The Kentucky Bubble: La Familia dominates NBA playoffs run
Wildcats headlined the NBA postseason from start to finish with historic marks
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Even prior to the 2020 NBA Playoffs, the Kentucky men’s basketball program, during the John Calipari era, was already the undisputed king of helping players reach the next level.
The proof has long been in the numbers:
- Far and away more NBA Draft picks than any other school in the last 10 drafts (38)
- The most first-round selections (29)
- The most lottery picks (21)
- The most No. 1 overall selections (three)
- And again this season, the most players on NBA opening-day rosters (29)
But UK’s NBA presence went to an entirely different level this postseason. There were more Wildcats (13) on postseason rosters than any other school at the start of the NBA Playoffs, but it was their impact that dominated the “bubble” at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Whether it was Jamal Murray’s jaw-dropping scoring performances on a nightly basis, Tyler Herro’s rise to stardom as a rookie, Bam Adebayo’s unforgettable game-winning block or ultimately the culmination of three Wildcats – Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo and Frank Vogel (head coach) – winning the NBA championship, former UK players and staff had their fingerprints all over every facet of the postseason, leading some to call the bubble in Orlando the “Kentucky Bubble.”
Let’s take a look at some of the most noteworthy achievements and milestones the Wildcats achieved in the postseason (notes are compiled from a number of sources, including STATS, the Elias Sports Bureau, ESPN Stats & Info, StatMuse, NBA sports information offices and UK Athletics Communications and Public Relations consultant Corey Price):
- Former UK players totaled 2,249 points in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, 1,458 more than the next-closest school (Marquette). The second-most points ever in an NBA postseason run is 1,593 by North Carolina in 1993, 656 short of Kentucky’s final tally this season. UK players had surpassed that mark before the NBA Finals even began
- The finals marked just the fifth time in NBA history that four players from the same college played in the same NBA Finals. La Salle (1956), UCLA (1980), North Carolina (1991) and Arizona (2017) previously set the benchmark
- With Adebayo, Davis, Herro and Murray shining in their respective conference finals series, UK became the first school with four former players to post 30 or more points in the conference finals
- With Davis collecting a ring, he’s the 15th different former Kentucky player to win an NBA championship as a player. Davis is the first former Calipari player from Kentucky to win an NBA title
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