Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Versatile Talent Will Excel in the NBA

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIMay 30, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 30:  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on during practice prior to the 2012 Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on March 30, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist isn't the sure-thing teammate Anthony Davis is, but his versatility and outstanding athleticism will make him a success at the next level.

During his only collegiate season, Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 31.1 minutes per game. He hit 49.1 percent of his shots from the field, 74.5 percent from the free-throw line and 25.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Kidd-Gilchrist doesn't have a great jump shot, so that aspect of his game is still developing. His biggest asset is his incredible motor. The kid just works incredibly hard on the floor and makes stuff happen. He is also an outstanding defender. With his size (6'7" and 210 pounds) and elite athleticism, he can guard three positions and projects as a lockdown defender. 

When he gets the ball offensively, Kidd-Gilchrist attacks the rim and makes things happen. But for someone who projects as a shooting guard/small forward, he really does not possess a good jump shot or adequate range. That is the one thing he needs to work on and must improve as he opens his NBA career. 

It's not typical that such an elite athlete can be referred to as a scrappy player, but that's exactly what Kidd-Gilchrist is. And he's also just 18 years old. 

Kidd-Gilchrist will be a top five pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and whichever team lands him will get a versatile, hard-working guy whose nose for the ball and ability to make plays will provide an instant impact. He should be a lot of fun to watch for a long time.