Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had an okay rookie season — he averaged 9 points and 5.8 rebounds a game but his shot from outside five feet was a disaster (29.6 percent from the midrange and he just doesn’t shoot threes, nor should he). He had the ugliest jump shot in the NBA. He brings the intangibles of defense and effort, he has a good basketball IQ, but he was a No. 2 pick who lacked the handles to create his own shot or the jumper to knock down the looks he had.
Given the expectations, it was disappointing. I’d hoped when I saw him at Summer League there would be improvement in those areas, but not so much.
It’s not just me or Bobcats fans that were disappointed, MKG himself was, he told the Charlotte Observer.
“I was disappointed in myself,” Kidd-Gilchrist said at media day, on the eve of training camp Tuesday morning at UNC Asheville. “It wasn’t the losses. I like all my teammates and we bonded a lot. I was mad at myself. I set goals and I didn’t reach any of the goals that I set. All my life I did that and last year I didn’t reach one goal.’’
Asked for specifics, Kidd-Gilchrist said he set out to be rookie of the year and failed. He set out to make first-team all-rookie, and failed.
Say this for MKG, he is motivated. He wants to get better, and that’s step one. At Summer League, another writer used the Kawhi Leonard comparison — he defends, he hustles and once he fixed his shot everything came together for him. Kidd-Gilchrist is working currently on overhauling his jump shot with Bobcats coach Mark Price.
He’s just 19, there is a lot of time to fix what needs work. If we start to see that improvement this season that disappointment everyone senses will fade away fast.
But he’s got a long way to go, based on what we saw in July.