Charles Barkley opened up a can of worms when he said that the Kentucky Wildcats could beat the Charlotte Bobcats and the Toronto Raptors.
Though the quote comes off as being said with a bit of intentional hyperbole, the argument has become a conversation piece and has even prompted a response from Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.
“Look, it’s absurd,” he said Wednesday evening. “I mean, people will say, ‘Oh, Kentucky you know’s got four NBA players.’ Yeah, well the other team’s got 13.”
“And even if those guys all are, they’re all NBA rookies. I mean, when has that ever been a success in the NBA? So no, they’re not going to win.”
So that one fact should put a rest to it. As Van Gundy points out, anything can happen in a one-game playoff, but take a look at the rosters. It’s tough to make the case.
Kemba Walker, DJ Augustin, and Corey Maggette lead the Bobcats, along with Gerald Henderson, and Tyrus Thomas, who were all good or very good college players.
The problem may be one of perception. Because the viewing public sees Kentucky dominating every night, they look better. Because the Bobcats get beaten up on a daily basis, they look worse.
But here is a question to flip the script. Who else in the NCAA could hypothetically beat the Bobcats? Would Charlotte win the NCAA title if they were in the Field of 68?
Could Kentucky ever beat an NBA team? My mother taught me never to speak in absolutes, so I won’t definitively say “no.” Is it likely? Probably not.
And John Calipari chimed in on it, probably hoping to put the speculation to rest.
“This team could not beat one NBA team. Not one, the worst one,” he said.