Not a good week for former Kentucky teammates Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. After going 1-2 in the draft in 2012, both second-year players were enjoying improved sophomore campaigns. Davis was playing like a MVP candidate while MKG was starting to develop into a younger Andre Iguodala. Unfortunately both players fractured their hands and are expected to miss time. New Orleans takes a fatal shot to their playoff dreams with the loss of their MVP candidate. What will the Bobcats miss about MKG? Let’s take a look.
For starters: defense. The Bobcats have been horrendous on the offensive end, but they’ve still found ways to stay in ball games. They’re currently ranked second in the NBA in opponent points per game. MKG has been a major reason why. He currently ranks in the top 50 among all NBA players in defensive win shares and defensive rating–which is an impressive feat considering those metrics tend to favor big men. His improvement this year has not only been on the defensive end–MKG has made massive offensive strides.
The first thing to note his MKG improved efficiency. Last year Kidd-Gilchrist shot a pedestrian 45.8 percent from the field. Thanks to an improved jump shot and shot selection, the second-year hybrid guard is now shooting 50.8 percent. Let’s compare his 2012 shot chart with his 2013 one:
There isn’t much analyzing that needs to be done over here. It is pretty obvious MKG put in the work this summer to improve his jumper and the results are showing. His improved shot has helped the Bobcats offense–an offense at times which has trouble finding its identity. Missing major time would stunt MKG’s development. While his jump shot is improved, it still has a long way to go to reach his potentially. In a perfect world, Kidd-Gilchrist will start adding a 3-point shot to his game.
Another thing the Bobcats will miss is his interior toughness. Kidd-Gilchrist is very good around the rim. Here is some evidence:
MKG will be hard to replace for a thin Charlotte Bobcats squad. Kidd-Gilchrist is a hybrid guard, so he plays the 2 and the 3. James Southerland is the only other listed small forward on the roster. Southerland is a undrafted free agent out of Syracuse so I doubt he gets major playing time. My prediction would be increased playing time for veteran 2 guard Ben Gordon. Gordon has only played in four games so far this year, but recently coach Steve Clifford has started inserting him into different lineups. Playing Gordon could be a blessing in disguise because if he plays well, his trade value goes up and there are a lot of teams out there in need of a 2 guard. Lastly, Gordon isn’t in the Bobcats long-term plan so it would make sense trading him if he brings back value. Here is to wishing MKG a speeding recovery.