Coach Cal’s guys in the NBA (April 5-13)

The NBA regular season came to a close on Wednesday evening and the final week of the season saw a number of Coach Cal’s guys in the NBA resting or playing limited minutes with the playoffs or offseason looming. Even still, Calipari’s former players still put up strong numbers and performances.

Among the top notes from the final eight days of the season:

Devin Booker (Kentucky, 2015) concluded his fantastic second season in the NBA averaging 22.1 points per game and has scored 2,774 points for his career, passing Kobe Bryant for the fourth most points scored by a player under the age of 21. Booker won’t turn 21 until Oct. 30, but is nearly 500 points shy of Carmelo Anthony (3,283 points) for third place on the list. Kevin Durant (3,495 points) and LeBron James (4,649 points) occupy the top two spots on that list – not bad company, huh?

Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky, 2015), who once again played all 82 games, became the first player in NBA history to post 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 3-pointers in a single season. He broke the Timberwolves’ single-season scoring record with 2,061 points. He averaged 28.4 points and 13.4 rebounds per game after the NBA All-Star Game.

John Wall (Kentucky, 2010) became the first player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 10 assists, four rebounds, two steals and 0.5 blocks per game.

James Young (Kentucky, 2014), Patrick Patterson (Kentucky, 2008-10), Wall and Rajon Rondo (Kentucky, 2005-06) will compete in the NBA playoffs from the Eastern Conference. In the Western Conference, Trey Lyles (Kentucky, 2015), Enes Kanter (Kentucky, 2011) and Andrew Harrison (Kentucky, 2014-15) will be competing in the playoffs.

Coach Cal’s guys in the NBA averaged 13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game over the final eight days of the regular season. They played 25.1 minutes per game over that time.

Player of the Week

Towns is the player of the week after backing up his Rookie of the Year season with a tremendous sophomore campaign. He closed out his stellar second season by averaging 30.0 points, 16.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game over the last eight games. As he was throughout the vast majority of the season, Towns again showed great consistency throughout the Timberwolves’ final five games.

Towns opened the final week with 24 points and 16 rebounds against the Portland Trail Blazers, and followed that up with 32 points and 13 rebounds versus the Utah Jazz. The 7-foot center then had a ridiculous 40 points, 21 rebounds and four assists against the Los Angeles Lakers (more on that below). In his final two games of the year, Towns put up 26 points and a dozen rebounds against the Oklahoma City Thunder and then 28 points and 21 rebounds against the Houston Rockets.

Highlight of the Week

Wall (Kentucky, 2010) used the New York Knicks on April 6 to put up a personal highlight reel. The electric guard who led the Washington Wizards to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference had an emphatic dunk, beautiful pass and showed off his sweet handles and jump shot. He did it all.

Performance of the Week

Towns’ game against the Lakers on April 9 was the clear best performance from the past week. Towns scored 40 points, grabbed 21 rebounds and dished out four assists. He hit a ridiculous 17-of-22 shots from the field.

It was not only the first 40-20 game of Towns’ career, it was the first in the Timberwolves’ franchise history. Towns is the third-youngest player in NBA history to have a 40-point, 20-rebound game, trailing only Shaquille O’Neal and fellow Kentucky big man Anthony Davis.

Booker, Towns’ former UK teammate, also had a great game last week against the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 7. Booker scored 37 points that night, including 21 in the fourth quarter, leading the Suns to a win over the Thunder. Booker hit 13-of-29 shots and 5 of 9 from beyond the arc. He also grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists in 38 minutes.

By the Numbers

Player GP GS MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG
Eric Bledsoe (Suns) DNP – Rest              
Devin Booker (Suns) 3.0 3.0 34.3 26.3 3.3 4.0 1.3 0.0
Willie Cauley-Stein (Kings) 4.0 4.0 26.0 15.5 8.8 2.0 0.5 1.3
DeMarcus Cousins (Pelicans) DNP              
Anthony Davis (Pelicans) 1.0 1.0 24.0 25.0 6.0 0.0 1.0 0.0
Tyreke Evans (Kings) 1.0 0.0 20.0 3.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0
Archie Goodwin (Nets) 4.0 0.0 18.8 8.8 3.8 2.0 0.5 0.3
Andrew Harrison (Grizzlies) 4.0 1.0 24.3 6.0 3.0 3.0 0.8 0.5
Enes Kanter (Thunder) 5.0 0.0 19.2 12.8 6.0 0.6 0.2 0.0
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Hornets) 4.0 4.0 26.0 9.8 5.0 1.3 0.8 1.0
Brandon Knight (Suns) DNP – Rest              
Skal Labissiere (Kings) 4.0 4.0 30.8 15.8 4.5 1.5 0.8 0.5
DeAndre Liggins (Cavaliers/Mavericks) 3.0 0.0 10.3 3.3 2.3 0.0 0.7 0.0
Trey Lyles (Jazz) 2.0 0.0 7.5 3.0 2.5 0.0 0.0 0.0
Jamal Murray (Nuggets) 5.0 4.0 34.8 16.2 3.4 6.0 1.0 0.4
Nerlens Noel (Mavericks) 4.0 4.0 15.5 6.3 4.8 0.8 0.5 0.5
Patrick Patterson (Raptors) 4.0 1.0 20.5 7.8 1.5 1.3 1.0 0.0
Alex Poythress (76ers) 4.0 1.0 26.3 10.8 4.5 0.3 0.5 0.0
Julius Randle (Lakers) 5.0 5.0 26.2 14.6 7.0 2.4 0.2 0.4
Derrick Rose (Knicks) DNP – Injured              
Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves) 5.0 5.0 37.6 30.0 16.6 2.8 1.0 0.4
Tyler Ulis (Suns) 4.0 4.0 36.0 19.8 3.0 6.8 0.8 0.3
John Wall (Wizards) 2.0 2.0 34.0 20.0 3.5 8.0 1.5 1.5
James Young (Celtics) 2.0 0.0 4.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0
Totals 70 43 1754 933 358 164 48 26
Averages 3.3 2.0 25.1 13.3 5.1 2.3 0.7 0.4

 
Note: The Phoenix Suns have decided to give their younger players more playing time and in turn are resting Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky, 2010) and Brandon Knight (Kentucky, 2011) … After signing Archie Goodwin (Kentucky, 2013) to back-to-back 10-day contracts, the Brooklyn Nets signed Goodwin to a two-year deal on April 4 … The Cleveland Cavaliers waived DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky, 2009-11) on Sunday. The Dallas Mavericks were then awarded Liggins on a waiver claim Tuesday … Derrick Rose (Memphis, 2008) was shut down for the season on April 2 with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Other Cats in the NBA

Player GP GS MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG
Jodie Meeks (Magic) 4.0 1.0 19.3 10.0 1.3 0.8 0.0 0.0
Rajon Rondo (Bulls) 1.0 1.0 20.0 10.0 6.0 5.0 1.0 0.0
Totals 5 2 97 50 11 8 1 0
Averages 2.5 1.0 19.4 10.0 2.2 1.6 0.2 0.0

 
Note: Rajon Rondo (Kentucky, 2005-06) sprained his right wrist on April 4 and missed the Chicago Bulls’ next three games.

Upcoming Games on National TV

Eastern Conference Playoffs
Game 1: No. 1 Celtics (Young) vs. No. 8 Bulls (Rondo), April 16 at 6:30 p.m. on TNT
Game 2: No. 1 Celtics (Young) vs. No. 8 Bulls (Rondo), April 18 at 8:00 p.m. on TNT
Game 1: No. 3 Raptors (Patterson) vs. No. 6 Bucks, April 15 at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN
Game 2: No. 3 Raptors (Patterson) vs. No. 6 Bucks, April 18 at 7:00 p.m. on NBATV
Game 1: No. 4 Wizards (Wall) vs. No. 5 Hawks, April 16 at 1:00 p.m. on TNT
Game 2: No. 4 Wizards (Wall) vs. No. 5 Hawks, April 19 at 7:00 p.m. on NBATV

Western Conference Playoffs
Game 1: No. 7 Grizzlies (An. Harrison) at No. 2 Spurs, April 15 at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN
Game 2: No. 7 Grizzlies (An. Harrison) at No. 2 Spurs, April 17 at 9:30 p.m. on TNT
Game 1: No. 6 Thunder (Kanter) at No. 3 Rockets, April 16 at 9:00 p.m. on TNT
Game 2: No. 6 Thunder (Kanter) at No. 3 Rockets, April 19 at 8:00 p.m. on TNT
Game 1: No. 5 Jazz (Lyles) at No. 4 Clippers, April 15 at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN
Game 2: No. 5 Jazz (Lyles) at No. 4 Clippers, April 18 at 10:30 p.m. on TNT