Cats Illustrated's preseason Kentucky basketball round table topic series continues with a look at what concerns might be facing the Wildcats going into the 2017-18 season.
T.J. Walker, Basketball Recruiting Analyst: Two big questions for the Cats this season: Will outside shooting be an issue this year and will Green/Gilgeous-Alexander be good enough at the point guard position. If the answer is no to either of these questions then the Cats won't be legitimate Final Four contenders. UK's only great outside shooter is Jemarl Baker, but is he good enough in other areas to crack the lineup? Everyone is expecting Green/Gilgeous-Alexander to be solid, but look at Calipari's point guards. You have to play at a high level at that position for the team to be successful.
Jeff Drummond, Managing Editor: Although some have suggested this might be a better shooting team than expected, I still think it will be a big question entering the season and perhaps one that lingers into tournament time. There is not a proven knock-down perimeter shooter on this roster, and it's hard to overcome that the way the game is played these days. At least one guy - maybe two - will have to emerge in order for this to be a championship contender.
Justin Rowland, Publisher: This Kentucky team has more questions than most in previous years under John Calipari. Fortunately, this group also has some outstanding qualities on paper (length, athleticism, depth, defensive potential). I'd break the concerns down into less serious and more serious categories. One less serious concern, I would actually say, is the shooting issue. The team does have to prove it can knock down shots consistently (we said that last year and it didn't turn out to be a crippling issue), but Calipari has proven that you don't have to have a great shooting roster on paper if you've got more talent than everybody else. The bigger concern for me would be point guard play. Quade Green needs to prove he can take the reins and become a very good player over the course of the season. He doesn't come to Kentucky with as much hype or fanfare as some of Calipari's other point guards over the past decade, and I don't think the team is good enough to make a deep run with a guy who's just "pretty good" at the point. The second somewhat significant concern that I'd have is scoring. This could prove to be total non-issue, especially if Kevin Knox pours in 17-18 points per game consistently, but I'm wondering if this team will have the offensive punch especially in the halfcourt to consistently get and keep separation against quality opponents. The third big concern is experience. Yes, the 2013-14 team made a deep run and finally got it together at the right time, but it's easy to forget how subtly important players like Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins were to last year's team.