Small Forward, 6’7″, 228 lbs.
Freshman, University of Kentucky
18 years old
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Highlights
2011-12 Stats: 11.9 PPG (49.1% FG, 74.5% FT, 25.5% 3FG), 7.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 2.2 TOPG
STRENGTHS: MKG certainly looks the part of a legit NBA player. He shows a great feel for the game, knowing where to be on the floor, when to cut and where to move the ball. Offensively, Kidd-Gilchrist is an animal attacking the basket. It’s a trait that was on full display in the NCAA Tournament. He shows NBA-ready skills as far as getting into the lane and finishing at the rim. Defensively, MKG’s outstanding athleticism and high IQ makes him a future standout on the defensive end. He’s willing to put in work, which makes his ceiling extremely high. He is a glue guy who can contribute across the board even when he’s not scoring — in that way, he reminds me of Shawn Marion.
WEAKNESSES: That jumper. MKG will not be a No. 1 scoring option until he smooths out his technique and becomes consistent from the outside, and even then he may only be a sidekick. He could become serviceable as a spot-up shooter but will need plenty of time to learn how to create off the dribble. That weakness stretches to the free throw line, where he’s adequate but not good enough for a guy who makes his living crashing the basket. As a hard worker, MKG can certainly get better — it’s not a death sentence — but it is a clear area for improvement.
HOW HE’D FIT WITH THE KINGS: For a team that ended the year starting Travis Outlaw at small forward, Kidd-Gilchrist could seemingly be a starter from Day 1. More than likely, he’d be eased into the job, although Keith Smart’s success with Isaiah Thomas as a starter may have him a little more open to starting the rook. MKG would be a near perfect fit, as the Kings don’t need him to be a first or even second scoring option right now with Marcus Thornton, DeMarcus Cousins and most likely Tyreke Evans on board. Sacramento has been craving a glue guy at small forward who does the little things — strong defense, hit the boards, finish at the rim, smart decisions. With Keith Smart preaching run-and-gun and MKG rated as the best prospect on the fast break, it would be a smooth transition. He wouldn’t need to take touches away from the Kings other scorers, yet could still impact the game and develop into a standout performer.
APPROVAL: Yes. At No. 2, you may shy away from someone like Kidd-Gilchrist, who you couldn’t rely on to lead your offense. But at No. 5, it’s a no-brainer. MKG would be everything the Kings need at SF, and I have a lot of confidence that he will develop into at least a strong spot-up shooter because of his great work ethic. At this point, he plays a similar offensive game to Tyreke Evans, relying on drives rather than perimeter shooting. For that reason, you might pause, but with Evans’ future with the team far from certain, you take the talent and let it sort itself out.
WHERE HE GOES: MKG will be in play for Charlotte at No. 2 and he could fit in with all teams picking in the top 5. The top 5 prospects after Anthony Davis could seemingly go anywhere, but it’s hard to envision a scenario in which no team in the top 5 banks on MKG’s all-around talent and potential.
READ MORE: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Fills The Bill