Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Examining Pros and Cons of Likely NBA Draft Lottery Pick
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will likely hear his name called early on NBA draft night after playing a key role in Kentucky's run to a national championship. The talented small forward has all the tools to become a star at the next level.
He averaged 12 points and seven rebounds while shooting 49 percent from the floor during his only season with the Wildcats. He was surrounded by superstars, which limited his amount of looks on offense, but still allowed him to showcase great versatility.
The most important thing now is how those skills will translate to the NBA. Let's examine the areas where he should excel in his rookie season and also some things he will need to improve moving forward before he reaches his potential.
What immediately stands out about Kidd-Gilchrist is his athleticism. He's one of the best pure athletes in the entire class, and that should really help him on the defensive end. As a small forward, he'll get matched up with some of the league's best scorers, so that's key.
He's also not afraid to attack the paint. Rookies are often scared to play that type of offensive game because the interior defenders are a lot better than they have faced in the past. Kidd-Gilchrist has always shown confidence, though, and that will continue.
Since he relies on drawing fouls as a part of his efficient offense, his 75 percent mark from the line also helps. It should creep closer to 80 percent as he works on it more. The better he is from the line, the more reliable he'll be on that end.
Which pick range will Kidd-Gilchrist fall in?
Kidd-Gilchrist isn't an elite scorer. If a team drafting in the lottery needs somebody to come in and lead the offensive charge, they shouldn't target him. His jump shot needs to vastly improve before he can be considered a No. 1 option.
He also had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio in college. Even though two turnovers per game isn't anything to get overly concerned about, he really needs to work on becoming a better distributor, especially since his game would be ideal for driving and kicking out to an open shooter.
Luckily, his negatives are limited to one end of the floor. If a team can make up for his lack of overall production there, the rest of his game should be solid.
It appears Kidd-Gilchrist will benefit from a lack of top-end talent in the class. He should sneak into the top five even with those limitations on offense and will likely be expected to play extended minutes right away to earn that draft status.
The Kentucky star should thrive on defense. He has the size, quickness and athletic ability to hang with just about any small forward in the league. Once he adds a little more strength to his frame, he will become a true lockdown defender.
He's never going to reach a LeBron James or Kevin Durant level in terms of putting up points at will and competing for the league lead in scoring, but should be serviceable at that end. His ceiling will be determined by the development of his jumper.
All told, he's an very good prospect who should have a strong rookie season.
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