The Charlotte Bobcats, who had the worst record in the NBA last season, picked 6-7 Kentucky freshman forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday. It means Kentucky freshmen were taken in the first two picks, the first time teammates went first and second in the modern NBA era.
There were multiple reports that the Bobcats would trade the No. 2 pick, because they need help at many positions, but they opted to take Kidd-Gilchrist.
The Charlotte Observer reported the Bobcats were in trade discussions in the hours leading to the draft, with the Cleveland Cavaliers, among others. The Cavs, picking fourth, were apparently looking to trade up to the second pick to select Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal, buy Beal went third overall to the Washington Wizards.
An outstanding athlete with a great motor, Kidd-Gilchrist was overshadowed a bit at Kentucky by Anthony Davis, but he was a vital part of Kentucky's national championship run. Kidd-Gilchrist is already a tough, physical defender, despite his youth, and he aggressively attacks the basket. He averaged just 11.9 points, but that is deceiving because the Wildcats relied on balanced scoring from its talented group. He is also an underrated rebounder, averaging 7.2 boards in his only season. His perimeter game is somewhat lacking - he shot just 25.5 percent on 3-pointers - and his ball-handling is not the best, but those should improve, because he is still just 18 years old. He makes up for his deficiencies with his competitiveness, intensity and toughness. Put him in a game situation and he shines.
New coach Mike Dunlap told the Charlotte Observer on Monday that the team needed outside shooters, but Kidd-Gilchrist does not fit that void. The Bobcats submitted qualifying offer to Eric Gordon, which means he will be a restricted free agent. Perhaps he will provide the outside shooting.
Despite having just a 7-59 record, the Bobcats were relegated to the No. 2 pick because they lost the March 30 lottery to the Hornets for the No. 1 overall pick.
"It's going to be a challenge at first, but I'm ready to lead the team," Kidd-Gilchrist told the Louisville Courier-Journal.