The 2018 NBA Draft featured a handful of Southeastern Conference (SEC) picks and not all of them were from Kentucky. Actually, not even the first one off the board hailed from the Bluegrass State. Collin Sexton was the first SEC player selected at number eight by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kentucky did have four total selections in the draft, with Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander going in the first 11 picks. So, lets dive into what some of this means for the SEC.
The SEC has vastly improved in basketball in the last few years and it’s because of the coaches they’re bringing in. Avery Johnson has done a good job with Alabama, starting with getting five-star guard Collin Sexton, who seems to have changed the culture of Alabama basketball. Alabama had a couple of huge wins during the season and made it interesting in the NCAA tournament until they ran into eventual champs Villanova. Sexton is also my favorite pick in the entire draft.
We also learned how important college basketball is to the NBA. Spoiler alert! It’s not Michael Porter Jr. who hardly played at all yet was still drafted 14th overall. The only reason he slipped that low is due to concerns over his back. It would have been interesting to see what Cuonzo Martin could have done with Porter. He underachieved at Cal with Ivan Rabb and Jalen Brown and at Tennessee with Josh Richardson and Jarnell Stokes.
— Basketball Insiders (@BBallInsiders) June 20, 2018
Freshmen are still the main thing in the NBA draft and it’s not even close. Eight out of the first ten picks were freshman and the other two were 19-year-old Luka Dončić and junior. Mikal Bridges out of Villanova. This is not surprising, though, considering Tennessee won the SEC and were one of the youngest teams in the country. There are no excuses not to win with young talent, which brings me to the biggest thing revealed about the SEC during the draft.
We discovered Kentucky Coach John Calipari continually underachieves. I say underachieves by the standards of a coach who gets seven, new, five-star recruits each year. He had four players drafted this year and two in the top 11 picks. The only other teams with four draft picks were Villanova and Duke. The latter went to the Elite 8 and Villanova won the NCAA Championship.
Coach Cal has won one championship at Kentucky in 2012. On that team, he had six draft picks, including No.1 pick Anthony Davis and No. 2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. So, is that what it takes for him to win a championship? He has multiple draft picks every single year and doesn’t even play for the championship. That’s how I define “overrated.” Talent-wise, Calipari has a top three team every year, yet he never finishes in the top three.