Published on January 7th, 2012 | by Bryant West, Columnist1
2012 NBA Draft Prospect Stock Watch: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Name: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Hometown: Elizabeth, NJ
Physicals: 6′ 7″, 228 lbs, 18 years old
NBA Position: Small Forward
Current Stats: 13.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 52% FG, 75% FT, 37% 3P
Over the past few seasons, Kentucky (14-1, #2 in the nation) has had an abundance of superstar talent leave after just one year in Wildcat blue. And while a majority of the attention is going to Anthony Davis, the projected top selection in the 2012 draft.
But while Davis is sticking himself at the top of the draft boards, his teammate, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, proving to be one of the years most exciting prospects.
Kidd-Gilchrist currently averages 13.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 52% for the Wildcats, one of the deepest teams in recent memory. The Wilcats have six players, including Kidd-Gilchrist, who average 10 or more points a season.
But while his individual stats may not leap out at you, his play should, considering the talent playing around him. He is one of the sports most explosive players, with a vertical leap and athletic ability that elude nearly all prospects.
While scouts worried about his ability to become a truly dominant scorer, he’s shown an excellent scoring touch so far in his collegiate career. While his perimeter scoring remains the biggest weakness in Kidd-Gilchrist’s repertoire, he’s performing above expectations as is sinking 37% of his three pointers on the season.
But what makes Kidd-Gilchrist such an exciting prospect is his motor. He has a determination on the court that any fan can see just after a few minutes. He owns a dedication to improve and a team-collective spirit that top the draft board.
Kidd-Gilchrist had a monster performance last week against #4 Louisville, posting up 24 points and 19 rebounds in route to a 69-62 Kentucky win.
“You get what you deserve in life and in basketball,” UK coach John Calipari said. “You want to spend the extra time, do more, get out and do extra things. It’s going to start showing. Something is going to happen good for you, those guys who do that… “[Kidd-Gilchrist] was vicious today. He was vicious.”
Kidd-Gilcrhist even started a “breakfast club” with his teammates. How cool is that?
Draft Watch: If he wasn’t jumbled into arguably the deepest draft in recent memory, he’d probably be a top 3 selection. As it is, a top 5 selection come June is definetly not out of the question.
While his lack of a consistant perimeter game may currently have him behind such big names as Perry Jones, Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, Andre Durmmond and teammate Anthony Davis, he’s easily one of the fastest rising prospects. If he keeps up his fantastic play and starts showing some consistency in his shooting, the general belief seems to be that he’ll add him name amongst the heavy hitters.
But if he stays behind the “top five”, he’ll find plenty of NBA teams clamoring for the potential superstar.
Arguably one of the best fits for Kidd-Gilchrist could be New Orleans (2-5), alongside Eric Gordon. Gilchrist is tall and big enough to play small forward, and with a Gordon/Kidd-Gilchrist combo, the Hornets could develop one of the deadliest wing scoring punches in the business.
Another excellent fit would be Milwaukee (2-4), should the Bucks continue to struggle. The Bucks have some excellent players with Brandon Jennings and when-healthy-Andrew-Bogut, but they lack serious scoring skills.
And while Nets fans still hold out hope that New Jersey/soon-to-be-Brooklyn (2-6) will somehow still add Dwight Howard to their squad, it looks more and more like not only will they not get Howard, but they are in serious danger of losing Deron Williams as well.
Unless they give up and trade Williams now, however, they’ll likely end up in the mid-to-late lottery. Kidd-Gilchrist, a New Jersey native, would be a godsend to a team that needs to drum up support and attention as it moves into Brooklyn.
Conclusion: While scouts still have concerns about his shooting ability, it seems that with his athleticism, scoring instincts and an unprecedented motor, Kidd-Gilchrist is a lock for a top 10 selection, and may have the ability to sneak into the top 5.
Photo Credit: IconSMI