We're back with a look at another one of the key returning players from our 'Cats, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Weight: 232 lbs
Years Pro: 1
2012 Per Game Stats: 9.0 points, 1.5 assists, 5.8 rebounds, .7 steals, .9 blocks, 1.3 turnovers
If you ask anybody what the next step in developing MKG's game is, they would say that he needs to become a more consistent jump shooter, and new shooting coach Mark Price has his work cut out for him. On shots outside the paint (midrange jumpers and three pointers), MKG shot an awful 28.9%! That number is really going to need to increase this coming year if the Bobcats plan to play Al Jefferson and Bismack Biyombo at the same time, because neither of them have an outside jump shot and opposing defense can pack the paint due to the lack of shooters on the floor, which will lead to contested lay-ups, forced midrange shots, and a stagnant offense overall...kind of like the Bobcats offense from the last few years.
A stat that can be used to see how efficient a scorer is, is points per shot. You divide points by field goals attempted to figure out this metric. Elite players average 1.3 points per shot and an average player averages 1.15 points per shot. MKG averaged .76 points per shot last year...that's just terrible. MKG wasn't drafted to be an offensive player, and he's not expected to be, but he's extremely below average on all shots outside of the paint, which really hurts the Cats overall offense. Even though his jump shot and overall offensive game is flawed, he was a force in the paint during his rookie year. He shot 54.8% in the paint, and a blistering 62.5% on the right side of the paint, which is way above the league average. Coach Clifford and coach Price are in a tough position with MKG. He's such a talented defensive player, but his offense is so bad that he's always going to be targeted on the offensive end. Most opposing defenses are content with giving MKG open jump shots by backing off of him and cutting off his drives to the basket. This year though, with the addition of Jefferson to create more open off-ball cuts and an always-improving jump shot, MKG can become a more effective offensive player and a constant threat on the offensive end. Another way that MKG got open looks last year was off crashing the offensive boards and off of put back dunks/lay-ups. MKG averaged almost 2 offensive rebounds per game last year, and almost 3 of them per 40 minutes. Kidd-Gilchrist rebounded 12.7% of misses this past year, which is an elite number for a small forward and one that he can only build upon in upcoming years.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is an up and coming stud in the NBA in the defensive and rebounding facets of the game. Those 2 things will help him be a solid role player in the league for quite awhile. And while that may seem nice, you don't use the number two overall pick on just a solid defender, you use that kind of pick on a star, and anything less is considered a bust. The number two pick has had some busts in recent years with players such as Derrick Williams, Evan Turner, Hasheem Thabeet, Michael Beasley, and Darko Milicic as some of those players. Only time will tell if MKG will become one of those players, or if he will become a stud like Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, or Tyson Chandler (also number two picks). We saw flashes from MKG throughout the year of a solid post game, elite athleticism, and solid instincts on the offensive glass, which we saw cumulate to a Rookie of the Month Award in November, and a spot on the All Rookie Second team. MKG has all the potential in the world to become a Scottie Pippen type defender, and if he can develop his jumper and round out his offensive game, the Cats may have something special in the works.