Ex-Kentucky Star Leading NBA Award Race



by NOUMAN RASOOL

Ex-Kentucky Star Leading NBA Award Race
© Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The impressive influence of Kentucky's basketball program on the NBA is more evident than ever this season. Under the guidance of Head Coach John Calipari, the University of Kentucky has become a veritable factory for NBA talent, outstripping even the storied Duke Blue Devils.

Currently, an impressive roster of 26 former Wildcats graces the NBA, marking the highest representation from any college. But the story doesn't end with mere numbers. These Kentucky alumni are not just filling rosters; they're dominating the league.

A striking eight of the top 50 point scorers in the NBA are Kentucky graduates, showcasing the quality and impact of these players at the highest level of basketball. Among this constellation of stars, one name is drawing particular attention this season: Tyrese Maxey, the dynamic point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Maxey's performance has been nothing short of phenomenal, with an average of 26.1 points per game, placing him 14th in the league. His prowess extends to playmaking as well, with an average of 6.7 assists per game, a testament to his well-rounded skill set.

These impressive stats make Maxey the leading contender for the NBA's Most Improved Player Award. His notable improvement across the board, in tandem with Joel Embiid, has been a critical factor in the 76ers' impressive 26-13 record.

Maxey's Remarkable Rise

Stephen Noh of NBA Canada, powered by Sporting News, recently highlighted Maxey's ascent. "James Harden's departure to Los Angeles left big shoes to fill, but Maxey has more than stepped up. His scoring has jumped from 20.3 to 26.2 points per game, and his assists have nearly doubled, from 3.5 to 6.7.

His efficiency as a scorer remains high, proving himself as Philadelphia's second-best player after Embiid," Noh observed. This leap in performance, he asserts, should not only make Maxey a shoo-in for his first All-Star appearance but also positions him as a strong contender for the Most Improved Player Award.

Maxey's rise is symbolic of Kentucky's impact on the NBA. As he continues to excel, the narrative extends beyond his individual success to underscore the University of Kentucky's significant role in shaping the landscape of the league.

If Maxey maintains this trajectory, he won't just be making a statement for himself; he'll be highlighting the enduring legacy of Kentucky basketball on the NBA stage.