There’s isn’t too much to be happy about for the Charlotte Bobcats this season, currently in the middle of a 13 game losing streak. Bright spots? Not too much, but rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, despite his inconsistency, seems to be one. With his 25 points, 12 rebounds game in yet another loss, he becomes the second player to post those numbers twice before his 20th birthday, joining LeBron James.
How is the 2nd overall draft pick in the 2012 NBA Draft? His athleticism and versatility was bound to make him a good player right from the start, but not enough to provide an immediate impact on the W column for the Bobcats. Kidd-Gilchrist needs a good team around him, or at least a better one that what he currently has in Charlotte, fallen to a 7-18 record.
He’s averaging 11 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting at a surprising 49.5% from the field. He seems smarter and calmer than what you’d expect from a guy in the first year of his NBA career, but looking at his College days, it might not be that much of a shock. His problem, like many rookies, is consistency. Energy levels are high, but tend to be wasted on the wrong things in many games, not to mention the depression of losing again and again, usually not even putting up much of a fight.
Still, he’s a good defender, and he’s probably having a season that’s just slightly inferior to that of Damian Lillard in Portland. Along with Kemba Walker, it seems like the Bobcats have a couple of players that make the future look at least a little brighter than the very bleak present. Plus, Kidd-Gilchrist, unlike LeBron James, pulled off those two 25-12 games within the first two months of his NBA career, the only player to reach this plateau twice in his first year.
Rookie of the year? At the moment it’s hard to say, but Lillard probably has a strong lead, while Anthony Davis is starting to come back from his injury, improving from game to game for the Hornets. If he keeps that up, he’ll probably take over the top spot for the rookies, despite missing nearly a month of action in November and December.
Lets not forget Tyreke Evans finished his rookie season with some historic numbers, averaging 20.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists. The only rookie, along with Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Oscar Robertson to have a 20-5-5 season in the first year on the job. Not that he’s a bad player now, but his numbers keep dropping while his team is falling apart and instead of being the future of the Sacramento Kings, he’s just another talented player in the NBA, hardly standing out except for a few nights a season.
Kidd-Gilchrist is special, but he doesn’t bring that to the table too often. Glimpses of his talent need to be about more than just athleticism. He needs to learn how to find open players and become a bit more of an outside threat, attempting only two three pointers so far this season. Not every high draft pick needs to become an All-Star player, but Kidd-Gilchrist has the potential to be one, and not just a random statistics chaser in a weird rookie season.