Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, No. 2 (Mock Draft)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is capable of becoming the Cats’ cornerstone.
by Dave Zirin / @EdgeofSports
The Charlotte Bobcats Select: the remaining Kentucky Wildcats.
Seriously, who ever would have imagined that Michael Jordan, the most competitive man to ever wear shorts, would put a team on the court so absolutely content to lose, night in and night out?
This is a team that needs fire and needs not to take on any more projects. This is why the man of the moment for Charlotte should be and will be the NCAA Champs’ best all-around player.
With the second pick of the SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select…
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Kentucky.
Why? Dear Lord, did you watch a Bobcats game last year? I did. We are talking about not only the worst team in NBA history, but arguably the most embarrassing product the NBA has ever produced for public consumption.
Their leading scorer was Gerald Henderson, who dropped 15 points per game. Their leading rebounder, rookie Bismack Biyombo, grabbed just 5.8 boards. Their other prize, rookie Kemba Walker, shot 36.6 percent.
But even those numbers don’t do justice to just how unwatchable the Bobcats became as the year wore on. This is a team that was humiliated by the Washington Wizards. The only people the Wizards should be humiliating are their season ticket holders.
This wasn’t an NBA franchise as much as a Bermuda Triangle of rusted talent. It’s the sort of team where, if you caught its box score, you might say, “So THAT’S where Corey Maggette/Tyrus Thomas/DeSagana Diop ended up!”
This is not a team that needs a project like Andre Drummond. They don’t need a player like TRob, who could be tremendous but could also be a player without a position. They need solid NBA talent, and Kidd-Gilchrist may be the lowest risk in the entire 2012 Draft class. Kidd-Gilchrist might not have a higher ceiling, but he’s even a lower risk than the offensively questionable Anthony Davis.
At worst, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be a taller, smoother, more stable version of Metta World Peace. At best, he is the kind of explosive small forward who could stand as the cornerstone of a team for years to come. We’re not talking about a 10-year All-Star. We are, however, talking about a legit NBA player who can impact the game without the ball in his hands.
MKG is by no means perfect. He needs to work on creating his own shot in the half court, and he also lacks the range of a top small forward. But his defensive versatility is tremendous—able to guard four positions without breaking a sweat. He is the best in the Draft at absorbing contact and converting three-point plays. Perhaps most importantly, on a team that often looks like it gives up before the opening tip, MKG plays with fire while also having a rep for being coachable and putting team first.
You can learn to shoot a three. It’s much harder to learn how to love diving on the floor for loose balls. But most importantly, MKG is absolutely, positively guaranteed to make the Bobcats a better team. For this bombed out and depleted franchise, that’s truly all they can ask. And Jordan will finally have a player he can watch from the owner’s box with the confidence that this is one guy willing to bleed to be a top player in the National Basketball Association.
|2012 SLAMonline Mock Draft|