Bobcats struggling but pleased with Kidd-Gilchrist

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 08, 2013
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By STEVE REED AP Sports Writer Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's jump shot has never been perfect. Not when he was dominating the AAU circuit in New Jersey or even last season while he was helping Kentucky win a national championship. The Charlotte Bobcats selected Kidd-Gilchrist No. 2 overall in last year's draft believing they could fix the flaws in his shot, help him develop into a dominant player at the NBA level and that he could become a key building block in their foundation. Slowly but surely, Kidd-Gilchrist is showing signs of progress, particularly in the last week. Although the Bobcats continue to struggle - they're marred in another eight-game losing streak - Kidd-Gilchrist has been a bright spot, shooting 67 percent from the field and averaging 17 points over the last two games. Just as important to the Bobcats, the 6-foot-7 small forward hasn't been hesitant to pull up and launch an 18-footer. ''I really feel like over the last week we've seen the Michael that we drafted,'' said first-year Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap. ''He's a little bit clearer and a little sharper.'' Dunlap attributes that to two things: Kidd-Gilchrist's ability to put two head injuries this season behind him and the 19-year-old's incredible worth ethic. He said the rookie has spent an ''inordinate amount of time'' working to fix the flaws in his jumper - and it's starting the pay off. Dunlap said the biggest modification in Kidd-Gilchrist's shot is he's releasing the ball with his fingertips instead of the palm of his hand. He also said his release point is slightly higher now, thus creating a loftier arc on his shot than when he came into the league. Why someone never fixed the jerky motion in his jump shot when he was younger remains a mystery. When the Bobcats drafted him Dunlap felt as if it would be a three-year process for Kidd-Gilchrist to develop a more fluid release. ''I've seen guys in this league, over and over again, develop as jump shooters,'' Dunlap said. Kidd-Gilchrist said his confidence has improved dramatically. ''I've been working on it daily, the night time and the morning,'' he said. ''I feel comfortable with it now. I'm working on it still, don't get me wrong. But I'm getting more comfortable. I feel better shooting.'' It's been a difficult season for Kidd-Gilchrist having gone from winning a national title at Kentucky to playing for the NBA's worst team. Aside from that, he's had to battle through two head injuries, the second resulting in a concussion last month. But through it all, the Bobcats have told Kidd-Gilchrist to keep shooting. ''You can't sit there and put question marks in Michael's eyes in terms of those decisions in his head, especially being the youngest guy in this league at 19 years old,'' Dunlap said. Teammates love the energy Kidd-Gilchrist brings to practice and games. They say it's contagious and has helped them fight through a 13-48 season with the trust that one day it will get better. ''The number one thing about Mike is he just plays hard,'' said teammate Gerald Henderson. ''So, he's going to get a lot of points off just his energy and just his aggression. He attacks the rim ... He's going to continue to grow as a player and his confidence is going to continue to grow. For him, for all of us, but especially for him, as he gets more comfortable out there it will be more consistent.'' After posting 17 points and 10 rebounds against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, Kidd-Gilchrist came back with another 17-point outing against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. He was a combined 16-of-24 shooting, half of those converted shots coming off jumpers. ''Regardless of how the season goes for us as a team, every game is a learning experience for MKG,'' said guard Ben Gordon. ''He's only 19 and he's going to continue to grow and you know, get better as he plays more. So, any time he has performances like that, it will help his confidence and give him something to continue to strive for and it's going to be helpful for him.'' Dunlap agrees. ''He's not thinking about playing as much, in terms of `Do I do this, or don't I do this?''' Dunlap said. ''I think that's just repetition from playing the game.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Five teams that could trade down in the NFL draft

Report: Darrelle Revis to Patriots looks 'increasingly likely'

Two-year-old’s mom claims son is reincarnation of Lou Gehrig

Report: Raiders have at least 27 votes for relocation to Las Vegas

Report: Sean Payton has ‘taken an interest’ in Johnny Manziel

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jags reportedly considering permanent training facility in London

Theo Epstein has great response to being named greatest leader

Peyton Manning says he is not interested in entering politics

Rob Manfred: WBC extra innings rule unlikely to come to MLB

LeBron James: Some Cavaliers players need to be tougher

Adam Jones: US motivated by Puerto Rico’s celebration plans

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/22: Team USA is heading to the championship

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker