How can you not be excited for that face?
In a not-very-surprising draft, the most surprising fact may be this: last night may help recruiting even more than 2010 did. Billy Mays, Ron Popeil, and the Sham-Wow guy couldn’t have advertised better for UK, even if they weren’t dead or getting arrested for beating up that prostitute. I don’t think there was a person watching who didn’t realize just how pervasive John Calipari’s influence has become on NBA Draft night. Even emcee Rece Davis noticed that “it’s all about Kentucky in this Draft.” But by far the most pleasant surprise for BBN was the second pick, which the Bobcats used to make the best decision they have in their short existence.
President of Basketball Operations (what other Operations do they have, exactly?) Rod Higgins said “We had a lot of conversations going, but at the end of the day we felt comfortable selecting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He was our number one option and that’s the bottom line.” So there you have it. Can’t fault them for loving MKG like we do.
For all the guff many of us gave Charlotte (myself included), it was unbelievably exciting to see MKG drafted in that second spot. I take back what I said about not wanting to see him drafted there. Totally worth it. Our concern for his success may have been merited, but seeing his reaction when he heard his name called was enough to tell me that he’ll be alright. This guy can change even the most disappointed cultures, and he plans to get started right away. But to many of those who followed the pre-draft rumors, seeing MKG go second was actually one of the more surprising parts of an otherwise ho-hum draft. Many had him projected outside the top three, and if Charlotte traded the pick, Chad Ford had him slipping all the way to seven. But even though Chad Ford projected Charlotte and other teams probably would pass on him, doesn’t mean he thought they should. From his “Frenemy Mock Draft” with Bill Simmons:
FORD: With Charlotte’s no. 2 pick, I’m taking Michael Kidd-Gilchrist even though the Bobcats are probably trading this pick to Cleveland for no. 4 and no. 24. If they keep it, I think they’re taking Thomas Robinson. If the Cavs get the pick, they’re taking Bradley Beal. … Pair him with an elite scorer, and I think he’ll have a few rings by the time he retires. Do you agree with that?
SIMMONS: Chad, this pick makes so much sense that I can only assume you mistakenly thought MKG was Slovenian. Everyone keeps saying there’s no “sure thing” in this draft after Davis. Why isn’t MKG a sure thing? You know what you’re getting — he’s the most competitive guy in the draft, he’s an incredible athlete, his teams win everywhere he goes, he’s the prototypical über-athlete swing guy who can defend three positions, and he could absolutely be the second-best or third-best player on a title contender some day.
So while other programs were making questionable calls (my Cavaliers-fan friend is probably still drunk and crying this morning), Charlotte stepped up and made a good decision. When you need every position, the thing you really need most is a change in your attitude. Cal said it best: “When you get used to losing, you accept it. He’ll never get used to it.” And that is exactly why Jordan and Dunlap thought MKG was their guy. They need guys who expect to win, and work even harder when they don’t.
Now that the Draft is over and done with, and we know that MKG will be starting his career in Charlotte, what do we think? Is this the first step in turning around an otherwise forgettable team? Are our fears assuaged after seeing how excited MKG is to get started there? All I know is, I can’t wait to play NBA 2K13.
Stick around and talk about it all day; there will be no shortage of post-Draft discussion as we go through the morning/afternoon/weekend.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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