Some players don’t show up well on the stat sheet–Michael Kidd-Gilchrist being one of them. Charlotte Bobcats fans have been frustrated with the development–or lack thereof–of the second overall pick out of Kentucky.
I mean the player selected right in front of him, Anthony Davis, has been putting up MVP type numbers. MKG. on the other hand. has put up a pedestrian eight points and five rebounds per game in his NBA career.
The scouting report out of college for MKG was pretty simple: hustle. MKG was projected to be a player that plays good defense and just out works every other player. Lots of scouts compared him to Andre Iguodala prior to the 2012 draft.
I like to compare him to Luol Deng. Deng, like MKG, had trouble scoring his first two years in the league. What separated Deng from others was his hustle and willingness to sacrifice his body.
Deng did a lot of things that did not appear on the stat sheet. Reminds me of MKG. The Chicago Bulls didn’t know the true value of Loul until he got hurt and missed games. The Charlotte Bobcats suffered the same lesson the Baby Bulls of the 2000s did. MKG broke his hand on Dec. 6. During his absence, the Bobcats went 7-12 during a 19-game stretch. During that 19-game stretch, Charlotte allowed 101 points per game. Not good for a team that relies on its defense. In games where MKG is playing, the Bobcats are only allowing 92.8 points per game. That just sniffs the surface of MKG value to Charlotte.
All the points I made above get summed up in MKG return last night against the New York Knicks. Look at his stat line: 30 minutes, eight points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals on 3-of-12 shooting. At first glance you’re probably thinking, “Bad night for MKG.” Yes, his shot is a little rusty after 6six weeks off, but let’s look deeper to find his impact. Carmelo Anthony is coming off a Eastern Conference Player of the Week award. So to say he is hot might be an understand. Well, MKG’s defense helped limit Melo to 9-of-22 shooting and two turnovers. That’s winning basketball and that’s what the Charlotte Bobcats need.