Five Reasons Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Can Win Rookie of the Year
The Charlotte Bobcats aren't a very good team. I'm one of the biggest Bobcats fans you'll probably every hear of, and even I can't look at this team with optimism to inspire the masses.
But they definitely got better this offseason.
They added some very important pieces through various means this offseason, addressing some of their most glaring holes...of which they have many.
The biggest addition was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who the Cats selected second overall in the draft.
He has to prove his worth before I completely buy into all of the hype, but all signs point to a very hardworking, athletic, high-energy and coachable player who is capable of being a star.
Considered a consolation prize as the Bobcats lost out on Anthony Davis, there is a chance that he could become a better player than Anthony Davis.
This was one of the deepest drafts in the history of the NBA, with the grand prize being Davis. But there are some who believe the runners-up in the draft lottery were the real winners.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has the tools and the attitude to win the Rookie of the Year award. He has an immeasurable ceiling that no one can predict, his attitude is everything you look for in a player and he is going to bring Charlotte out of the basement.
Rookie of the Year wouldn't be a bad way to start out a career. MKG can definitely pull it off.
Here are a few reasons why.
New coach, new players, new uniforms, new everything. The Bobcats are saying "out with the old, in with the new".
A major part of the reason Kidd-Gilchrist was drafted was because he is a coach's dream. With a former college coach in Mike Dunlap coming in to manage a bunch of guys coming out of college, that seems like a good fit.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist wants to get better at everything he does. He will listen to his coaches and try to take what they say and apply it on the court.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari regularly referred to MKG as the hardest worker on the team, and that's on a team with tremendous talent, including overall No. 1 pick Anthony Davis.
While that doesn't make him a better player than Davis, it does make him an attractive option for a team who is looking to improve and build a team around guys who can be coached.
In the end, you can expect to see MKG get better and better as the season goes on because of what's going on in practice and his willingness to work with coaches.
On the previous slide I mentioned that MKG was the hardest worker on the team...you can look at any Youtube video about him and see that he works his butt off.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist accepts the fact that he is not the best player in this draft, and that players after him have more talent right off the bat. He may accept it, but he doesn't want to live with it his entire career.
Already in draft combines we saw someone who gave 100 percent in 75 percent situations. In his one and only summer league game, we saw him relentlessly defend, drive to the rim and open up other players to help his team score in whatever way they could.
He just doesn't stop. He wants to be the best, so he trains like it, and on the court, he gives everything he's got, even when he's past the point of exhaustion. You could see it when he played with Kentucky, and you bet you'll see it when he plays in Charlotte.
MKG is a small forward at 6'7". Most small forwards rely on a solid mix between getting to the hoop and scoring and working in the mid and sometimes long-range. MKG likes to stick in the post on offense and drive to the rim.
That might be viewed as a weakness to some who believe he needs a solid jumper to succeed in the NBA, but if you have a guy like MKG, who can get to the rim as quickly and as effectively as he can, you don't really need the jump shot.
He throws down dunks that can make your television rattle. He crashes the boards harder than players with three or four inches on him.
Getting in there to drive, not only allows him to score, it opens others up on the court and it puts him in a great position to rebound, which he is also great at for his size.
MKG is only 6'7", but he plays like a guy who is 6'9" or taller.
Except he can run a whole lot faster.
No, he doesn't have the mechanics to make for a great jump shot yet, but that doesn't mean he's going to be a one-dimensional, drive to the rim player.
In his one summer league appearance, he scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds, dished out five assists and stole the ball four times, making fellow top-five pick Thomas Robinson look silly on a couple of occasions.
He is widely regarded as the best wing defender in the draft, and were it not for Anthony Davis' insane blocking abilities in the paint, would be the best overall defender in the draft period. He probably still could be.
And, as that summer league game showed—as well as several games in Kentucky—he can really pass the ball. Driving to the rim draws defenders in either to defend the shot or grab the rebound.
Having someone like MKG who can drive and finish or drive and pass out to an open player for a three-pointer is not only valuable, it's necessary for a team that wants to get better like the 'Cats.
To make things even more interesting, it was recently reported by Rick Bonnell on Twitter that MKG is looking to straighten out his jumper.
MKG has all of the tools to be everything the Bobcats need and more. He'll be a very versatile player.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is just about to turn 19, and already he's being pegged as the leader of this rag tag group of players that Charlotte has put together over the years.
Gerald Henderson is the captain, and rightfully so. Until MKG proves otherwise, Hendo is the best player on this team, and he's been here for the good and the bad.
But you'd better believe when it's game time, and they're on the court, the one issuing orders and pumping other players up will be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. By being on the court, he makes everyone else better.
That's something the voting committee doesn't take for granted.
He probably won't score the most points out of any rookie.
He probably won't grab the most rebounds, dish the most assists, block the most shots or lead in any statistical category for that matter.
But he will do well in all of them, and his leadership and intangibles will boost everyone else's production as well.
If the Bobcats suddenly turn from a seven win team into a team that is one lottery pick away from being a legitimate threat, you'd better believe the committee is going to look at MKG long and hard because of his leadership.
It's going to be an exciting year in Charlotte.