If you ask the casual basketball fan, they’d tell you Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has failed as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Another draft screw-up for Charlotte owner Michael Jordan.
He has averaged 9.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game over the course of his seven-year career, with his best season coming in 2015-16 when he averaged 12.7 points per contest. He’s now coming off the bench, as well.
Kidd-Gilchrist’s teams have been mediocre, with point guard Kemba Walker being the only real star on the team. His jump shot (or lack thereof) has been criticized and mocked.
So why is it that MKG is having “so much fun” on the team and garnering so much respect from his veteran teammates?
Because he’s a winner who puts hustle and effort over numbers, just like we saw in his time at Kentucky.
“He just brings this competitive spirit every time he steps on the floor.,” head coach James Borrego said of Kidd-Gilchrist, via Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. “What he does is infectious: his energy, his willingness to go after every 50-50 ball, every rebound.”
For Kidd-Gilchrist, he understands the frustration. The No. 2 draft pick is usually supposed to be a sure-fire superstar, leading the franchise back to the promise land.
“I’ve been through a lot here in Charlotte – from my (flawed) jump shot to the fans’ (reactions) to old coaches, stuff like that. I just want to be happy,” said Kidd-Gilchrist … “I could easily sit here, holding down my head as an athlete and as a hooper. Sure, I want to start, but it’s not a big deal to me because this is all about my team and my teammates.”
The lead reporter writing the story, Rick Bonnell, has noticed Kidd-Gilchrist’s character off the field, as well.
“Kidd-Gilchrist is an authentic guy with a generous approach to his life and his job. Almost immediately after the then-Bobcats drafted himin 2012, he asked about finding a needy family in Charlotte that he could help sponsor. I’ve seen him at Christmas time paying for underprivileged kids to shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods. He isn’t just writing a check for a photo op, he’s interacting with those kids, teaching them life skills.”
The former Wildcat forward doesn’t care about the negative press about his on-court numbers. He knows what he means to the team both on and off the floor.
“The shade (disrespect) from what people think of me? Whatever. I don’t really care. I just want to have fun with my teammates. And win,” he said.
The entire article is stellar, showing just how much the Charlotte franchise values the former Wildcat. I highly recommend giving it a read here.