Every member of the Los Angeles Lakers should play with the same fire that Kobe Bryant displays when he takes the floor. The one player in this year’s draft with a Kobe-esque motor is Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and he would be an ideal addition to the team.
According to Mike Breshnahan of the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers’ executives are enamored with Kidd-Gilchrist and are looking into ways they can trade for one of the top picks in this year’s draft.
Breshnahan writes, “…the Lakers are also open to trading Gasol for a high first-round pick because they covet Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.”
As the report states, no deals are certain or even likely at this point. With general manager Mitch Kupcak leading all negotiations, anything that happens with the Lakers will be kept under wraps until the last possible second.
Still, rumors about where the Lakers will send Gasol have been flying around the Internet, and of all the proposed scenarios, this one makes the most sense for the L.A.
If Kupchak can convince a team with a top-five pick to take Gasol, he should take the deal and add the Kentucky small forward.
Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Wildcats last season. He is 6’8” with a 7’0” wingspan, giving him ideal size for his position.
He is an explosive athlete and a destructive perimeter defender. He plays with a non-stop motor and can shut down shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards. He even guarded Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor at times during the national championship game.
MKG is a proven winner. As noted by Michael Lee of the Washington Post, he won a state championship in 10th grade and a gold medal at the FIBA U-17 World Championships the next year, in addition to his national title this past season. He has only lost 10 games in the last four years.
This is no coincidence, and Kidd-Gilchrist’s character and leadership skills are beyond reproach. SI.com’s Sam Amick writes:
For all of the attention paid to Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist was widely regarded as Kentucky's glue. Coach John Calipari routinely praised him for his role as the emotional leader, and Kidd-Gilchrist was the captain of the Wildcats' 8:30 a.m. workouts before scheduled practices.
This desire is something the Lakers lacked this past season. They played with an alarming lack of urgency at times.
With Kidd-Gilchrist on the team, the Lakers would have a player besides Bryant who could be counted on to play with focus and intensity every night.
Head coach Mike Brown is known for his defensive strategies, leaving no doubt that he would love this move. Gasol is an average defender at best, while Kidd-Gilchrist has limitless potential on that end of the floor.
This trade would land the Lakers a prospect with intensity, athleticism and incredible defensive skills. These are all areas of need for the team and if the Lakers have a chance to pull this deal off, they must pull the trigger.