Kentucky Basketball: Ranking the Most Entertaining Wildcats in the NBA

Bobby Reagan@uklefty22Featured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2013

Kentucky Basketball: Ranking the Most Entertaining Wildcats in the NBA

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    Basketball is the sport that delivers the biggest wow factor. With insanely athletic players, high-flying dunks and blocks and no-look passes, basketball is a highlight reel waiting to happen.

    In the past couple of years, Kentucky has dominated the NBA draft, with 15 Wildcats taken in the last three drafts. 

    These players fit right into the NBA model: entertaining. 

    Kentucky head coach John Calipari usually recruits the most athletic players and molds them into entertaining NBA players.

    These are the most entertaining former Kentucky players in the NBA—the ones that make you grab the remote for the DVR and say "Wow, I have to see that again."

10. Tayshaun Prince

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    Tayshaun Prince is one of the members of the old cavalry on this list. In his prime though, he was one of the most entertaining players in the league with his length and ability to play inside and out.

    His block on Reggie Miller in the Eastern Conference finals in 2004 could be one of the best in NBA history. Prince had the ability to run down Miller from the opposite side of the hoop and time his jump to swat the ball while it was still on its way up.

    Despite being in the twilight of his career—he's in his 11th year in the league—Prince is still very fluid with his moves and graceful with his ability to get to the rim. 

9. Enes Kanter

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    Whether it's dunking over Cole Aldrich, above, or doing a magic trick while wearing a Spongebob shirt, Kanter is entertaining on and off the court. 

    Kanter dropped his weight to 248 pounds after playing his rookie season at around 290 pounds. 

    Kanter won over Kentucky's fan base with his antics off the court despite not playing a game in front of Big Blue Nation, as he was declared ineligible by the NCAA for taking excess benefits. He made his presence known at Big Blue Madness when he entered to the Undertaker's theme song and wore the long jacket and hat that the Undertaker is known for. 

    This season, he is playing 15 minutes a game and averaging six points for the Utah Jazz.

8. Jodie Meeks

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    Jodie Meeks is one of the best shooters in the NBA.

    Meeks, who once scored 54 points for Kentucky against Tennessee, is currently shooting 36 percent from three-point range for the Lakers. 

    Earlier this season Meeks set a career-high by hitting seven shots from behind the arc in a 19-point victory over the Denver Nuggets.

    With the ability to shoot the ball from long range, Meeks makes you watch him run up and down the court to see just where he'll pull the trigger from. 

7. Marquis Teague

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    Marquis Teague isn't Derrick Rose, but he has the ability to make Chicago fans forget about Rose for a quick moment.

    Teague is only playing seven minutes a game and scoring a bucket a contest for the Bulls, but he has shown flashes of brilliance.

    Teague's athleticism allows him to cut through the lane for a layup similar to ones in the video posted. He is also able to use his ball-handling skills to present the wow factor. Teague is very quick with the crossover and has a wide array of moves that can make defenders look silly before he finishes at the rim. 

6. Brandon Knight

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    Brandon Knight won't dazzle you with a thundering slam, but he will make your jaw drop with a crossover dribble resulting in a step-back jumper that is through the net before the defender knows what hit him.

    Knight, who hit the game-winning shot at Kentucky against Ohio State in the Sweet 16 a couple years ago, has been a constant success for Detroit, averaging over 13 points and four assists per game in his two seasons. 

    Knight is often forgotten due to the fact he plays for Detroit, which, needless to say, isn't a good team. There also aren't many big-name players playing for the Pistons, so it's on Knight to make a name for himself and his stats. 

    Knight isn't just the most exciting player on the Pistons, but one of the most exciting young players in the league. He has the ability to beat anyone off the dribble before pulling up for a step-back jump shot, similar to the one that he used to beat Ohio State. 

    Knight is one of the few reasons to watch a Pistons game. 

5. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been compared to Scottie Pippen by someone who knows both players quite well. Michael Jordan, the Bobcats owner and Pippen's former teammate, talked earlier this year about how he saw Pippen-like tendencies in the rookie.

    Kidd-Gilchrist is a unique player, as he can guard four positions on the court as well a play four-different positions on offense. He may not be the best shooter in the gym, but he's not afraid to take the big shot when called upon. 

    He also has the ability to break someone down off the dribble and dish to an open man or get to the rim and finish by putting his defender on a poster. 

    Defensively, Kidd-Gilchrist will challenge just about anyone at the rim as well as pick up full court to try and get a steal from a point guard.

    He is one of the most versatile small forwards in the league.

4. John Wall

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    John Wall is of the new mold in point guards today. He's a scoring point guard, with the ability to finish at the rim with a thunderous dunk or flip off the glass for a layup.

    That's not to say Wall won't beat you with 10 assists, because he has the ability to do that as well.

    At 6'4", Wall is a taller point guard, but with his mix of speed, skill and strength, he may be in a league of his own when healthy. That's been the key to Wall's career so far.

    Wall has been unable to stay healthy and on the court during his time in Washington. 

    Wall is a similar player to Russell Westbrook. He just happens to play on a bad team with no other stars, whereas Westbrook gets to play with Kevin Durant and on one of the best teams in the league. 

    Wall has the type of athleticism to not only take over a game, but to win a game. When healthy, there's a good chance one of his plays will be on Sportscenter's Top 10. 

3. Anthony Davis

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    Anthony Davis blocked a shot before you even clicked this slide.

    Anthony Davis finished an alley-oop as you clicked next.

    Anthony Davis led a fast break as you opened your computer.

    Anyone who watched Kentucky last year, or college basketball in general, knows all about  Davis. He's a 6'10" big man with a wingspan of 7'6", who played guard in high school. 

    He is a one-man highlight reel. With his ability to finish at the rim, it is necessary to keep your remote close by to hit rewind.

    Davis stepped out and blocked a guard shooting a three-pointer as I wrote that sentence.

    Those reasons and a unique skill set are why Davis is ranked this high.

    Just watch out, I'm sure somewhere Davis is catching a pass while flying through the air to throw it down.  

2. DeMarcus Cousins

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    This page could be left blank when it comes to DeMarcus Cousins, or it could be 1,000 words long. 

    That's who Cousins is.

    He's either putting up a double-double or he's getting kicked out of a game for elbowing Vince Carter

    He could be throwing down a reverse dunk or he could be getting suspended for going after a commentator. 

    With the good comes the bad for Cousins. While he's on the court, he's averaging almost a double-double, as his career numbers are over 16 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Again, it's just when he's on the floor—that's the important statement.

    Cousins might be the most controversial player in the league, but he is also one of the most entertaining. Cousins can rebound with the best of them and finish close to the rim as well as anyone in the league. 

    Whether he stays in Sacramento, err Seattle, or he gets traded somewhere else, expect Cousins to continue to be a great player on the court and outspoken on and off the court. 

1. Rajon Rondo

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    Rajon Rondo is no longer the other person on the Celtics besides the Big Three.

    He is the Boston Celtics. It's not Kevin Garnett's team. It's not Paul Pierce's team either. It's all about Rajon Rondo now. 

    Watching Rondo play now, he doesn't just attack defenses anymore. He straight-up destroys other teams, and he does it in a variety of ways. Sure, Rondo can't shoot well from the outside, but he's a triple-double waiting to happen.

    Rondo can get to the rim with his famous fake behind-the-back pass before cruising in for a layup. If he can't get to the rim, Rondo will find the open man.

    So far this season, Rondo is averaging 13 points, 11 assists and five rebounds to go along with two steals. 

    Sure, he played with three sure-fire future Hall of Famers for most of his career, but he helped solidify their legacy during their run with the Celtics.

    His ability to create shots for himself and destroy any type of defensive scheme other coaches come up with make him the most entertaining player in the NBA that came through Kentucky.