When you have a team as young, versatile and "positionless" as Kentucky's should be this year, projecting a starting lineup is no easy task.
There have been different opinions tossed around already.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 3, 2017
Here Cats Illustrated basketball recruiting analyst T.J. Walker, managing editor Jeff Drummond and publisher Justin Rowland take stabs at projecting the Cats' starting five.
What do you believe Kentucky's starting lineup will be at the beginning of the 2017-18 season, and do you anticipate it will change over the course of the season?
T.J. Walker, Basketball Recruiting Analyst: Kentucky's starting lineup will be Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, Wenyen Gabriel and Nick Richards, and it will almost certainly change during the year. P.J. Washington coming off the bench just shows how loaded the Cats are, but also don't be surprised if Shai Gilgeous-Alexander eventually cracks the lineup.
Jeff Drummond, Managing Editor: My best guess is that we'll see Green at the point, Diallo at the 2, Knox at the 3, Gabriel at the 4 and Washington at a hybrid/face-up type of 5. I don't see them playing with a traditional post center unless Richards is in there. I could see them changing lineups throughout the early part of the season with guys like Alexander, Richards, Sacha Killeya-Jones and Tai Wynard getting an opportunity, too. There are a lot of interchangeable parts.
Justin Rowland, Publisher: It seems pretty safe to assume Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox and Wenyen Gabriel are going to be starting at those 2-4 positions with the only real questions in my mind being what Kentucky does at the five (big, as T.J. suggests, or small, as Jeff projects), and at point. I've got to go with Quade Green as the likely point guard. In John Calipari's preseason Q&A with local reporters he praised Green's ability to get the ball up the court quickly (something this team will want to do) and also singled him out as someone with an "alpha dog" mentality. Then, in that five spot, I think it's going to fall to Richards because Calipari will want his insane length and defense on the court, but P.J. Washington may play more minutes. Over the course of the season you have to wonder if Jarred Vanderbilt has a chance to start from January on, but that depends on how he plays and at first he will certainly come off the bench as Calipari tweaks his lineups to work him into the mix without disrupting chemistry.