I come here not to stir debate, but to bury it.
This shouldn't even be a story, but I accidentally set off a mild firestorm on Twitter yesterday by giving it the light of day.
Someone asked me "Do you think the Bobcats could beat any team in the NCAA right now?" and I responded that of course they could, and this shouldn't be worth giving a second thought.
The "Do you think [Very good college team x] could beat [very bad pro team y]?" question is one that comes up often, especially in football, in addition to basketball. It's borne out of ignorance of the levels between pros and college states. It becomes a blip on people's radars solely for the audacity it raises.
In broad strokes, it's hardly worth talking about. Only the best college players make it to the NBA. The fastest men. The strongest men. The best shooters. The best defenders. The smartest players. There are more than 3,000 men playing in the NCAA. There are 450 players in the NBA, and a percentage of those come from all over the world. So you're looking at a little over 10 percent of all college players making it to the NBA, many of which don't pan out. That's maybe one or two players per team making it to the league on average.
But we're not talking about the average NCAA team; we're talking about one of the most talented NCAA teams in recent memory. The University of Kentucky's Anthony Davis is poised to be drafted first overall in the upcoming draft. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones are also set to be lottery picks barring unforeseen issues. But it's more than just the individuals; Kentucky is a great defensive squad and a superb college team.
But the Bobcats, though one of the worst NBA teams ever, would still wipe the floor with them. As disjointed as they are, nine times out of ten they would demolish Kentucky. Can we try to wrap our minds around this real quick? Kentucky runs a seven man rotation. Seven. Just think about foul trouble in a game like this. Corey Maggette is one of the best at drawing contact and getting to the line in the NBA. Now put him against college students. Do you think Kentucky might have to go deeper than seven players? Probably. And those guys are simply not talent that can match up with even Cory Higgins. You could split the Bobcats' 14-man roster in half and you'd still have two teams that could beat Kentucky.
I mean, are people thinking about this with their whole mind?
The Wildcats may have some great talent with the potential to build even further on fantastic skill sets, but they still have room to improve before becoming solid NBA players or the stars people think they can be. Anthony Davis is an all-world talent, especially at 19, but let's not kid ourselves, he hardly has the frame right now to be a force in the paint.
Surely Davis has developed since last year, but have people forgotten that the Bobcats' own Bismack Biyombo dropped a triple double on Davis and kept Davis in foul trouble in last year's Nike Hoops Summit? He pushed Davis around like a rag doll in the paint. The quiet little secret about Davis is that he doesn't have NBA strength right now.
And I may often show my loathing of DeSagana Diop, but the man would destroy these college kids. He's basically a Hasheem Thabeet with NBA size.
As Matt Moore put it, "the strength and conditioning the NBA is painfully underrated. It would be an obliteration."
And it's not just in the paint where the physicality of an NBA team would destroy a college one. Good god, Corey Maggette would annihilate any college defender. Eduardo Najera was the best player on a good Oklahoma squad. Matt Carroll dropped 20 points a game against the Big East. Cory Higgins was one of Colorado's best players. Derrick Brown dropped 14 a game for Xavier. D.J. Augustin put down 20 points and 6 assists in the Big 12. Kemba Walker singlehandedly led UCONN to a national championship less than a year ago. Reggie Williams averaged 28 points over his last two years in college. D.J. White put down a double-double on average every night with 17 and 10 with Indiana.
Think about how much weight-lifting and training these men do. Now think about how college players ARE STILL IN COLLEGE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Everyone says the Bobcats' roster is just mostly bottom-of-the-barrel guys. The thing is, these guys all were great standouts in college. Then they added on NBA conditioning and strength to that.
Why is this a discussion? I don't understand. Yes, the Bobcats are historically bad. And yes, Kentucky would have a shot. Anyone has a shot. Hell, a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. And that's what it would come down to: luck. If Kentucky got hot and the Bobcats magically couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, Kentucky would have their chance. But so much would have to go in Kentucky's favor for them to even stand a chance. It wouldn't even be close.
This is so stupid. I'm ashamed it even came to the point that I even had to write this.