Anthony Davis and the Kentucky Wildcats: Five NBA Teams They Could Beat Today
You're a fan of an NBA team. What if I told you that your starting five next year would consist of five former first-round draft picks, and that three of them would be lottery selections?
Even better, that two of them would be top-three selections?
You would feel pretty good, I bet.
What I've just described is no NBA team—but the college national champion Kentucky Wildcats.
Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist project to go No. 1 and No. 3 respectively. Fellow big man Terrence Jones is a possible lottery selection in the middle of the round, and the backcourt of Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague should both be selected towards the end.
There is even a chance that senior SF Darius Miller, a former starter, might also get selected in the first round.
The Wildcats are that good.
Now let's get back to our fictional scenario. You are a fan of an NBA team. Instead of having the five first rounders, three lottery picks, and two top-three selections on your team, your team will be playing them in a one-game playoff.
On the line: nothing but bragging rights.
I bet there are some NBA fans who are glad a matchup between their favorite team and the Wildcats would never actually happen.
Here are five teams whose fans should be happy that a game like this could only exist in their nightmares.
Picking on the Charlotte Bobcats is like picking on the weird kid at school: You might not want to do it, but sometimes you just cannot help it.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they really don't have the strength—or the talent or will—to fight back. At least, not until they can get Anthony Davis and his magical unibrow in town.
In this hypothetical situation, though, Davis would be conducting his block party in the opposing uniform.
The Bobcats lack an established leader that could band this group of young players together to weather a Wildcats onslaught, and this game would be virtually over by halftime.
The Washington Wizards could theoretically win out the remainder of the season by going 13-0, and they would still finish 16 games below .500.
Given that they have only won 12 times out of 53 chances illustrates why theoretical situations don't always translate to real life.
While Washington boasts their own No. 1 overall pick in John Wall and a former lottery pick in Nene, this young group of players (Nene excluded) has not had a winning culture in their pro careers.
Contrast that with the Wildcats, a team that makes back-page news in those few instances when they have lost.
Wall will try to will this team to victory and Nene will try to provide stability as a veteran, but it would crumble as the deficit continues to grow.
Expect a 5-23 shooting night from Jordan Crawford under the defensive pressure of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to contribute to the disparity.
New Jersey Nets
One thing that New Jersey has going for it is Deron Williams' pride.
He was embarrassed by Jeremy Lin in their first matchup, and responded by asserting his dominance in their second contest.
Williams would definitely get up for this game, especially if word got out that Kentucky was favored to win.
Yet the difference here would be the coaching of John Calipari. Given the time to prepare his kids, Calipari could find a way to let the other team's best player have a great stat line, but still come away with a Kentucky victory.
This game would be much closer than the previous two, but in the end an edge in coaching and the athleticism upfront for Kentucky would give them the victory.
The Cavaliers present an interesting matchup because they are the only team on the list that has two top-five players taken in the same draft year in Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.
The key difference between these two and Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is that both Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist are ready to contribute immediately (especially on defense), while Thompson has at times looked utterly lost.
Kyrie Irving is a special talent and he would dominate the Kentucky backcourt, but he would not be enough to make up for journeyman Anthony Parker's lack of production.
While talented, Antawn Jamison will be hard-pressed to keep up with the younger, more athletic forwards that the Wildcats would be able to throw at him.
Alonzo Gee's play could swing things in favor of the Cavs, but his lack of consistency could just as easily allow the game to slip away.
The Philadelphia 76ers represent the only team on this list currently in the playoffs.
While on most nights the 76ers should be the better team, the young Wildcats could upset them under the right circumstances.
Philadelphia currently starts five players who average between nine and 14 points per game. This could be considered a very balanced attack, or it could be seen as a lack of a true star.
Andre Iguodala looked destined to become the star to replace Allen Iverson, but he hasn't grown into that role. Elton Brand is a good player whose best years are behind him.
Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday are on the other end of the spectrum, with their best years to come, while center Spencer Hawes is an effective—but not special—player.
With no superstar to carry the team on his back, Philadelphia tends to go on mini-streaks of three or four wins in a row, followed by three or four losses.
When everybody is producing, the Sixers would beat the Wildcats in a competitive game.
However, if two of their players failed to produce on a given night (as they often have), the Wildcats would walk away with a victory over a playoff-caliber NBA team.