Why Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Will Be the Steal of the 2012 NBA Draft

Bradlee Ross@rossbeCorrespondent IIJune 21, 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

Former Kentucky Wildcat sensation Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the most coveted players in the 2012 NBA draft. He’ll also be the biggest steal of the draft, thanks to his defensive potential, his ever-running motor and his leadership on and off the court.

MKG, as he’s obviously going to be called throughout his NBA career, has shown himself to be a high character player that any team would want. The only reason you don’t hear about him more is the fact that another high profile draft prospect, Anthony Davis, was his teammate at Kentucky.

However, MKG shouldn’t be overshadowed by anyone, including Davis. He has attributes that few, if any, other draft prospects possess, and those make him a franchise-changer at the next level.


Defense Wins Championships

One thing that tends to get overlooked in draft prospects is their potential at the defensive end of the floor. In MKG’s case, defensive potential is one of the biggest reasons why so many teams want him.

At 6’7” and around 210 pounds, Kidd-Gilchrist is a bit wiry. He is strong despite his wiriness though, and he has elite length for a wing player. That length and his lateral quickness make him a potentially elite defensive stopper in the NBA.

And, considering that, what is the one thing that we all say wins championships? You know what it is, and having a guy like this on your squad that is this good at defense can only help you in terms of getting closer to that elusive goal of an NBA title.

Considering that he’ll probably be headed to one of three teams (Charlotte, Washington or Cleveland) that all could use help on the wing, MKG has the chance to make an immediate impact wherever he goes.


The Energizer Bunny’s Motor

NBA organizations like players who work hard and give 100 percent of their effort each and every time they get out on the court. Kidd-Gilchrist is the type of player that will give a team that much energy and effort.

That motor doesn’t just extend to the defensive end of the floor. MKG is the same type of player on offense; he attacks the rim both to score and to get offensive rebounds. It was this, combined with his defense, which made him such a terror in college. 

He will do the same in the NBA.

Hard work isn’t something that should be taken lightly when evaluating a draft prospect. Too many college basketball players have ridden their talent too much throughout their careers and have never been forced to figure out how to work hard.

Kidd-Gilchrist, while he does possess tremendous athleticism and ability, plays very hard as well. A willingness to do that ensures MKG will be able to persevere in the NBA, even when his talent fails him.


Leadership and Character

But why does Kidd-Gilchrist work and play so hard? The answer is leadership and character.

As I mentioned before, Anthony Davis has overshadowed MKG quite a bit in terms of the conversation around the draft. Davis is a great player, but an argument can be made that Kidd-Gilchrist was the leader of that Kentucky team that triumphed over Kansas to win the national title.

MKG’s previously discussed motor springs from his dedication to being a high character player who leads by example. What team wouldn’t want to have that guy on their squad?

Every team would want a guy like that, which is why Kidd-Gilchrist is such a coveted player at the top of this year’s draft.

He’ll definitely be gone by the time Cleveland picks at No. 4, but any team that passes on him is running a risk. The risk of passing on possibly the best player in the draft.

Where he goes is irrelevant though, especially in terms of what he’ll be. His defense, work ethic and character make him the surest bet and the biggest steal of the 2012 NBA draft.