Even though they didn't win the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, the Charlotte Bobcats might win with the best player in the draft.
Virtually every NBA general manager was enamored with Davis, and with good reason. The 6'10" Kentucky freshman won just about every major individual award this past season alongside the Wildcats winning the national title. After his impressive performance this year, it would be nearly impossible to justify passing on Davis with the No. 1 pick.
But truth be told, his teammate—6'7" forward (and fellow freshman) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist—is a far more polished prospect.
Kidd-Gilchrist is the most versatile player in the entire draft class, and at 232 pounds, his frame is well-suited for the rigors of the NBA. He has the length and athleticism that will allow him to play—and guard—multiple positions. Additionally, his basketball IQ is extraordinarily high for someone who won't even turn 19-years-old until September.
Perhaps where Kidd-Gilchrist shines the most is on the fast break. No player converted on a higher percentage of field goal attempts in transition this past season than Kidd-Gilchrist, who scored 71 percent of the time that he finished the Wildcats' break last year.
Comparisons to former Bobcats' forward Gerald Wallace are frequent, yet Kidd-Gilchrist typically finds ways to dominate the game without necessarily dominating the ball. If there is any knock on the Kentucky freshman (and there are few), it is fair to wonder if he will be more aggressive on offense once he settles into the NBA.
In his defense, he was surrounded by a plethora of NBA talent with the Wildcats, and often deferred to Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb. Even so, it is abundantly clear that Kidd-Gilchrist has an innate ability and desire to excel on offense. Once he develops a consistent mid-range game, the former Kentucky forward has the tools to become a perennial All-Star.
With Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, the Bobcats have perhaps the best trio of 22-and-under players in the NBA. So while Davis may steal all of the headlines, don't be surprised if Kidd-Gilchrist brings the Rookie of the Year trophy to Charlotte next season.
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