Is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist good? Was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ever good? I feel like he was, but I’m a sucker for a hyphenated name. If your name looks cool on the back of a jersey, I’m a fan. I’ll dig into the numbers in a minute and decide if he was ever good. But what we know as of right now, is that in Kidd-Gilchrist’s career as a Dallas Maverick, all nine games and 71 minutes of it, he has been (and I’m being as polite as I can be) absolute ass. Only four points and 14 fouls in 71 minutes of game time. He’s seen the court in nine games and has made one solitary basket. Not great, Mike!
But here’s the thing — I’m not worried at all. Because…Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is good*
*at some things.
Kidd-Gilchrist is stout as hell. Listed at 6’6 and 232 pounds, he’s an inch shorter and 15 pounds heavier than noted 7/11 cashier Luka Doncic. MKG’s size allows him to be an effective interior defender, while still having the motor and the know-how to chase perimeter scorers. He was often tasked as the lead wing defender during his time in Charlotte. If he is called upon to play that role for the Mavericks, he should be able to fill in admirably. After all, he’s had plenty of rest as his minutes have fallen off during the last couple of seasons, and he is still only 26 years old, which seems truly impossible.
During his last full season in Charlotte, MKG shifted mainly to a bench role, playing more often as a power forward, and occasionally even as a center. Early last season, Charlotte had found enough success with these MKG-as-a-big lineups that he was compared favorably on more than one occasion to Draymond Green, including by friend of the site Jonathan Tjarks. A Draymond-lite-lite-lite seems to be an ideal fit for the Mavericks, so I imagine that’s how we’ll see Kidd-Gilchrist play.
Now, the positional shift mentioned above makes sense for Kidd-Gilchrist in the modern NBA but honestly probably should have come about when he was drafted in 2012. This is due to the huge, glaring, neon-sign-illuminated hole in MKG’s game: he has not shown any real evidence that he can shoot. Kidd-Gilchrist has played nearly 11 thousand minutes in his career and he has made 28 three pointers. Numbers like that will keep a wing player absolutely welded to the bench. But if that wing player is playing center, you can get away with it.
Kidd-Gilchrist took a career high (by a wide margin) 47 three pointers in 2019 and made 34 percent of them. That is pretty good! The forced layoff and now training camp Round 2, could benefit him greatly. Time to learn the schemes and learn his role should be hugely valuable. Could Kidd-Gilchrist be our next Al-Farouq Aminu? I bet you think his stats were better in 2015 than they actually were because he got better throughout the year as he got more comfortable. Kidd-Gilchrist has that opportunity now.
And if he doesn’t make any real noise, we’ll at least get to see a few dozen “Wait, MKG is on the Mavs???” tweets.