Larry Brown: Kentucky would make the NBA playoffs in the East

Larry Brown is the only coach in history to win both an NBA title and an NCAA championship. He’s a hall of fame basketball coach. The guy knows basketball. So when he says something, it’s going to be news.

At his press conference today, Brown said something that struck me as rather odd considering his experiences in both the pro and college games.

Okay. He had to have been misquoted, right? Kyle Tucker’s a terrific reporter for the Courier-Journal, but maybe he got this one wrong.

Maybe it was just a joke.

There’s no way this was him doubling down on something he said yesterday on the radio, right? From The Afternoon Show with Matt Moseley and Tim Cowlishaw:

“Well they’d make the playoffs if they were in the East. There is no doubt in my mind they would make the playoffs in the East.”

Okay, let’s unpack why this is ridiculous. The eighth-place team in the Eastern Conference right now is Miami. Miami’s starting five right now is Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Udonis Haslem and Hassan Whiteside. Dragic was All-NBA last year, Wade is a hall of famer, Deng is a former all-star, and Whiteside is putting up all-star caliber numbers on a per-possession basis. Mario Chalmers — the guy who beat John Calipari’s Memphis team in the 2008 NCAA Championship — is their sixth man. Another bench player is Michael Beasley, who did this in college at Kansas State:

So yeah, it seems like a pretty outlandish idea that Kentucky could beat that team.

Earlier this season, I wrote about the multitude of problems with pitting Kentucky against an NBA team, such as just sheer dedication to craft, practice limits, and the vast schematic differences that an NBA team employs compared to a college team. Those limits still exist even against the worst NBA teams. Once you start comparing them to mid-level ones? Come on.

Kentucky’s really good. They’re probably going to go undefeated and win the national championship. On my big board, they have four guys slated in my top-30 as potential first-round picks. But NBA rosters are literally filled with former first-rounders. Especially those of playoff contenders. The Pacers have six former first-rounders on their team. The Milwaukee Bucks have nine. The Boston Celtics have seven, as do the Brooklyn Nets.

It’s a talent and prospect evaluation mismatch, even if Kentucky is the most talented college team in history. And let’s not forget this: the odds are extremely low that all of Kentucky’s players will make NBA rosters. In the second-round, the average hit rate of a rotation player is about 20 percent. It’s not much higher late in the first round. That’s where at least six of Kentucky’s platoon players are slated to be selected. So that dilutes the Kentucky talent pool even further when comparing them to an NBA level.

Even their own coach, the best promoter in all of college basketball, thinks the idea is outrageous:

So let’s just not go there, Larry. Comparing them to a mid-level NBA team is simply unfair.

Written by Joey Sinatra

Joey Sinatra

Joey Sinatra is a co-founder of WickedJumpShot.com Joey is a boxing and basketball journalist who attends USI as a post graduate. Joey grew up in the New Rochelle Area of the greater New York City area, and is a cousin of the famous singer, Frank Sinatra. Joey also writes for the Boxing Globe.