Living in Kentucky (and being a Louisville fan) I've had to listen to a fair amount of the "UK could beat a bad NBA team" chatter. I think this is ridiculous, and I've been vocal about that, especially since my favorite NBA team happens to be our worst-of-the-bunch squad. Living around a bunch of college basketball fans who don't follow the NBA, my eyeball arguments weren't very convincing, so I figured I'd dig up some stats to make my point. So if anyone else around here is tempted to believe the hype, here you go.
Below are statlines for UK’s starting lineup matched against statlines of Charlotte’s starting lineup from the Bobcats’ players’ last college seasons. The number in parentheses is the years of NBA experience the players have had since putting up those statlines. Again, these are college numbers for the Bobcats.
PG PPG RPG APG
D.J. Augustin (+4) 19.2 2.9 5.8
Marquis Teague 10.0 2.6 4.8
SG PPG RPG APG
Gerald Henderson (+3) 16.5 4.9 2.5
Doron Lamb 13.6 2.8 1.5
SF PPG RPG APG
Corey Maggette (+11) 10.6 3.9 1.5
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 12.0 7.6 1.9
PF PPG RPG BPG
Tyrus Thomas (+7) 12.3 9.2 3.1
Terrence Jones 12.6 7.2 1.8
Since Biyombo didn’t play college ball, here are the stats for he and Davis when matched up against each other in last year’s Nike Hoops Summit.
C PTS REB BLK
Bismack Biyombo (+1) 12 11 10
Anthony Davis 16 10 2
From a numbers standpoint, I think Charlotte would be favored if you simply put our players in a time machine from their final college seasons and played the game today. The only real advantages I see for UK are a 19-year old MKG over a 19-year old Corey Maggette, and an advantage for Davis over Bismack (despite their similar statlines from the Hoops Summit, Davis has a more developed offensive game and is more consistent). However, now that all our players are seasoned NBA veterans, having developed physically and in technique from their college selves? It wouldn’t be close. And this is just the starting lineups – the disparity in the benches would be ridiculously higher - laughable even.
Bottom line - don't buy the annual talk about the best college team beating the NBA's worst. This year's UK squad is one of the NCAA's best in years, and the Bobcats one of the NBA's worst in recent years, and we'd still run them off the court.