Bobcats general manager, Rich Cho, was undoubtedly fielding trade calls all the way up until decision time. The Bobcats stood firm and surprised some people with their draft pick.
The Charlotte Bobcats chose to fill a void in the NBA Draft. The Bobcats selected Kentucky forward and defensive specialist, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, with the second pick. With the 31st pick, Charlotte took Vanderbilt forward, Jeffery Taylor. The 6’7”/213lb small forward is believed to bring a defensive mindset to the table for the Bobcats.
The attention surrounds their top choice, Kidd-Gilchrist. He averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1 steal per game as a freshman at Kentucky. Weighing in at 6’7”/232lbs; Kidd-Gilchrist brings with him athleticism, leadership, and the ability to become a lock-down defender night in and night out at the next level.
After the selection, Kidd-Gilchrist was as shocked as anyone. He was speechless in an interview with ESPN immediately after he was drafted; simply saying that “this was a blessing for him.”
No doubt this selection by Charlotte was kind of a shock. The Bobcats finished a league worst in scoring last year and ranked 29th in the league in rebounds per game. Bottom line is that Charlotte needed help around the basket and they didn’t address that need tonight.
However, in a recent trade with the Detroit Pistons, the Bobcats sent veteran forward, Corey Maggette, to the Motor City and in return acquired guard Ben Gordon.
This move made the Bobcats very thin at the small forward position. The three spot was clearly a need for the Bobcats, but in a recent report from ESPN.com, it was stated that Rich Cho follows the philosophy of “draft for talent and trade for need.”
Well, Charlotte drafted for need tonight; which isn’t such a bad thing.
Some of Kidd-Gilchrist’s season highlights last year came against top caliber college programs. Back in December he totaled 17 points and 11 rebounds against UNC. He followed that up against rival Louisville with 24 points and 19 boards. In the NCAA Tournament he punished up and coming programs; Indiana and Baylor in the scoring column with 24 points and 19 points respectively.
At age 18, Kidd-Gilchrist has plenty of time to grow as a player. Some of his performances last season indicate that he has the ability to become a scorer; an ability that could make him dangerous when you blend it with his defensive prowess.
Aside from all of the stats, the most important quality Kidd-Gilchrist will bring to the Bobcats is leadership. This intangible aspect is deep rooted in his life on and off the court. Even at 18, his maturity and leadership will allow him to make an impact and become a starter right away for Charlotte.
Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t make the Bobcats a playoff team overnight, but he will make them better next season. Charlotte is still a long way off from the postseason, but can continue to inch closer come July.
Free agency begins on July 1st and the Bobcats will be active. With their backcourt taking shape, they need to get a post player locked in. Look for Charlotte to try and improve in the paint. They are desperately slim at the power forward and center positions and need a veteran that can step in and produce from the start.