Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 6/5/12

In today’s time of sports we like to compare players of the present to the great players of the past. We do this in the hopes of replacing the greatness that the former players provided.   But to the detriment of today’s players we expect way too much. We should allow for their own playing careers to determine the status of their success.

The NBA promotes individual stars all the time. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant. The thing is that the average NBA fan would have a hard time naming the starting five on each of those star players team. They in turn look for the next Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird but end up with Harold Minor, Shaun Livingston, and Adam Morrison. The NBA needs to promote teams and let the players develop into superstars.

With that being said, I am about to ignore what I just stated and tell about this kid that a GM once said “We wondered what kind of shooter he’d be.”

The 2012 NBA draft is deep and will bring a multitude of future stars. This draft could go down as one of the best drafts since 1984. The draft is so deep this year that you will be able to find a starter in the second round of the draft. Of all the players in the draft one player stands out to me; a player that I would like to see my personal favorite team The Cleveland Cavaliers draft and that is Michael Kidd Gilchrist.

These are the comparisons I have heard for MKG: a rich man’s Gerald Wallace or Andre Iquodola;  the athletic ability, defensive abilities, and NBA build, I can’t argue with that, those assessments are absolutely right. Gerald and Andre are athletic monsters that do not have the best jump shots and have still managed to become really good NBA players. But Michael Kidd Gilchrist is those guys right now. He will come in and do what those players do right now at the age of 19. What MKG has that other players don’t have is the character, the motor, the basketball IQ, and the competitiveness of Michael Kidd Gilchrist. 

“I play my heart out,” the 6-foot-7 Kidd-Gilchrist said after putting up 24 points and 19 rebounds as No. 3 Kentucky fended off No. 4 Louisville, 69-62, Saturday at Rupp Arena. “That’s what I give, my heart.”

 The only thing that MKG does not have is a jump shot at 49% FG, 75 FT%, and 26% 3pt that is an understatement.

“Back then, the knock on Michael was that he couldn’t shoot the ball,” Thorn recalled. “For a long time, that first season, he just drove the ball to the basket and he didn’t need a shot. But Michael was so smart, he learned from taking some mighty licks. Michael was 195 pounds and 6-6, so he was kind of thin. The biggest doubt about him was if he could make a shot.

“We wondered what kind of shooter he’d be.”

That is a story about Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Michael was a very good player coming out of college. The greatest player of all time went No.3 because he did not have the solid overall game that people like to see. They want to see a finished product. What they could not see was the heart of Michael Jordan. The will to not lose, at any cost.

Michael Kidd Gilchrist athleticism is on par with anyone in the league. He is strong and fast with a 6’11 wingspan on a 6’7 body that weighs 215 lbs.  Gilchrist can play as a point forward, bringing the ball up the court and also setting up the offense. He is a very unselfish passer and usually makes the right pass instead of the fancy pass. He can breakdown the defense and get to the basket and finish with either hand, while absorbing contact. MKG also led NCAA on fast break efficiency with a 77% rating. That means on a fast break get the ball to MKG and he will finish. Although he only shot 75% from the FT, he is very clutch at the end of games. Michael attacks the glass like a 4 because of his length and strength and the will to get the ball. The defensive side of the ball is where Gilchrist’s athleticism really starts to show. He has the ability to stay in front of any offensive player on the perimeter and the length and strength to defend in the post.

This is what makes Michael Kidd Gilchrist one of the top players in the NCAA, and a future star for a NBA team. The ability to play at 100% at all times, he does what it takes to win and how it takes to win and he does not do it in a way that shows arrogance. MKG is the consummate team player.

A year ago, New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski called him the best high school player in America.

“I’ve covered him since he first arrived at Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick High School and one thing’s for sure: his motor never stops and he’s got an unquenchable thirst for winning.”

“Unlike some players, perhaps even some of his teammates, he never takes possessions off. He plays for the name on the front of his jersey”

If you don’t like what a recruiting expert has to say then how about fellow teammate Marquis Teague “He’s going to be everything, High-level energy. We feed off him.”

Does this sound like a player that will not work to develop a jump shot? Is this a player that will allow the money and the fame get to his head.

MKG has a speech impediment, but you would not know it. He takes his time when he speaks and thinks about what he wants to say before he says it. In order to get past his stutter in school, MKG would buy candy and share with all the students who did not have any candy, not to buy their sympathy but because they did not have any money to buy their own.

In conclusion we like to look for the next Michael Jordan, in the way a player shoots a jump shot, or how he dunks the ball. What we need to look at it is a player that wants to win, by any means necessary, and that player is Michael Kidd Gilchrist. Am I saying that MKG will get the same personal accolades, no way; MJ was an assassin on the court. What MKG will match is the intensity on the court and the will to win.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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