The most interesting thing I heard postgame, after the Charlotte Bobcats beat the Washington Wizards Sunday, was this from coach Mike Dunlap on rookie forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:
With Michael, our biggest job is to stay out of his way, Dunlap said, adding you could hinder MKGs instincts by giving him a thousand plays.
If you saw Kidd-Gilchrist Sunday, or most of his single college season at Kentucky, you knew what Dunlap meant. Kidd-Gilchrist, at his best, is a box score-filler. He wont just be a scorer. Hell be a productive rebounder, both offensively and defensively, and hell turn defense into offense with his steals.
He made a steal in the open court, reaching around Wizards forward Trevor Ariza, punching the ball out of Arizas arms, and scooping it in for a transition dunk. That was more dynamic than any defensive play the Bobcats made last season. (Yes, I know faint praise but still.)
Kidd-Gilchrist can dribble and pass with more proficiency than I saw him demonstrate in college. During the Las Vegas summer league, Dunlap told Kidd-Gilchrist to be a point-forward as in dont be reluctant to bring the ball up court, or to initiate the offense off the dribble. Hes so quick, and a good enough driver, that opponents will be forced to foul him (illustrated by his six free throws in 27 minutes Sunday.)
Really the only concern with Kidd-Gilchrist is his jump shot, and the coaches are already working to fix the hitch and the side spin. Thats going to take time to resolve.
Preseason particularly this one, with a new coaching staff and five new rotation players is about experimentation. One of the intriguing things Dunlap explored Sunday was a small lineup, with Kemba Walker, Ben Gordon and Gerald Henderson all in the game. In that scenario, Kidd-Gilchrist would move from small forward to power forward.
Thats a lot to ask from a 6-foot-8 rookie, but Dunlap thinks its worth a try. Based on the versatility Kidd-Gilchrist has already shown, I think hes up for it.