Jun 27, 2012

Why Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Isn't The Right Fit

When watching the national championship Wildcats it was hard to ignore the impact that Michael Kidd-Girlchrist made during most every game.  His hustle, rebounding, defensive activity, and finishing on the fast break all jump off of the screen.  His 6'7" frame along with his 6'10" wingspan are all more than adequate measurements for the small forward position in the NBA and he is ready to contribute right away. With all this said, is he the best fit for the Cavaliers at the #4 spot? I say no, and here's why.

The Cavs leading scorer on the wing this season was Alonzo Gee who averaged just a hair over 10ppg while only starting about half of the season.  Gee has similar measureables and offensive game as MKG, but his jump shot is further along and more mechanically sound at this point.  The other highest points per game from the wing belonged to Boobie Gibson and Anthony Parker where they both shared the paltry number of 7.  Point being, why bring another wing that will struggle to score in the half court? 

MKG scored most of his points in the transition game, and those aren't points that you can count on night in and night out.  Many of these fast break opportunities come from the #1 overall pick Anthony Davis patrolling the middle of the lane on defense.  Great shot blockers and rebounders (Davis, Terrence Jones) generate fast breaks, and while Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao are competent defenders, neither are going to dominate in the type of way that Anthony Davis did in the lackluster SEC.  Another telling statistic from Kentucky's national championship team was that MKG was used only 18% of the time on offense, ranking seventh on the team.  While there were upperclassmen around him that were gone to more, you would want to see a little more action in the half court from a guy that you are depending on being your 4th pick in the draft.  

There is little doubt that MKG will be a good defensive player in the league. He is his 18 years old with room to grow into a better offensive player, but there are more pressing needs on this team. The Cavs were 25th in the league in scoring and shot the second worse percentage from the field last year.  This team needs players that can put the ball in the basket, preferably without Kyrie Irving having to put him in a perfect spot every play.  Players like Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb, and Terrence Ross (if they trade back to get Lamb/Ross) all seem to be more natural fits next to Irving, who will be the only natural scorer on the floor with MKG in our projected 5.  Will it be the end of the world if the Cavaliers take Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at #4? No, but it wouldn't address the team's two biggest needs, a wing scorer and a legitimate center, both of which can be had at picks 4-11.  

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