By Shane Shackleford
This is getting really familiar.
As I sit down with my laptop, my cup of coffee, and my dachshund Molly to watch the yearly NBA draft, it seems that I can count on three things. First, the draft will highlight young talent who may either be hits or misses in the NBA. Next, there will be some foreign players who will find their way into the draft. Last, and most importantly to this Cat fan, there will be Wildcats drafted in the Lottery portion of the draft.
Check. Check. Check.
As this year’s lottery portion closed, Kentucky was well represented once again. Following in the footsteps of Kentucky greats John Wall, Anthony Davis, and Karl Anthony-Towns, this year were De’Aaron Fox (No. 5 to Sacramento), Malik Monk (No. 11 to Charlotte), and Bam Adebayo (No. 14 to Miami). Since John Calipari took the helm of the Wildcat program in 2010, 17 players have walked across the stage in New York as lottery selections. Wow.
Let’s take a brief look at this year’s crop of Wildcat lottery picks:
De’Aaron Fox: In my opinion, the Kings are getting the best point guard in the draft. Why? Because the lightning-quick freshman lit up UCLA guard and 2nd overall pick Lonzo Ball head to head twice, especially when it counted most in the NCAA tourney. It’s also interesting that the two will face off as Pacific Division rivals at Sacramento and Los Angeles respectively. I promise Lonzo and LaVar Ball aren’t looking forward to that. $400 shoes and all.
Malik Monk: I thought Monk might wind up in New York with the Knicks at No. 8, but the shooting guard wound up in a pretty good situation in Charlotte. The Hornets have a need at his position, he gets to play alongside All-Star guard Kemba Walker and former Cat Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and his owner is a former off guard in the NBA. You might have heard of him. Michael Jordan?
Bam Adebayo: The Kentucky big wound up in a good situation in South Beach with the Heat. He will play alongside star big man Hassan Whiteside and have time to grow as a quality power forward in the NBA. Doesn’t hurt his team president is former Kentucky great Pat Riley.
Not a bad night to be a Kentucky fan once again.
Shane Shackleford is a retired teacher and coach living in Speedwell, Tenn.