Why Hiring of Mark Price Will Be a Huge Help to Charlotte Bobcats

Raj Prashad@RajPrashadCorrespondent IAugust 3, 2013

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker will look to make leaps this season under shooting coach Mark Price.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker will look to make leaps this season under shooting coach Mark Price.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

As one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA last season, the Charlotte Bobcats skidded to a 21-61 record.

Charlotte ranked near the bottom of the league in points scored (26th93.4 ppg), field goal percentage (30th42.5 percent) and three-point percentage (27th33.5 percent), according to ESPN.com

Shooting coach Mark Price’s task will be to fix small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s flawed jumper and to help point guard Kemba Walker develop his pick-and-roll offense.

Priority No. 1- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Drafted No. 2 overall in the 2012 NBA draft, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist entered the league with a noticeable hitch in his shot. (If you haven’t seen his jumper, you should absolutely take the time to read over Zach Harper’s breakdown at CBS Sports.)

Kidd-Gilchrist’s first season was as advertised. He was a do-it-all player, rebounding, dishing the ball and blocking attempts at the rim. MKG just couldn’t connect on a jumper.

As a rookie, Kidd-Gilchrist shot just 27.2 percent on jump shots, including just 8.7 percent from 10-15 feet, according to HoopData.com.

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Former head coach Mike Dunlap believed it would take three seasons to fix MKG’s shot, according to the Charlotte Observer, eventually forcing the first-year player to request a shooting coach.

Enter Price. 

Charlotte will continue to develop MKG’s offense, hoping it can rely on the second-year forward to find his shot with the assistance of Price.

The first step in the process, as Scott Howard-Cooper from NBA.com points out, is helping Kidd-Gilchrist find his confidence.

“I’m trying to shoot it now,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “That’s a big step.”

Because he was always trying to not shoot it before.

“Yeah,” he said. “I think it’s a big step for me to shoot the 3. My mid-range, too. I’ll shoot the mid-range a lot, too.”

With his confidence seemingly found, it will be Price's responsibility to help MKG the way he has helped so many others.

Price, one of the better shooters during his tenure in the league, has already fixed the shooting strokes of the likes of Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, Atlanta Hawks guard Lou Williams and Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young.

But with MKG, he faces his toughest task yet.

Priority No. 2Kemba Walker

Not seen as just a shot doctor, Price was also a solid pick-and-roll player during his playing time in the NBA.

The Bobcats will explore all routes to make their team better, including assisting Charlotte’s star guard, Walker, with his decision-making off the dribble.

Price will look to cure the Bobcats’ lack of front court efficiency, which ranked dead last in scoring last season according to HoopsStats.com, by adding facilitation to Walker’s arsenal.

Replacing Josh McRoberts with Cody Zeller at power forward and Bismack Biyombo with Al Jefferson at center should do some good to alleviate the pressure on Walker’s shoulders.

Zeller showed through a solid Summer League stint that he can bounce around the perimeter and knock down open jumpers. Jefferson is a capable big who can finish around the rim with his back to the basket or as a pick-and-roll big.

While the addition of Jefferson and Zeller will assist in building a solid offensive punch, Walker will have to develop patience for the play to develop.

Walker will need to recognize when to reset the offense and when to “force” the ball into the paint or out to a shooting big.

In consecutive seasons, Walker has seen his assist numbers rise (from 4.4 to 5.7 per game), but he's also notched up his turnovers (jumping from 1.8 to 2.5 per game), according to HoopData.com. The majority of Walker's assists came at the rim in 2012-13, dishing out 4.7 assists per contest to cutters and pick-and-roll teammates.

He'll most likely see that number continue to increase with the addition of Jefferson, but he'll also look to utilize the pick-and-pop with Zeller's ability to knock down open shots. 

Though Kidd-Gilchrist will be Price’s main project, helping Walker develop his offensive game will also be a massive project as the Bobcats attempt to crawl from the gutter of the Eastern Conference and into a contender spot.


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