Portland Blazers Draft Targets: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky

Jay Wierenga@@JayWierengaCorrespondent IMay 20, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Tyshawn Taylor #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks puts up a shot over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

This is the second in my series exploring potential draft targets of the Portland Trail Blazers.


My Take

Outside of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist might be my favorite player in this draft.

He is an intense competitor, an elite defender and an impressive athlete.

Kidd-Gilchrist was Kentucky's unquestioned leader, a player that not only led by example, but was a vocal leader as well. 

Kidd-Gilchrist has a solid offensive game and is particularly effective in the fast break game. He knows how to split defenders and take the ball to the hoop.

He plays above the rim, but also has the potential to improve as a jump shooter.

What truly separates Kidd-Gilchrist from other players in this draft (save for Davis) is his ability to play defense.

MKG truly commits to that side of the game, relishing the challenge of shutting down his opponent. More than that, his enthusiasm spurs on his teammates, making defense and the joy of playing it infectious.

Overall, MKG is without a doubt the best swingman in this draft, and someone that could make an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball. In a lot of ways, imagine San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, but much better.


Scout's Take (from ESPN)

Projection Top 5 Pick
  • Elite athlete
  • Amazing motor
  • Tough, physical defender
  • Excellent rebounder
  • Attacks the rim on offense
  • Lacks a consistent perimeter game


How He Fits Portland

Plain and simple, MKG would make Nic Batum expendable. Portland would have the option of signing and trading a player that has value around the league.

If, instead, they elect to keep the small forward, they could shift MKG to shooting guard, and they would have a very athletic back court, capable of great defense and the ability to get out in transition.

If Portland could pull the trigger on getting a good pass-first point guard (ideally Steve Nash) via free agency, a combination of Batum and Kidd-Gilchrist would be dangerous in the open court.

Portland has a few different needs, but MKG, if available, needs to be gobbled up.

This is a team that lacks an identity, and MKG would be a great leader for a young squad.