Larry Bird to Willie Cauley-Stein: ‘You’re a $100 million player’


hi-res-3f8b6e09ba87e1cfa9a57787abe54c00_crop_exactWillie Cauley-Stein got a big vote of confidence from NBA legend Larry Bird.

Kentucky big man Willie Cauley-Stein is a projected lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, and ESPN Insider Chad Ford currently has Cauley-Stein going number eight on his Draft Big Board.  Cauley-Stein is viewed as an athletic defensive ace that oozes potential, and teams are infatuated with his upside.

Cauley-Stein averaged 2.1 blocks per game this season for the Wildcats, and averaged a career-high 2.9 blocks per game as a sophomore. His work on the defensive end speaks for itself, so therefore Cauley-Stein declined to participate in last week’s NBA Draft Combine. Cauley-Stein however did attend to meet with several different team officials, including the Indiana Pacers and their president Larry Bird. Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star has the scoop on the meeting.

Indiana currently has the 11th pick in the NBA Draft, and they’ll likely stay there as they have a 0.7% chance of obtaining the 1st overall pick, so drafting Cauley-Stein is unlikely. But for a youngster like Cauley-Stein who aspires to carve out a lengthy and successful NBA career, a vote of confidence from one of the greatest of all-time is huge. 

As for the Paul George, Cauley-Stein dynamic, that would certainly be interesting, especially with Indiana making their intention to playing at a faster pace next year known. Maybe one day Larry Bird will give Cauley-Stein the opportunity to be a $100 million man. I know he’d consider that to be Trill, but he has to hold up his end of the bargain by playing dominant basketball to warrant that type of payday. 


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