Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kentucky's Bench Is Unfair

There aren't many college teams who could lose a potential lottery pick at center (Willie Cauley-Stein) and not miss a beat. John Calipari just looked down his bench and called the number of a 6'9 McDonald's All-American (Marcus Lee) who hadn't played much all season.

Lee, a 6'9 215 jumping jack, could start for almost every team in the country and he couldn't get minutes at Kentucky. He had 10 points and 8 rebounds against a Michigan team which didn't have a big men who could hang with the sixth man (!!) in the Kentucky front-court.

The Wildcats start Dakari Johnson (future first-round pick), Julius Randle (lottery pick) and James Young (first-rounder) and they bring Cauley-Stein (first-rounder), Alex Poythress (second-rounder) and Lee off the bench. That's more McDonald's All-Americans upfront than most conferences and more size than a lot of NBA teams.

Cauley-Stein, Randle and Young are all projected to leave this season and even that won't clear up the logjam in the Kentucky front-court. Next season, they are bringing in a recruiting class with two more McDonald's All-Americans upfront - Karl Towns (7'0 250) and Trey Lyles (6'10 255).

Calipari literally has an embarrassment of riches, because there won't be enough minutes for all those guys next season. College teams are usually better off going small instead of going big - if he plays 3 big men at the same time, there won't be enough floor spacing or perimeter D.

You figure Johnson and Towns will split the center position, while Poythress and Lee fight for minutes behind Lyles. Long story short, we might not see anymore of Lee next year than we did this year. He might have an easier time finding minutes in the NBA than he will at Kentucky.

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