Greatness isn’t within everybody.
The desire to be better than one currently is doesn’t burn the same within the fiery pits of each person’s character makeup. But when you have athletic ability there seems to be a cloud of pressure that can either fuel the fire to be better or squelch it dry.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is only in his second year on the Charlotte Bobcats but questions about his ability to develop stand taller than his 6’7″ frame. The pressure for development comes largely based on his draft position because Charlotte foolishly selected him second overall in 2012.
He’s got youth and the physical tools on his side but doesn’t possess the offensive skills at this stage of his career that warrant consideration to achieve greatness. His jumper is some sort of mechanism that has gone far too long without reconstruction. MKG has been working on his release but the hitch is so distinct it’s hard to envision his jumper ever becoming a thing of beauty or consistency.
For now he’s a slasher and defender whose role is clearly limited by the construction of the Bobcats roster. With Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker as options one and two, Kidd-Gilchrist can only hope for meager scraps offensively. He gives the Bobcats just 7.2 points per game (down from nine last season) with 5.1 rebounds. But his production might have faded further if Jeff Taylor didn’t suffer a season-ending Achilles injury back in December.
For what it’s worth Taylor wasn’t tearing things up before his injury (eight points, 2.3 rebounds on just 37 percent shooting) but it appeared that the organization was ready to see what they had in him given MKG’s lack of progress in the offseason.
Despite an unimpressive regular season Kidd-Gilchrist remains as the only viable option at small forward for Charlotte. The former Kentucky product looks like he will have a Tony Allen-like role for the playoff-bound Bobcats. He has a better defensive rating of 104 compared to 110 last season, but it could be argued that the defensive scheme of Steve Clifford deserves the praise for that improvement.
However, to the credit of Kidd-Gilchrist, the team’s defensive rating is at minus-3.4 when he’s off the floor. So put a feather in the cap for him in that regard.
How he performs on both sides of the ball when the playoffs arrive may determine his future with the team. His name was floated in trade rumors earlier in the season and if he flops during the playoffs, Charlotte could very well look to deal him in the summer.
What will be more interesting to see is if they keep him to begin next season, will they elect to pick up his fourth year option by Oct. 31.
It’s too early to call him a bust but things are not progressing swimmingly. Does Kidd-Gilchrist yearn to be a great player? Probably.
Is greatness within him? Probably not, but there is still time to squeeze every ounce of the potential in his body to have a productive career … wherever that continues.