Michael Jordan and the NBA Draft get along about as well as cats and dogs do.
No, not those ones! More like these ones...but only if Jordan, the forlorn owner of the historically hapless Charlotte Bobcats, were the dog. Taking Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft isn't likely to result in any sort of Freaky Friday-style role reversal.
Not yet, anyway. Not when his draft-day resume is littered with the likes of Kwame Brown, Adam Morrison and Brandan Wright, to name a dreadful few.
To be sure, Kidd-Gilchrist has the potential to be an excellent player at some point down the line. The 18-year-old kid out of Kentucky is long and athletic, with the sort of "motor" and "hustle" (particularly while defending and rebounding) to earn favorable comparisons to Gerald Wallace and, in some cases, Scottie Pippen.
You know, the Hall-of-Famer who carved out a remarkable career as MJ's chief sidekick on six title teams with the Chicago Bulls.
The troubles with His Airness selecting MKG, though, are two-fold.
For one, Kidd-Gilchrist is still rather raw, with a hitch in his jump shot and a somewhat sloppy handle that could yield more than a handful of unsightly turnovers in the years to come. MKG's "makeup" suggests that he'll put in the requisite effort and energy to shore up those shortcomings and maximize his considerable potential at the next level.
But that's going to take quite some time, perhaps more than the 'Cats can reasonably spare at this point.
Remember, this is a franchise that's coming off arguably the worst season the NBA has ever seen, with just seven wins in 66 tries for an all-time low winning percentage of .106. As a result, Charlotte has had to take drastic measures to fill up its arena, offering locals a two-for-one package wherein those who buy season tickets for 2012-13 get the full slate for 2013-14 on the house.
Kidd-Gilchrist isn't likely to improve the team enough to attract North Carolinians to the box office at Time Warner Cable Arena, which could prove to be an even bigger problem for Air Jordan the owner. A persistent failure to put rear ends in seats could ostensibly put pressure on MJ's ability to hang onto the team, assuming empty houses send cash hemorrhaging its way out the door and leave the owner's financials up in smoke.
Who, then, should the 'Cats have drafted?
Given the holes on their roster, they could've gone any number of ways, with solid players ready to contribute right away. They could've opted for Thomas Robinson, the bruising power forward out of Kansas, or Harrison Barnes, the multi-talented swingman out of North Carolina, Jordan's alma mater.
Then again, Charlotte might just as well have added Robinson (who went fifth to the Sacramento Kings) or Barnes (who went seventh to the Golden State Warriors) had they swapped picks with the Cleveland Cavaliers, as had been rumored in the hours leading up to the draft. Such a deal would've reportedly netted Charlotte another selection in the late first round with which MJ and GM Rich Cho could've drafted another quality prospect with whom to build.
Even without that trade, the 'Cats could've spent the second pick on Bradley Beal, the much-ballyhooed shooting star who's drawn favorable comparisons to Ray Allen and Eric Gordon.
Except...well, the 'Cats couldn't pull that trigger in good conscience after swapping Corey Maggette for Ben Gordon earlier in the week. Adding Beal to the mix would've left first-year head coach Mike Dunlap with a logjam at shooting guard.
What's more, by replacing Maggette with Gordon, Charlotte took on approximately $15 million in salary over the long term, with only the Pistons' lottery-protected first-round pick in next year's draft to make up the difference.
Because Detroit's going to contend for the playoffs this coming season...ha.
So now, MJ's 'Cats can look forward to trotting out a starting lineup that features Kidd-Gilchrist, Bismack Biyombo, Ben Gordon, Kemba Walker (if they opt not to re-sign D.J. Augustin) and...D.J. White? Tyrus Thomas?
But who knows?
Maybe Kidd-Gilchrist will be the next Pippen. Maybe Ben Gordon will rediscover his shooting stroke in the Queen City. Maybe Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker will develop into viable starters and the 'Cats will stumble upon a half-decent power forward.
Or, maybe MJ's latest plan will blow up in his face, just as so many have before. Maybe then, Jordan will realize that his prodigious talents as a player haven't exactly translated to the front office or the owner's box, in both of which he's thus far been an abject failure. Maybe the biggest 'Cat of all is forever doomed to be a dog on draft day.
At which point, if His Airness ever figures it out, he might finally give up the keys.
Yeah...good luck with that.