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Kentucky’s ideal starting five may be without Kidd-Gilchrist


Mike Miller

Oh, to have John Calipari’s problems.

Kentucky is once again loaded with talent. Trotting out Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague, Anthony Davis, Darius Miller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is akin to having an NBA roster. But how does he settle on a starting five?

Kidd-Gilchrist was the sixth man during Wednesday’s exhibition win, but after a slow start that had the Wildcats in an 11-4 hole, Calipari declared him worthy of moving into the starting five.

“He was the difference in what happened,” Calipari said of Kidd-Gilchrist. “He did what I knew he would do.”

He finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a block, but Kidd-Gilchrist’s biggest contribution was to provide instant energy and intensity, two of his biggest strengths.

So. If he’s in, who’s the sixth man?

Mike DeCourcy laid out four ways for Calipari to proceed, all of which would make sense. (None involved making Jones the sixth man.) Benching Miller or Lamb make the most sense, mostly because Teague is the answer for Kentucky at point, while Davis’ defensive ability is too crucial to sit on the bench.

(Though he Davis also seems like an ideal candidate to provide instant intensity off the bench.)

I doubt Calipari can truly make a wrong move here, given the combination of talent and desire. It also seems unlikely that the ‘Cats will start slow very often. It was their first game and it’s not as though this group has played together very much.

Besides, he may just want to keep bringing Kidd-Gilchrist off the bench. He’s so versatile that he can spell any of the current starters and you know he’ll be ready in any situation. And best of all? He’s got the attitude for it. He’ll do whatever’s needed.

“It doesn’t mean (anything),” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I just want to win the basketball game. And that’s it.”

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