. In his limited time on the court, Keldon has managed to put up 5 ppg and 2 rpg.

#16: Wenyen Gabriel, Trail Blazers Forward

Wenyen Gabriel is another player who has jumped between the G-League and the NBA this season. He’s a spot-up shooter and an energy guy for the Blazers, and it’s unknown how much floor time he will see in the bubble. Wenyen averages 2 points and 1 rebound per game.

#17: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Mavericks Wing

It’s extremely sad and unfortunate to say that former Kentucky national champion Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is now one of the least productive BBNBA players. The former #2 overall pick has hardly seen any floor time with the Mavs this year, and that will likely remain the case during the bubble. MKG never developed a consistent jumpshot and struggled with injuries over his career. I hope Michael can find his home in the NBA, but as of right now his career is hanging on by a thread.

So that’s that! My personal Power Ranking of the 17 former Kentucky Wildcats that are participating in the NBA Bubble!I’m very glad to have NBA basketball back after such a long hiatus. Let’s hope one of our former Cats can bring home the hardware!

Follow me on Twitter @TaninSmith1 for more sports takes!

Tanin Smith
Lifelong Kentucky fan with a passion for opinions and stats! Twitter: TaninSmith
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