The “abject terror” expression was an appropriate call, considering who’s picking.
That title sounds a lot grosser than it is. Yesterday, three ESPN.com columnists joined the lineup of folks prognosticating the name to be called with the second overall draft pick. After all, the first pick is easy, so the discussion begins with that number two spot.
The gang, consisting of Dana O’Neil, Myron Medcalf, and Eamonn Brennan, examines three players, who most believe to be the most solid bets for the pick: Brad Beal, Thomas Robinson, and MKG. Each took a different side, and tried to explain why they’re right.
For Beal, Medcalf harped on the ability to play in the spotlight, which apparently Beal did in leading Florida to the big stage. And by big stage, I mean the Elite Eight. Which is cute. For Robinson, Brennan touted a perfect mix of upside and instant impact, saying that teams would get both with T-Rob.
O’Neil, though, spoke for MKG:
To me, it should boil down to two simple, easily answered questions: Can he play and does he win? With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the answer to both is an emphatic yes. That’s why I’d take him with the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft.
I get the questions. I get that he doesn’t fit in neatly with the NBA’s checklist. He’s not an obvious No. 2 pick because he’s not exactly the right size for any one position and he’s not exactly an offensive player and he’s not exactly a slasher.
I’ve also never heard anyone wax poetic through the NBA Finals about a player’s wingspan and how it’s won a team games. The Charlotte Bobcats are in dire need of a lot — an intervention, perhaps, at the top of the list — but above all else, they need two things: They need guys who can play basketball and guys who know how to win.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist knows how to play and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist knows how to win.
Sometimes you just don’t need to make things more complicated than that.
Dana fails to mention (we can forgive her) that in the five combined games that MKG played against both Beal and T-Rob, he won all five. Perfect record. Granted, his team was substantially better than the teams surrounding the other two guys. But also consider that you’re comparing the best player on those two teams with a guy who was the second-best player on his own team.
I think many of us agree that we don’t want to see MKG go #2, even though a couple people who live in NC have told me that they’d love to see MKG play in Charlotte for $12 a ticket. But regardless of whether you’re subversively rooting for him to go #3 to the Wizards to be paired up with John Wall to form the best young transition offense in the league, I think we all know that he should go second. He’s better than those other two guys, and is a proven winner.
We’ll see what happens after these NBA Finals are over. Although, by the looks of it, there may be quite a bit of time between them.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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