The Bobcats shocked the world by selecting Michel-Kidd-Gilchrist with the No.2 overall pick in the draft. What was most shocking was that the Bobcats actually made sound draft selection for once. Wait, Charlotte–are you sure you want to draft the top-talent, almost sure-thing All-Star Kidd-Gilchrist? There are probably a number of 7’0 Eastern European players you could still gamble on! Well, I think the ‘Cats may have gotten it right this time, and the franchise that drafted such greats as Emeka Okafor, Kemba Walker and Adam Morrison seemingly/hopefully locked up a future stud in MKG. But can Michael Kidd-Gilchrist be the savior the Bobcats need? Not exactly as daunting a task as one might think. The Bobcats were historically, epically, miserably bad last year, like, seriously they were comically awful. Except no one was laughing. They managed to win just 4 home games, 7 wins total, and lost a grand total of 59 games (a new record! woot!). And just to make sure their fan(s) hadn’t the faintest of hope for the future prospects of the franchise they ended their seasonwith a 23 game losing streak. What is this, bash on the Bobcats’ Day? Pfft! That comment coming from our one reader who’s a Charlotte fan, (his tag is BCatMasochist23). My point is if Gilchrist is trying to save this franchise, or just simply improve it from last year, he doesn’t need to do much outside of just showing up, maybe signing a few autographs, dunk the ball once or twice and don’t get injured. (Interestingly enough, these are two of John Calipari’s Three Keys to Success: show up, be aggressive and don’t get hurt.) The B-Cats are counting on Michael not to just to bring his scoring ability to the table, but in particular it’s MKG’s hustle, defensive play, rebounding, all-around competitiveness and ability to do all the little things well that Charlotte hopes will create a winning mentality and mindset to a squad that won less games than most NFL teams last season.
In 40 games with Kentucky last season, Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 11.9 points in 31.1 MPG, 49.1 FG%, 0.3 3PG, 74.5 FT%, 7.74 RPG, 1.9 APG. 1.0 SPG, 0.9 BLK, 2.2 TOV. Not too shabby. From that line, it’s clear MKG is a contributor across the board. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider Kidd-Gilchrist was one of several options in a Kentucky Wildcat starting five that included: Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, and Marquis Teague (with Darius Miller coming off the bench), all of whom were drafted in June and three of whom were first rounders. In other words, Kidd-Gilchrist is going from a team where he was the second or third scoring option, on a team loaded with scorers, to a Charlotte team where he is not just the top scoring option, but arguably the only legitimate scorer outside of Ben Gordon. Yeesh. In fact, it’s not outlandish to say that last years Kentucky team, who went 38-2 and won the National Championship, would have little to no problem dispatching last years Bobcats team without breaking a sweat. Yikes, quite the culture shock going from a team that lost just two games to one that lost 59! Good luck with that, hope you don’t mind losing, Michael! Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, Gilchrist will be THE MAN in Charlotte and those points per game should see quite the bump. In fact, the counting stats (rebounds, assists, threes) should see increases across the board, however with more shots per game it’s the ratios that could take a hit.
Critics of MKG, (aka Michel Kidd-Gilcritics) have pointed to a weak and often inconsistent jump shot and below average ball-handling ability, but really they’re just nitpicking. He’s got the winning mentality and big-time competitive spirit that will ensure he works to improve the weaker aspects of his game, he’s also still only 19 years old (keeper league pro tip: draft this guy)! In reality, doode is a 6’7, 232lb beast with a 7’0 wingspan who can score from anywhere on the floor. A small forward with the size of a power forward he should terrorize opposing defenses. He can rebound, he can jump, he can dunk (oh man, can he ever dunk…) and if you’ve watched any of his highlight reels, it’s pretty hard not to get excited for his NBA arrival. A 24-point, 19-rebound game versus Louisville, and a 24-point 10 rebound performance in the elite eight match up versus Indiana showed us glimpses of the greatness that could come. Drools. Oh, hello there Michael KG. Can I call you Mike KG? What are you doing this November? I am assembling a dream team of sorts, a fantasy team if you will, and I’d like you to be there. Kidd-Gilchrist is currently being projected between the 8th-12th rounds, and if you can’t already tell I like him a lot. Good players on really bad teams are like the fantasy jackpot in my eyes. I would rank him in the early 90s, but you might have to stretch a bit in order to get him on your team, i.e. if you want him be prepared to draft him early. He was ranked 20th among small forwards in the Top 20 Small Forwards For Fantasy Basketball, 2012-2013, and although those projections may be more reasonable expectations for the young forward my personal projections are much bolder. I would draft MKG over Tayshaun Prince and Chandler Parsons as well. He will be one of the riskier players to take a chance on come draft day, but you’d be hard pressed to find one who’s more exciting with as much upside as Michael- Kidd Gilchrist. #eightwinsorbust2012 Go Bobcats!
My Projections: .439 fg%/.735 ft%/1.0 3pt/17.3 pts/7.8 rbd/1.9 ast/0.9 stl/0.8 blk/2.9 tov