Tag Archives: michael kidd-gilchrist
The Teams: Charlotte Bobcats (6-5) @ Washington Wizards (0-10)
The Time: 7 PM
The Location: Verizon Center. Washington, D.C.
TV, Radio: CSNW, 106.7 FM
The History: The Wizards had previously won their last five contests against the Bobcats, until November 13th of this year when they dropped a game 92-76.
The Washington Wizards are hurting this year, having started the season with ten straight losses and no victories. For the past few seasons, a game against the Charlotte Bobcats would have been a remedy for a losing streak of epic proportions. Unfortunately this year, that simply isn’t the case. The Bobcats come into the District having won five of their last seven games of basketball. The only thing these two teams have in common is that they both dropped their last game to the Atlanta Hawks, with the Bobcats falling 101-91 at home yesterday.
Aside from that loss, the Bobcats have been nothing but trouble for teams, with an impressive victory against the Memphis Grizzlies last week establishing them as a much improved team. Head coach Mike Dunlap has them playing very good basketball on the defensive end, and passable offensive play as well. Rookie small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is as advertised, averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds on the year. Thing is, MKG isn’t their only weapon, as the Bobcats have six players scoring in double figures this year. Ramon Sessions, the traveling suitcase of a player, has finally made a home for himself in Charlotte, where he is an early candidate for Sixth Man of the Year with his play off the bench.
Needless to say, this game won’t be easy for the Wizards.
Keys to the Game/Storylines
1.) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs Bradley Beal
No, these two players do not play the same position, but they were the second and third pick in the previous NBA draft and as such their histories will be closely linked. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has, as I previously stated, been a stud this year for the Bobcats. He is one of their best players, and has scored in double figures in 8 of their 11 games this season. Against the Hawks last night, MKG scored only 11 point, but he also impacted the game in ways that many players can’t. He also grabbed seven rebounds, but he blocked four shots as well, giving him 18 on the season. For a small forward, that number is absurd.
Meanwhile, Beal has been good but not really great. His 33% shooting from the field ranks him as the second worst rookie who is playing 15 minutes or more this year. His poor play recently relegated him to the bench, but only for one game. He started against the Hawks, but shot poorly and finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. He marred that performance with five turnovers, however, and he really hurt the team with those.
Both players are young, but so far it is glaringly apparent that one has been far more impressive than the other.
2.) Nene-Nene, Nene-Nene, Hey-hey hey, good try!
Nene debuted for the Wizards in the same fashion that he did after last year’s midseason trade: impressively. In 20 minutes of play against the Hawks, Nene scored 12 points off the bench by getting to the line numerous times. His presence and talent level was something the Wizards sorely missed, and it is clear that even in diminished health Mr. Hilario will be a boon for the Wizards front court.
With the poor performance of Emeka Okafor, Nene is a major upgrade who can sop up Okafor’s minutes that he doesn’t try. Given how much better of a scorer Nene is, the Wizards should see a major advantage in that department down low, which is something that they haven’t done well this season.
Take note, however. Nene only had one rebound last game, which is a very unusual number for a big man. His rebounding issues have been documented, so hopefully that is an aberration.
Prediction: The Wizards finally get a win with a rested, relatively healthy team who came off a tough loss where they played well. Bradley Beal rises to the occasion and outshines the person taken ahead of him in the draft.
When you set the mark for worst record in the history of the league and your offseason additions to the backcourt are Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon, you aren’t in good shape. Not surprisingly the Charlotte Bobcats come in at #15 in our look at the Eastern Conference’s backcourt’s.
The biggest problem I have with the Bobcats backcourt is that their top three options, Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon, are all 6’3 or smaller and need the ball in their hands to be effective. None are known as great distributors and I doubt any will have a transformation into a play maker for their teammates between now and the opening tip of the 2012-2013 season.
The Bobcats will rely heavily on this trio of scoring point guards in order to remain competitive this season, a difficult task for most young teams. Which could make for a tough first season for new coach Mike Dunlap.
Gerald Henderson is a decent option at SG but when your projected starting two guard only shoots 23% from three point range you have a problem. Reggie Williams comes in with a slightly better percentage of 31% but in all honesty that’s not a number worthy of beating your chest over.
Ben Gordon should help out in this area but if we’re being honest with ourselves here Gordon has shown he is more dependable as a spark plug off the bench than as a starter. Gordon is one of those players who make me scratch my head every time I see him play. He has all the ability to be a dominating guard but since his Chicago days he has been anything but this. Couple the drop in production with the fact that I see him and Kemba Walker as essentially the same player and you can tell why I am not overly high about this addition.
Bradley Beal, on the other hand, would’ve been a nice addition to this backcourt and as a Wizards fan I am very thankful that Michael Jordan chose to pass on the former Gator sharpshooter. Just thinking back to the time the Bobcats were on the clock at the end of June brings back haunting memories or “Is MJ going to screw us again here?”. MKG was a nice pick for them but not one that will pay immediate dividends on the offensive side of things.
When you look at their backcourt ranking with where their frontcourt was ranked, one would expect another tough love season for the Charlotte Bobcats.
The news that Dwight Howard is out of the Eastern Conference, even better, the Southeast Division, just doesn’t seem to get old now, does it? I hated the trade because it created yet another megaladon-sized powerhouse for the Washington Wizards to have to fend off en route to a championship; on the other hand, Dwight Howard can’t abuse the Wizards anymore! Over 31 games against the Wizards during his eight year career, Howard has averaged 18.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He has crushed Brendan Haywood, Etan Thomas, and JaVale McGee in every way possible since entering the league, but all that ends in 2012.
The Wizards now boast one of the best front courts in the NBA, and within the East it is as formidable as any that they will face throughout the season. But where does it rank? Well, let’s just break down all of them and try to peg where they stand….starting with the worst in the Eastern Conference.
#15. Charlotte Bobcats
Centers: Bismack Biyombo, Brendan Haywood
Power Forwards: Byron Mullins, Tyrus Thomas
Small Forwards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Reggie Williams
If you want to start any NBA list about the “Worst-anything,” all roads lead to Charlotte. Their front court situation does not veer far from that trend, as they are without a doubt the pits of the Eastern Conference. Part of that stems from how young their roster is, with only 154 games played in total between Bismack Biyombo, Byron Mullens, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Obviously, with that type of youth up front, there are going to be some serious rough spots. The Bobcats are headed in the right direction with the drafting of MKG, but they have a lot of ground to make up in order to overcome that fateful 2011 season.
Best Case Scenario:
The best case scenario for the Bobcats is that MKG shows signs of becoming the next Scottie Pippen, Bismack Biyombo turns into Dikembe/Serge Ibaka, and Byron Mullens manages simply to be better than Tyrus Thomas at his worst (which, mind you, is all the time). Really, though, the best case scenario only requires one thing: noticeable progress. If they can do that, they may end up coming out of the gutter of the Eastern Conference front courts.
Starting with the most important piece, the franchise player and youngest member on the team, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The strategy of hinging your future on an 18 year old kid is a dubious one at best, but those are the demands which the Bobcats have placed upon MKG’s shoulders. I actually believe that, if anyone can impress so much in their rookie season, it will be him. Watching MKG in his one summer league game was all I needed to see to decide he would be incredibly effective at the professional level. It was against the Sacramento Kings, but I was awe struck at his versatility. In that game, he scored 18 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, dished out 5 assists, and nabbed 4 steals en route to a 121-87 victory. That’s right, the Bobcats won, and it was on the back of a young kid.
As was his modus operandi in college, MKG was all over the court hounding defenders and making plays. He made the entire roster look better simply by his disruption of plays. Whenever he scores, it’s never a drawn up play, but rather an exploitation of a defensive scheme. His talent is that there is really no definitive defensive strategy to guard him; if you force him to shoot, he’ll just pass to an open man. If you’re not on him immediately, then he’ll shoot the ball; if you’re late on a rotation then he’ll be there to score. He has an incredibly good knowledge of how an offense functions, and where points are to be had on put backs opportunities, cuts, and steals. That’s where he’ll make you pay on the offensive end.
Furthermore, if you make a sloppy pass, MKG will be there to take it away, because he seriously doesn’t take plays off. It’s natural for any player to do it, but I’ve never seen a guy work as hard as him. He has the quickest feet on a 6’7ish player I have (yep, I’ll say it) ever seen. MKG runs the court like a guard, and doesn’t often lose his defensive assignment. I think he’ll get schooled by LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but when I look at the Eastern Conference list of small forwards, I see him being a defensive stopper on all but those two. That’s how much praise I’m heaping on this kid, and a reason why he might just be able to turn Charlotte into a defensively stout front court for any team.
Enough about MKG, what about the rest? In Bismack Biyombo, they have an incredibly athletic and long defender who can do only that–defend. Statistically, Biyombo averaged a paltry 5.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. On paper he isn’t going to look good, but watching him play is a different story. He appears to have solid defensive instinct, loves to block shots, and actually fights for rebounds. Biyombo is very physical down low, and if he can learn to combine that physicality and length with actual box out skills, he should be grabbing 10 rebounds a game. Of course, part of that is on his teammates, but I do see lots of potential. He is young, and his progression will be key.
Biyombo will more likely be offensive on offense before he becomes an offensive threat (read it, it makes sense). He has no post moves at the moment, has no jump shot, and does not resemble Serge Ibaka in any way, shape, or form on offense. But the potential is there for him to have the same effect; fantastic defense coupled with a single post move or patented way to score enough to justify staying on the court. Also, his Per 36 minute stats suggest he could become a double-double guy in the future, believe it or not. When you take that into account, it’s easy to see why Bobcats fans have slightly high hopes for him to become a 12-10-2 (block) guy in the very near future.
(Last thought: I think former Wizard Brendan Haywood was a great offseason addition to help Biyombo’s development. Haywood is far from an offensive threat, but he is passable on that end. It took him a long time to establish himself as a solid option, so perhaps he can quicken that learning curve for the Bobcats. Haywood is getting older and requires less minutes, but when he is on the court his defense is decent enough where he can spell Biyombo perfectly without sacrificing too much.)
As for Byron Mullins, he finally escaped from the Oklahoma City Thunder and their far too talented roster, in hopes of carving a name for himself in Charlotte. Last season, all that was really asked of him was to become a better player than Tyrus Thomas, the incumbent unhappy power forward who just collects paychecks at this point. Did he succeed? Yes, because he actually played, where as Tyrus just mailed the season in.
Byron played well enough last year to give Bobcats fans hope that he might become a scorer for them. His midrange ability showed itself last season, albeit a bit inconsistently. He will never be Dirk Nowitzki, but he can hit enough to keep defenses in check and counteract Bismack. Charlotte really liked making him the focal point of their offense last year (his usage rate was a crazy 22.5), but unfortunately he couldn’t hit shots consistently. Then again, no one on the Bobcats could do that, either.
Mullens issue was at the defensive end, where he couldn’t stop a beach ball. He really hadn’t played NBA basketball consistently until last season, and it showed. If Mullins can adjust to the speed of the game accordingly, his hard work and good size could make him passable on the defensive end. He needs to help Biyombo out more, because he is a sloth on defense. I think, in time, he could become better with help defense and fulfill the potential that Thunder GM Sam Presti once saw in him.
Worst Case Scenario
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’ knee ends up being far more of a problem that originally presumed. The same one that made him sit all but one summer league game just isn’t right, and he is forced to miss the majority of the season. That would leave their small forward position in the hands of Reggie Williams, the soon-to-be 26 year old Virginia native who failed to make an impact in Golden State prior to last season. MKG, when healthy, proves that his shooting ability leaves more than a bit to be desired, and his offensive production is disastrous. Add in his lingering knee issue, and his lateral movement and ability to stay in front of the man he is guarding is robbed. After realizing that MKG is obviously hurt, Charlotte sits him for the remainder of the season, and his effect is marginalized.
Bismack Biyombo, on the other hand, makes little progress in terms of anything outside of blocking ability. Offensively, he is a disaster and, while he tries to shoot more jumpers, fails to make any of them. His progress resembles more Olowokandi than that of Serge Ibaka, and justifying him being on the court becomes a harder and harder task. Instead, they opt for Brendan Haywood, in hopes of some marginally better production. The result is that Haywood, having complained the entire season of coming off the bench (as he did earlier in his career with the Wizards), becomes a malcontent. He failed to put in the effort earlier in the season, and his conditioning is poor. He proves to be a worse option than Biyombo, and thus the Bobcats are stuck with two poor performers occupying the same position.
Byron Mullens, on the other hand, shoots about as poorly as Adam Morrisson, and stagnates the offense with his ball stopping, ill-advised jumper hoisting ways. He doesn’t provide anything on the defensive end, and what was once predicted to be a stingy defense is now a sieve. With Mullens playing terribly, the Bobcats have to rely on, quite possibly, a worse option in Tyrus Thomas, who is already fed up with the Bobcats. His sour mood infects the front court, and the rest of the team feeds off his dismal morale, leading the entire team into mutiny. In a worst case scenario, the Bobcats have an offensively brutal, malcontent, and slightly injured front court that lacks the wherewithal to do any better than last season. They don’t stop anyone, and continue having the worst record in the league.
We all know by now that the Wizards have the third pick in the draft, and as a wise spider-based superhero once said, “With great draft position comes great responsibility.” Or something along those lines. In this segment of A Case for Drafting, we finally check out Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the other player who the Wizards will hypothetically select on June 28th. Kidd-Gilchrist, the youngest but arguably most important piece on the National Championship winning Kentucky Wildcats, is the type of guy who can develop into a multifaceted NBA player. His intangibles are what make him great, though his on the court prowess is in no way scoff-worthy.
Where do you begin with a young man like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? He is such a well rounded player and individual that it’s difficult to pinpoint one exact thing that he does incredibly well. But while watching film of this guy, the one skill that’s often overlooked yet remains a crucial element to MKG’s game is his defense. Almost unarguably, Anthony Davis was the defensive catalyst behind that championship Kentucky squad, but great defensive teams consist of more than one part. If Davis is 1a, then Kidd-Gilchrist is 1b on that roster when it comes to defense. On the defensive end, MKG has not only the physical attributes (6’7 1/2 with a 6’10 wingspan), but the passion and mental will to become a prolific defender.
Often tasked with guarding the toughest perimeter players, MKG held his own nearly every contest. He possesses incredible footwork which allows him to move laterally better than almost any player I’ve seen coming out of college. MKG stays in front of the player he is guarding (be it one through four, mind you) almost always, a credit to his side to side speed. It’s a skill that takes years of refinement at the professional level in order to become as good as MKG already is at it. He’s going to be able to defend just about anyone at the next level, and that’s could potentially be his bread and butter.
MKG also has a very good instinctual blocking and stealing ability, which typically goes hand in hand with players who possess high basketball IQ’s. Kidd-Gilchrist knows when to jump in order to contest a shot, and doesn’t really bite on the pump fake moves. He was also great at swatting the shots of players who managed to penetrate into the lane. MKG is actually quick enough that he can provide help defense and switch off his man at will strictly because of his strength and quickness; he can recover whenever he needs to.
What else does MKG do well? Fills the passing lanes and rebounds. Were deflecting passes and balls a skill, MKG would have led the NCAA in that statistic. He is constantly disrupting the lane and punishing other team’s for their sloppy or late passes. His 7.4 rebounds per contest also put him in the upper echelon of perimeter rebounders. There are very few players who can grab that many boards with Anthony Davis mopping the glass, bu MKG is in a select group. He simply has a nose for the ball.
Again, all of this goes back to his team-first mentality in that MKG will do whatever it takes to win a basketball game. His work ethic is what scouts gush on and on and on about, and that same work ethic is what turns good players into great ones. Shaquille O’Neal once said (in one of his smarter moments), “Excellence is not a singular act but a habit. You are what you do repeatedly.” This applies to MKG in that his work ethic may very well take him to heights his natural athleticism and competitiveness can’t.
In the NBA, most top 5 picks don’t have incredibly major red flags when it comes to scoring; Kidd-Gilchrist is the exception to that rule. There basically isn’t a whole lot to like about him on the offensive end, and scouts have serious concerns about his ability to develop into a second or third (or even fourth) option at the next level.
His jump shot is weird looking, let’s just get that out of the way now. It has a hitch in it where, despite being right handed, Kidd-Gilchrist shoots the ball from the left side of his body. No, it’s not Desmond Mason shooting free throws, but it isn’t aesthetically pleasing. He also tends to kick his legs out on his jumper and fade a bit, which may further exacerbate the issue. Kidd-Gilchrist might actually already realize that his shot is bad, and it could be why he took the least amount of shots on his team at 18.6%. He can make the midrange jump shot, but not nearly consistent enough to justify using it on the offensive end anytime soon. And while he can occasionally hit the three point shot, he is not going to be good at it off the bat in the NBA. MKG needs to put hours upon hours into the gym (which he does already) in order to develop a consistent jumper.
The bulk of his offense came on back downs, put backs, and transition points (again, this speaks to his great basketball instincts) when Kentucky rushed the ball up the court. At the professional level, he is going to have a very hard time backing down more athletic, similarly sized wing players and the put backs might be limited against taller defenders. That leaves him with transition buckets and drawing contact, which doesn’t scream out “lottery pick” to me.
Another thing that you notice when watching MKG is that he isn’t a very good ball handler, and as such struggles with pull up shots and beating men off the dribble. He has yet to develop the ability to blow by a defender on his way to the rack, despite being quick and agile enough to do so. It simply isn’t pretty when he’s forced into an isolation situation, and more often than not MKG will pass the ball off after failing to get past his man. Shouldering past your opponent and rising up in the lane is something that lots of small forwards in the NBA have a natural instinct for strictly based on athleticism, and yet it’s a skill MKG is going to have to learn.
MKG and Andre Iguodala are eerily similar on the basketball court. They’re both athletes (though Andre is overwhelming in that category) who do a whole lot of the intangible things correctly on the court. Coming out of college, Iggy Pop averaged 12.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists (MKG averaged 11.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 2 APG). Both players were on teams chock full of NBA talent(Andre’s Arizona squad had Channing Frye, Luke Walton, Salim Stoudamire, Mustafa Shakur, and Hassan Adams), and as a result were asked to do things other than score in order to win games. In the NBA, it took Iguodala about two to three years in order to develop into what could be considered a third option on the floor. Despite being the second and third look throughout his career, Iguodala excels more at being a complimentary piece rather than an offensive scorer, and that’s exactly how I can see MKG panning out.
MKG’s downside isn’t really that bad. A lot of websites have Gerald Wallace as his downside, meaning he’s a guy who, through sheer will and determination, will score points and hit the boards hard. I think that’s certainly reasonable, as Wallace is a very strong defender and, while not being a major scoring threat, could still play a major part on a championship team. He’s a guy that plays basketball the right way and physically can hang in the NBA, so MKG’s downside is limited.
Why He’s a Good Fit in the District
From an offensive basketball standpoint, not necessarily all that well. Were Washington to select Kidd-Gilchrist, they’d be adding an offensively inept player to an offensively starved team. MKG won’t be a scoring threat anytime soon, so a John Wall kick out isn’t going to help out at all. That’s not to say that down the road MKG won’t turn out to be a fantastic player and fit for the Wizards, it’s just conceding that his skill set currently doesn’t work with this roster. There are enough paint scoring presences in Seraphin, Nene, Booker and Wall (he’s not scoring from outside of 8 feet too often), that adding MKG would make the team very one dimensional. I’m not sure if that’s the best idea.
He would, however, be a major addition in terms of transition scoring with his steals and speed. He and John Wall would work very well together in that regard, as they both excel at that aspect of the game. Last year, Washington was third in the league in fastbreak points at 17.9 per game, so I’m not certain that they can get a whole lot better at doing that if we’re being honest. Sacramento was the second best, so it’s not as if more transition points means more wins. It’s a crapshoot. Washington already gets out in front against people, and what they really need is scoring.
Still, MKG is a guy who would bring a winning pedigree to a losing team, and that intangible has to be taken into consideration. Kidd-Gilchrist works out and works out the right way, and if any of that rubs off on Andray Blatche or John Wall, the Wizards are going to get a whole lot better at basketball.
The NBA Draft Combine has begun, and with that, some answers about potential draft picks for the Washington Wizards will be answered. But before we look into what we learned on Day One, we should get one thing straight: The NBA Combine isn’t anywhere near as cool as the NFL version. Half of the players elect not to shoot, there’s a lot less sprinting for 4.2 40 times and a lot more measuring of body parts. Still, we do get to learn a little more about lottery picks, and get some interesting sound bites which can speak volumes about their personalities. Fans tend to read too much into particular quotes (oftentimes taken out of context), but who cares? That’s what this whole thing is about, damnit!
University of Florida, Freshman
Listed Height: 6’3
Listed Weight: 195 Lbs
Directly above this you’ll see Bradley Beal’s main flaw: He’s a munchkin by NBA shooting guard standards (in everyday life he’s huge). GMs and coaches like two guards who have length and fall within the 6’5 to 6’7 range. Before yesterday, Beal was considered 6’3, largely due to the fact that his player profile on Florida’s webpage said that. The good news for Wizards fans is that it isn’t true, as Beal measured out at 6’4 1/4. It’s one and a quarter inch, but an inch could be the difference between being picked third or fifth. To be honesty, it allayed some of my fears that he might be a bit too DaJuan Wagner-ish to hang in the NBA.
Not only was he taller than listed, he was also longer: Bradley’s wingspan measured out to be 6’8. So while he may not have great height, that wingspan means he could be more versatile than expected. It means Beal can become a very competent defender in the NBA (if he chooses to) and his rebounding ability might translate. Speaking of his rebounding ability, knowing now that he has a 6’8 wingspan, it makes sense why a guy his height could average 6.7 boards/game last year for the Gators. NBA scouts constantly preach that the one skill that almost directly translates to the NBA: rebounding. Beal clearly works hard to grab boards, and the Wizards could use a bit of that hard work.
University of Kansas, Junior
Listed Height: 6’10
Listed Weight: 222 Lbs
District native Thomas Robinson was another guy who NBA scouts thought might be vertically challenged. Listed at 6’10 going into the draft, Robinson actually lost a bit over an inch when he measured out at 6’8 3/4. Power forwards come in lots of shapes and sizes, but nearly all of them are 6’9 and up. Robinson, without shoes, is darn close to that measurement, but I’m not sure it matters with this guy. Why? Because he also had a 7’3 wingspan. He’s not a pterodactyl, but he’s not Randy Moss catching balls midfield either. Chris Bosh manages with being a “listed 6’10″ guy just fine. With that wingspan, Robinson’s height disparity amongst other power forwards will be virtually negated. His rebounding skills at Kansas, where he averaged almost 12 per contest, should translate very well to the pros.
Perhaps the most striking part about this guy is the physical shape he’s in. Robinson is an absolute specimen; he looks like Michelangelo carved him right out of stone. Through the NBA Combine we have come to find out that Robinson only has 5% body fat. My body fat percentage in college was Natural Light, and I played sports! Thomas is a guy who is already about on par with Karl Malone (3%) and Dwight Howard (7.5%) in the elite athlete category. If there’s any doubts about him, it’s not going to be whether or not he’s going to blow up a la Eddie Curry at any point during his career. That work ethic (notice a trend with these top 3 picks?) could be just what the doctor ordered for Washington.
University of Kentucky, Freshman
Listed Height: 6’7
Listed Weight: 228
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist already has enough exposure and was one of the players who opted not to participate in any drills, so as not to hurt is draft stock. That’s completely understandable, because with MKG, it’s all about the intangibles. He may not jump higher than any of the small forwards in the draft (though he’s no slouch vertically), and he may not be the fastest or tallest (though he again is formidable), but MKG has plenty of intangibles to salivate over. A National Championship at 18, lock-down defense, and rave reviews from John Calipari always help a player’s cause. At the NBA Draft Combine Kidd-Gilchrist measured out to be 6’7.5 in shoes with a 7’0 wingspan and an 8’8.5 standing reach, which are fantastic measurements for him. However, when you talk about MKG it always goes back to the fact that (Cue the music) all he does is win.
Kidd-Gilchrist won a gold medal at the FIBA U-17 games in 2010; and while he lost out on a state championship in high school, his college career says he could easily repeat performances at the professional level. He has a blue collar mentality, and he does and says all the things you want to hear from a prospect coming out of college. That being said, there were some sound clips I heard which were great, and some which were…well…not so great.
When asked about who he compares his game to:
“I like (Scottie) Pippen. I like Pippen’s game a lot. That’s old school. I’m only 18,” he added. “That’s old school to me. No offense.”
“I’ll make it work if I go there, I’ll make it happen.”
“I might cry some nights,” he said. “But it is what it is at this point.”
(Cue record scratching and dead silence)……what?
My colleague pointed this one out, and in his words, “That’s sounds soft to me.” Yeah, it does. That sounds like a red flag to me, but again, I don’t want to look too much into one quote. Still, MKG is going to want to see if he can pick up an endorsement from Kleenex if he gets drafted by the Washington Wizards or the Charlotte Bobcats. If there’s one thing our organizations know, it’s how to lose! So if you can’t stand the heat, get out the kitchen because we’re going to drop games! What does he expect? It’s the lottery; losers play the lottery.
All in all, though, I can’t complain with most of what he said. He’s a nice kid who clearly shows up on the court better than off of it. He comes from winning programs and has been used to winning his entire career to this point. While I may not be too keen on him crying himself to sleep after an early season loss to the Pacers, I love the fact that he clearly hates losing. That in and of itself is a quality that needs to be instilled in this franchise. So give Kidd-Gilchrist a ball and some hardwood and watch him whirl. Unfortunately, unless he’s shooting for people off the court his jump shot concern isn’t going to get addressed anytime soon.
Regardless of who we pick, Beal, Robinson, Or Kidd-Gilchrist, the Wizards are going to grab a hard worker. Despite their minor flaws, all of these guys bring it night in and night out on the basketball court. And unless Washington falls in love with Andre Drummond all of the sudden, it looks like they’re going to get a nice piece to the puzzle in this draft.
The alarm went off at 7:15 am, I dragged myself out of bed and began my usual morning routine to get ready for my job that I actually make money from. Then it hit me, the day I’d been waiting for since February had finally arrived. Today we found out if the Wizards were going to be adding the Unibrow to end all Unibrow’s to its roster.
Needless to say, this put a little pep in my step that normally would be nonexistent on a Wednesday where I had to go into the office. I dawned my John Wall t-shirt under my shirt and tie for perceived good luck and embarked on what I need would be my least productive day at work to date. There was a hint of something in the D.C. air that morning, I’m not talking about whatever smell is emanating from the Potomac River nowadays either. It took a moment for me to realize that it was hope.
For Wizards fans, however, hope takes on a different kind of meaning. Sure, we all hoped that, potential hair club for men spokesman, Adam Silver would pull the Wizards logo out of an envelope and the #1 pick would be ours. Just as many of us, the realists who know our draft history at least, were hopeful that we would not get screwed and fall as far as we possibly could and be left picking 5th. Leaving diehards like myself reeling all day long at the notion of Ernie Grunfeld having to wait until four of the more sure fire prospects were off the board to make our selection. Or what I like to call it, the Andre Drummond/ Perry Jones III nightmare.
The tension mounted as the day bore on. Finding myself more unfocused than ever at my desk I took to playing the mock lottery machine on ESPN.com thinking this would be an effective way to pass time. Four out of my first five attempts at the machine resulted in the Wizards landing the top pick. It got to the point where I was unsure if I wanted to continue playing as I thought everything from I don’t want to jinx it to maybe ESPN caters this to your IP address so your local team wins more.
Not wanting to be “That guy” I stopped playing the game and took to Twitter for my NBA related entertainment. The last two hours of unproductive activity flew by and only a 50 minute commute home on the Metro stood between me, some beers with the guys and what I hoped would be another turning point in Wizards franchise history. We convened at Clyde’s in Alexandria, because here at The DC Dime we like to keep it classy, and settled in for what would either be unparalleled elation or utter disappointment.
As a Wizards fan I’ve come to expect either the best or the worst and nothing in between. Shockingly enough, the in between is exactly what happened Wednesday night. The slots started coming in and everything was going as expected as we closed in on the dreaded 5th pick. The envelope is opened and its not the Wizards! Next slot comes off and we’re not the 4th pick either!
Going into the commercial break they show the remaining teams and place arrows next to Washington and New Orleans indicating we’d secured a spot in the top three. At this point we’ve all had a few adult beverages and one of my colleagues looks over at me and says “What the hell do those arrows mean!?!?” After calming his irrational fears the break was over and we were back to the lottery. I was on the edge of my bar stool as they opened the next envelope…
The Washington Wizards were selecting third. While it wasn’t the rights to the Unibrow, the slot where the Wiz landed was more than fine with me. Especially after Charlotte slid to the 2nd pick and it set in that the Unibrow wouldn’t be playing against us in the Southeast division I felt even better. New Orleans won the lottery for what I would assume were #BasketballReasons, as technically the team hasn’t been handed over to Tom Benson yet and are still owned by the league.
I began to think about who our options would be at #3 and felt good about who would be there. Then I realized that Michael Jordan is picking ahead of us and there is no set in stone second pick in this draft. Meaning the same man who took Kwame Brown over Pau Gasol would have to make a tough decision, immediately I felt better about our positioning. As quickly as it started it was over and with it was a day’s worth of worrying over falling to the fifth pick AGAIN.
We finished our beverages and left the bar, and at least I felt great about the way the evening turned out. This wasn’t just due to the silly oysters I had either. This was legitimate feelings of joy that we weren’t in a position where it was expected for our front office to screw this up.
Since then its come out that the Bobcats will look at “At least six players for the 2nd pick.” This seems like far to many to me when there are really only three options (MKG, Beal and Robinson). Having possibly one of the worst owners/executives in NBA history picking directly ahead of us is a great thing for Wizards fans. For all we know he’ll take another Tar Heel just to sell tickets.
We are officially within four weeks of the NBA Draft at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ (Which shouldn’t be awkward considering it may be the last NBA sponsored event in the state for quite some time). Over the coming weeks we will see a plethora of prospects come through the Nation’s capital for a chance to audition in front of our coaches at the Phone Booth.
This is a draft where we cannot afford to miss on our pick and not land an impact player going forward. Ernie and the rest of the Wizards brain trust will have their work cut out for them over the next month in setting up their draft board and targeting prospects. Personally, I am hoping for either Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal. But I am equally thankful there are no Euro’s at the top of this years draft for Ernie to become infatuated with.
What were we left with after Wednesday nights events? The same thing I woke up with that morning, hope. It’s going to be a fun next four weeks and The DC Dime will be with you the entire way up until draft night on June 28th.
Tags: Anthony Davis, basketball, beal, brad beal, bradley beal, Ernie Grunfeld, John Wall, Kentucky, michael kidd-gilchrist, mkg, NCAA, sports, Thomas Robinson, washington, Washington Wizards, Wizards